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Children's Nonfiction General

Lowdown on Denim

by (author) Tanya Lloyd Kyi

illustrated by Clayton Hanmer

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2011
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2011
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 12


In The Lowdown on Denim, narrators JD and Shred take readers on a trip through the history of jeans, demonstrating that, whatever their style, jeans have always driven and reflected popular culture. They use their interest in denim to escort readers from wartime to the rodeo circuit and from environmental concerns to the rock and roll stage.

When blue jeans were invented in the 1870s, they were utilitarian — baggy, only a single pocket and held up with suspenders.

In the 1960s, they were bell-bottomed and embroidered, symbolizing the rebellion of the Woodstock era. Punks in the ’70s held them together with safety pins, while ’80s metal bands wore theirs acid-washed. Then the low-riding style worn by prisoners inspired ’90s hip-hop fashion. Today, denim can be as personalized as an iPod playlist.

With humorous comic-style illustrations throughout, this fun, fascinating social history will make readers think each time they pull on their jeans.

About the authors

Tanya Lloyd Kyi claims to be a peaceful and non-threatening person, despite having written three books about fire and one about poison. She has never set a building aflame, handled dynamite, or intentionally poisoned anyone … although a suspicious number of friends did have stomachaches after eating her Christmas party meatballs one year.Tanya writes both fiction and non-fiction, often choosing topics related to science, pop culture, or social history—or a combination of the three. She enjoys combining factual research with intriguing narratives, or the life stories of interesting folks.Tanya began her writing “career” as a poet in high school, producing pages and pages of really bad poems that her mother adored. Her love of writing led to the University of Victoria, where she took creative writing and English. Tanya’s early writing jobs were as a newspaper reporter and brochure writer for the government. She also worked as a dishwasher, busgi

Tanya Lloyd Kyi's profile page

Clayton Hanmer is an illustrator whose crude, energetic comic style has given him a surprisingly broad range of clients from The Globe and Mail to Owl Magazine. He is also the illustrator of The Secret Life of Money by Kira Vermond (Owlkids Books, 2012) and Not Your Typical Book about the Environment by Elin Kelsey (Owlkids Books, 2010). He lives in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada.

Clayton Hanmer's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“... will be a surefire hit for libraries looking to add attention-grabbing nonfiction to their collections.”—School Library Journal, 02/12

“... a detailed, readable, engaging commodity history. It will draw in pre-teen and early teen readers, and could serve as a great launching point for a variety of classroom discussions and projects.”—The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 04/12

“This cleverly designed book engages the tween to adult market with fun facts, catchy titles, witty responses and action-packed comic strips ...”—Resource Links, 12/11

“… the author uses jeans as the focus for a historical journey that tells the story of denim over the years since it was first made in the 1860s. It is quite the amazing trek …”—Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 08/13/12

“… an intriguing insight …”—, 12/08/11

“... a thorough, well researched, chronological history of denim jeans.”—CM Reviews, 01/12

Librarian Reviews

The Lowdown on Denim

This book takes readers on a trip through the history of jeans, demonstrating that, whatever their style, jeans have always driven and reflected popular culture. From Levi Strauss in the Gold Rush days through to today where we have a huge selection of jeans to choose from, the story of how jeans have evolved is a fascinating one. This is a fresh and interesting reformatting of the 2005 award-winning The Blue Jean Book.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

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