New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Published by Holiday House

Summary:  When Ella Mae’s family scrapes together enough money to buy her a new pair of shoes, she is dismayed to learn that black people can’t try on shoes at the store.  She watches a white girl try on her shoes, while Ella Mae’s mother has to trace around her foot to figure out her size.  The first day she wears her shoes to school, she feels bad about her experience at the shoe store all day.  Then she and her friend Charlotte come up with a brilliant plan.  For weeks, they do chores for people, asking for payment in used shoes.  Finally, they display all the shoes in their barn, then put a sign up announcing people can buy a pair for ten cents and another used pair of shoes.  The people in their community are thrilled that they’ll never have to use the shoe store again.

Pros:  I loved this powerful story about segregation.  Instead of the girls feeling victimized by it, they come up with a solution and work hard to make it happen.

Cons:  The solution is inspiring but a bit simplistic, and a larger conversation about segregation would be helpful when reading this.

2 thoughts on “New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

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