Posted in Non-Fiction

Coco and the Little Black Dress is an inspirational story

coco and the black dressCoco and the Little Black Dress, by Annemarie Van Haeringen (Sept. 2015, North South Books), $16.95, ISBN: 9780735842397

Recommended for ages 6-10

Raised in an orphanage, Coco Chanel may have started life off in a decidedly life, but she learned life skills and developed a drive for success that propelled her to the heights of high fashion. Coco and the Little Black Dress tells the story of Coco Chanel’s rise to fame, beginning with learning how to sew, embroider, knit, mend, and crochet at the orphanage. She befriended the wealthy and powerful as she got older, and decided to change to outlandish and uncomfortable clothing the women wore. Starting with a pair of jodphurs for herself, she began making beautiful hats and comfortable, loosely fitted knits for women, freeing them from corsets. She created a perfume that smelled “like a beautiful woman” and finally, her crowning achievement: the little black dress – “the magic dress that shows how beautiful a woman is.”

It’s always a relief to see a biography for younger children about a strong female figure, and Coco Chanel certainly fits the bill. She was a self-made woman who gave women the ability to be free of uncomfortable clothing, to embrace their figures. The endpapers lead us right into Coco’s story, providing an early dress design at the beginning and a finished black dress to leave us with.

Author Annemarie van Haeringen is a three-time Golden Brush Award winner; Coco and the Little Black Dress, previously published in German, won the silver in 2014.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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