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New Shoes
by Susan Lynn Meyer
Eric Velasquez, Illustrator

Paperback | 32 pages | 9 x 11 | US$ 7.99
ISBN: 9780823435739 | 01-31-2016

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: SECOND | Age: 6 to 9

Themes: African American Interest, Human & Civil Rights, Fairness, Justice & Equality, Determination, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Recommendations: A, C, K, PW*, SLJ

CCSS Codes:
SL.2.1, 1a-c, 2-4, 6
RF.2.3, 4, 4a-c
W.2.1-3, 5-8
RL.2.1-3, 5-7, 10
L.2.3, 4, 4a, 5, 5a, 5b, 6

About the Book

Set in the South during the time of segregation, this lushly illustrated picture book brings the civil rights era to life for contemporary readers as two young girls find an inventive way to foil Jim Crow laws.

When her brother's hand-me-down shoes don't fit, it is time for Ella Mae to get new ones. She is ecstatic, but when she and her mother arrive at Mr. Johnson's shoe store, her happiness quickly turns to dejection. Ella Mae is unable to try on the shoes because of her skin color. Determined to fight back, Ella Mae and her friend Charlotte work tirelessly to collect and restore old shoes, wiping, washing, and polishing them to perfection. The girls then have their very own shoe sale, giving the other African American members of their community a place to buy shoes where they can be treated fairly and "try on all the shoes they want."


2016 NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor Book for Outstanding Fiction for Children

2016 NAACP Image Awards Nominee

2016 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winner—Books for Younger Readers Category


★ "[In] this gripping piece of historical fiction . . . Meyer's (Black Radishes) prose is vividly precise in its detail; the girls' optimism and determination is almost palpable . . . [Velasquez's] heroines literally and unequivocally shine through."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Highly recommended; both a revealing glimpse into one aspect of America's institutionalized racism and inspiration for kids to create their own change."—Kirkus Reviews


Read an exclusive Q&A with author Susan Lynn Meyer and illustrator Eric Velasquez!

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. What can we learn from Ella Mae and Charlotte about the past, present and future? Describe their traits, motivations and feelings. RL.2-3.1, 3

2. What is the theme of NEW SHOES? Why is it important to reflect on the theme of a piece of literature? What can the theme teach you about your own life? RL.2-3.2

3. How are Ella Mae and Charlotte "innovative"? RL.2-3.1, 3

4. Explain how specific illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story, including how the illustrations create mood and emphasize aspects of a character and setting. RL.2-3.7 / SL.2-3.6

About the Illustrator
Eric Velasquez

Educators' Guide
Educator's Guide featuring questions for classroom discussion and suggestions for further exploration. Includes connections to the Common Core State Standards.