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New Shoes

by Susan Lynn Meyer
Illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Published by Holiday House, 2015
32 pages
ISBN: 978𢠪23425280

Ages 58

When Ella Mae, who抯 always had hand-me-downs, goes shoe shopping for the first time, she抯 eager to try on the pair of new saddle shoes she抎 been eyeing in the window. But it turns out Black people aren抰 allowed to try on shoes at the shoe store. Ella Mae抯 mom traces Ella Mae抯 foot on a piece of paper and they determine what size to buy based on the tracing. The experience diminishes the joy of new shoes for Ella Mae, but it also inspires her. She and a friend begin to do odd jobs for a nickel and a pair of outgrown shoes. They invest the money in polish and laces, scrub and shine the pairs they抳e collected, and invite anyone to come in and try them on before purchasing, asking for more old shoes as part of the price of payment to guarantee the goodwill can continue. A story set in the mid20th century South underscores the unfairness of racism through a common childhood event. The story pulls no punches in describing how it feels to Ella Mae to be treated so unfairly. Ella Mae抯 response is one that also underscores determination, generosity, and fairness. An author抯 note provides additional historical context, as do the period illustrations.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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