Summer won't be a complete hiatus. I hope you're a regular subscriber and continue to receive my summer posts. For me, summer is time to take advantage of some kidlit conferences and I will be posting about those. I will also post reviews that beg not to wait! Like today's.
Title: NEW SHOES
Susan Lynn Meyer
Illustrator: Eric Velasquez
Publisher: Holiday House, 2015
Intended Age: 6-9 (I believe it is suitable for younger readers)
Theme: Segregation, Historical Fiction, shoes
Opening Line: My cousin Charlotte hands me the package
as we stand outside Johnson's Shoes.
"If you could have any shoes in the window,
I ask, "which ones would you choose?"
Synopsis: An African American girl, Ella Mae, and her cousin find a creative solution after Ella Mae learns that African Americans can't try on shoes at the store like the white customers do.
What I Like About this Book: The author took the tough subject of Jim Crow laws and made a beautiful, believable story. No preaching, just a wonderful thoughtful look at life in the southern United States during the mid-twentieth century. The story doesn't attach a specific date to the narrative, but the characters' clothing and a car in the first spread suggests the 1950's.An author's note on the final page gives historical perspective.
Best of all, Ella Mae is an engaging, curious, and proactive character. Her solution to a bad situation isn't to whine or complain, but to make a positive change for the community.
- The publisher has an educator's guide and four classroom discussion questions with Common Core Standard references.
- Read an interview with the illustrator here. What life lesson does he hope you take from the story NEW SHOES?
- Ask the reader if they would buy new shoes without trying them on? Why or why not? (I bought a pair of Mexican huaraches through the mail using the same foot outline technique that Ella Mae's mother demonstrates in the store!)
- Talk about different ways you can react when someone discriminates against you.
- Older readers may be curious to learn more about segregation and Jim Crow laws. Scholastic has an article for teachers. The website "Ducksters" also has information for kids.
- Discuss what you do with old clothing and shoes. Do you treat "grown-out" and "worn-out" clothes differently?
- Think of something that is important enough to want to earn money for it. What kinds of things can a child do? Kids who are old enough may enjoy hearing about Alex's lemonade stand.
Thanks for stopping by!