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7-Year-Old's Viral Letter to Old Navy: Girls Need Pockets!

Kamryn Gardner recently put the persuasive writing skills she learned in her first grade class to work — by asking clothing retailer Old Navy to put pockets in their girls' pants!

Kamryn Gardner recently put the persuasive writing skills she learned in her first grade class to work — by asking clothing retailer Old Navy to put pockets in their girls' pants! After she received yet another pair of jeans where the pockets were sewn shut, Kamryn observed indignantly that "they were fake pockets. It bothered me that they weren’t real pockets." Now, the 7-year-old from Bentonville, Arkansas has gone viral after sharing Old Navy's reply promising to respond to her complaint. "Our design and product teams love hearing feedback from customers, especially young people like Kamryn," says company spokeswoman Sandy Goldberg. "We [will] take suggestions into consideration as we work on future products."

Kamryn says her first efforts at persuasive writing weren't as effective as she'd hoped: "I wrote [my parents] a letter that I wanted a camera and an Etch a Sketch, but it didn’t go so well." When she got fed up with the difference between her pants and her 9-year-old brother's pants, her mom, Kim Gardner, suggested she use the same skills to write a letter to Old Navy. "Dear Old Navy, I do not like that the front pockets of the girls jeans are fake," Kamryn wrote. "I want front pockets because I want to put my hands in them. I also would like to put things in them. Would you consider making girls jeans with front pockets that are not fake. Thank you for reading my request. Sincerely, Kamryn Gardner, age 7."

Old Navy isn't the only clothing retailer with a pocket problem: as children's clothing became increasingly gendered since the 1970s and '80s, girls' clothing, like women's, started to focus on style over functional elements like pockets. And that, argues Gail Cornwall in the Washington Post, sends damaging message to girls. "Not having pockets limits girls’ ability to experience," she says. "Not only do pockets free a child’s hands to investigate and accomplish, they also broadcast the need and right to do so to both wearer and viewer alike.... The contrast of the presence and absence of pockets in different kids’ clothing that sends a two-part message: Only men need functionality, and girls should learn to be women as early as possible."

Kamryn and her family didn't expect to hear back from Old Navy, says her dad Brandon Gardner, who works in retail: "We honestly thought it would end there." But at the end of March, they found a package in the mail with a hand-written note from Julie Wood from Old Navy’s kids’ team. "Kamryn, thank you so much for taking the time to write to us about pockets on girl’s jeans," she said. "It’s great feedback as we develop new product." Wood also sent Kamryn four pairs of bottoms — two pairs of pants and two shorts — with full pockets.

Kamryn's letter, and Old Navy's response, was published on the Bentonville Schools' Facebook page; it quickly went viral, with women across the country expressing their support for Kamryn and the pockets in girls' and women's clothing. "I’m 56 and love front pockets!" wrote one woman from Florida. "Not every girl lives w/ a purse at their side." Kamryn says she was particularly pleased with the design of the shorts, "[b]ut mostly, I just really like the pockets." According to Kamryn, her classmates also loved hearing about the letter and seeing the pants that Old Navy sent: "The girls in my class are really happy about it," she says. "They like pockets, too."

Children's Books About Girls Working For Change

Dress Like A Girl

Dress Like A Girl

Written by: Patricia Toht
Illustrated by: Lorian Tu-Dean
Recommended Age: 3 - 7

At this playful slumber party, a diverse group of girls explore what it means to "dress like a girl"! As the girls play dress-up, they put their own spin on fashion "rules." If you should wear white in the summer, why not a spacesuit? Wear a formal black gown to the symphony — because the conductor should look her best. When it's time for bright colors, the girls don "brave" hues like police officer blue or firefighter red. Author Patricia Toht celebrates a variety of interests, including sports, science, politics, and more, while Lorian Tu-Dean's illustrations capture a vibrant and enthusiastic group of girls who know nothing will hold them back. This uplifting and empowering story reminds readers that the best way to "dress like a girl" is to dress the way that you feel best.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$21.77 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£9.59 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$23.09 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£9.59 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$25.77 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$10.79 (USD)

Frozen Dress 2-Pack with Pockets

Frozen Dress 2-Pack with Pockets

Brand: Spotted Zebra
Recommended Age: 2 - 12

Celebrate her love of Frozen — and the strength and courage of sisters — with this 2-pack of dresses from Spotted Zebra! These 100% cotton, short-sleeved play dresses feature two different prints: one has silhouettes of Olaf and fern leaves, while the other features Anna and Elsa and the words "Sister Strong." Kids will love the cinch waist design and the handy pockets for carrying their treasures! Available in toddler sizes 2T, 3T, and 4T and kids' sizes extra-small (4/5) to XXL (14/16).

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
(Unavailable)
Amazon.co.uk
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com.au
A$46.77 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$25.30 (USD)

Raise Your Hand

Raise Your Hand

Written by: Alice Paul Tapper
Illustrated by: Marta Kissi
Recommended Age: 5 - 9

When Alice Paul Tapper noticed that girls in her class were less likely to participate than boys were, she wondered why. The boys made mistakes too, but for some reason, when a girl made a mistake, she stopped raising her hand, even if she thought she knew the answer. So Alice decided she had to do something to help girls build their confidence and leadership skills, and with the help of her parents and her Girl Scout troop, she came up with an idea: a patch and a pledge that girls across the country could earn if they promised to raise their hands! This spirited and enthusiastic picture book encourages girls to follow Alice's lead and make their voices heard.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$20.93 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£17.99 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$22.48 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£17.99 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$28.97 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$11.99 (USD)

Start Now! You Can Make a Difference

Start Now! You Can Make a Difference

Written by: Chelsea Clinton
Recommended Age: 7 - 11

Activism can sometimes seem overwhelming — but there are problems large and small that kids can tackle every day! In this book, Chelsea Clinton addresses five key concepts — health, hunger, climate change, endangered species, and bullying — and shows kids how to start solving them, either individually, locally, or globally. Each chapter ends with a "Start Now!" bullet list, providing suggestions for young would-be activists to take first steps towards big changes. Kids will particularly love the photographs of real kids, just like them, who have started leading the way for people around them.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$11.87 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£6.99 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$13.41 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£6.99 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$12.31 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$8.99 (USD)

A Smart Girl's Guide: Making A Difference

Using Your Talents and Passions to Change the World

A Smart Girl's Guide: Making A Difference

Using Your Talents and Passions to Change the World

Written by: Melissa Seymour
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

Anyone can make the world a better place — whether you're helping a few people in your school or tackling a global issue! If your Mighty Girl wants to make a difference, but doesn't know where to start, this book from the American Girl Library will help. Girls will identify their talents and skills, and figure out which causes matter the most to them. Then, they'll see how they can change things for the better, whether it's welcoming a lonely classmate, writing letters asking for change, or starting a fundraiser. This empowering and inspiring book will help girls recognize their power to make the world a better place.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$17.33 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£7.99 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$20.58 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£7.99 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$21.39 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$10.61 (USD)

It's Your World! Get Informed, Get Inspired, & Get Going!

It's Your World! Get Informed, Get Inspired, & Get Going!

Written by: Chelsea Clinton
Recommended Age: 10 and up

Kids need to hear that this world isn't just for the adults — it's their world too! Author Chelsea Clinton breaks down some key social issues facing the world today, including poverty, climate change, gender equality, health, and endangered species. With a mix of statistics and personal stories she shows what challenges affect each of these areas, and then breaks down how kids and teens can help. Empowering and informative, this book encourages kids to take ownership of the world around them and reminds them that every person can make a difference.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$11.80 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£7.74 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$26.60 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£8.69 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$24.39 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$7.25 (USD)

Be A Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters

Be A Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters

Written by: Laurie Ann Thompson
Recommended Age: 12 and up

When a teen has an idea for a way to change the world, she may not know what to do to make it a reality. This book will guide her through it, step by step! Individual chapters cover everything from refining your idea to fundraising to creating a business plan, and even discuss what to do when you're ready to move on, whether you're closing down your project or handing it off to another person. Changing the world may not be easy, but with this book, she'll know where to start.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$19.69 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com.au
A$15.50 (AUD)
The Book Depository
£11.22 (GBP)
The Book Depository
A$21.89 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$9.89 (USD)

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