Stella Ehrhart is an eight-year-old girl in Omaha who dresses as a different historical, prominent or local figure every day, with few repeats; she's been at it since the start of second grade. Much of her inspiration is drawn from 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century, and she and her fellow students and teachers play a guessing game each day to figure out who she is. She has dressed as her principal, Elvis Costello, Jan Brady, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Old Turtle. Erin Grace reports in the Omaha World-Herald:
So they try to support her desire for self-expression. Teachers, in fact, embrace it and have used Stella's outfits du jour as teachable moments.
“We'd have to get on the computer and figure out who she was,” said her second-grade teacher, Shannon Roeder, who keeps a picture of an overtly costumed Stella (it was Halloween) hanging in her classroom. In the picture, Stella poses in front of Roeder's bumper-sticker-plastered Prius, its license plate reading “ENDWAR,” wearing a cardboard car cutout also plastered in bumper stickers, with the same vanity plate.
Stella's costumes prompt classroom discussion, some copycatting and further creativity. When she dressed as Rosa Parks, she and her classmates devised a play and designated different people as the bus driver and other bus passengers.
On Monday, she sat in her Joan Baez “costume,” which was a military-green fitted half-blazer over a patterned blouse with black slacks and cowboy boots. She looked like any other third-grader, head bent over some bellwork — math and grammar exercises that at times had her stumped.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.