Going to a shelf and randomly grabbing something off it can be fun. You never know what you will find. But if you are in the mood for finding something a bit easier, displays in bookstores are great. This is how I located Red Shoes by Karen English and illustrated by Ebony Glenn.
Red Shoes is a fun story about the life of a pair of shoes. Along with simple (but not simplistic) text, there are great illustrations with bold colors and perfectly detailed to move things along. While there is not a lot of traditional action (unless you count kicking, stomping, going to parties and enjoying your new red shoes action), there is a lot going on. The life of a pair of shoes is something we do not think of, and Malika really is not different, that is until after she outgrows the red shoes that had been her favorite since she got them. When this happens, they go to the secondhand shop where they can get a second chance at a new story. This is several days after she has gotten herself a new new pair of shoes that she wonders if someone is wearing her old ones “right now”. And, yes, we learned earlier that those red shoes went all the way to Africa as a special treat for Amina, who fasted half the month of Ramadan. And English’s illustration shows you Amina and her sister swinging on a swing like Malika is to show these dual stories.
This journey of a pair of red shoes does not seem like it would be a great idea. After all what are shoes? Something for your feet. But English and Glen pull off a book that in many ways is aimed at all ages, that might not become a classic, but will become an interesting way to talk about some subjects. “Recycling” (the secondhand store) is one while you introduce your child to Ramadan and other cultures. This allows them to be aware that there is more out there then just them and a pair of shoes can have not only one, but two stories.