The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle by Jude Isabella, illustrated by Simone Shin

Published by Kids Can Press

Summary: Leo works hard to save money to buy himself a red bicycle. When he outgrows it, he doesn’t want to just throw it away. The owner of the bike shop tells Leo about an organization that sends bikes to Africa. Leo puts in a full day packing bikes into a shipping crate, finishing with his own. The crate is shipped to Burkina Faso, where a girl named Alisetta uses it to help her family move goods to market and make more money. A few years later, a pig tramples the spokes of one of the wheels, and Alisetta must get a new bike. Fortunately, a man from a health clinic rescues the bike and fixes it up to use as an ambulance. At the end of the story, the bike has come to the end of that journey as well, but we can hope it will find a new incarnation. The last couple pages tell readers about organizations that will use their old bikes in this way, and gives some information about Burkina Faso. Grades 3-7.

Pros: This book is part of the Citizen Kid series of books, which claims to “inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens”.  The Red Bicycle succeeds on both counts by showing kids how the simple act of donating a bike can make a big difference in the lives of many people around the world.

Cons: Okay, this is the third book this month whose font seemed too small to me. Guess it’s time to get that bifocal prescription taken care of.

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