Eric Velasquez


New Shoes

Ella Mae is used to wearing her cousin's hand-me-down shoes—but when her latest pair is already too tight, she's thrilled at the chance to get new shoes.

But at the shoe store, Ella Mae and her mother have to wait until there are no white customers to serve first. She doesn't get to try anything on, either—her mother traces her feet onto a sheet of paper, and the salesman brings them a pair he thinks will fit.

Disappointed by her treatment, Ella Mae and her cousin Charlotte hatch a plan to help others in their community find better-fitting shoes without humiliation.

New Shoes


Eric Velasquez' realistic oil paintings bring life to this story of a young girl's determination in the face of injustice. The book includes an author's note from Susan Lynn Meyer, discussing the historical context of the story and how the Civil Rights Movement worked to abolish unfair laws like the ones Ella Mae encounters.

A 2016 NAACP Image Award Nominee, and a Jane Addams Children's Book Award winner.

New Shoes

Gr 1–3—Ella Mae usually gets her new school shoes as hand-me-downs from her older cousin, Charlotte. One day, Charlotte's old shoes are too tight for Ella Mae and so the girl gets to buy a brand new pair of shoes. At Johnson's General Store, however, Ella Mae is treated differently from another customer with "yellow pigtails." The treatment is because of the color of her skin: she is served second even though she arrived first, and she is not allowed to try on any of the beautiful new shoes. With a little brainstorming and some hard work, Ella Mae and Charlotte come up with a plan to allow everyone to try on shoes before they buy them. The illustrations paint an accurate historical picture of the 1950s and do well enough to bring out the characters' emotions, which may not otherwise be noticed in the text. An author's note at the end explains Jim Crow, the civil rights movement, and the evolution of language used to describe African Americans. The use of a lesser-known Jim Crow situation makes it stand out from other titles dedicated to this topic, but the message is very similar. VERDICT A decent introduction to the history of segregation in the U.S.—Brittany Staszak, St. Charles Public Library, IL, School Library Journal

"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

"The girls' optimism and determination is almost palpable . . . [Velasquez'] heroines literally and unequivocally shine through."—Publishers Weekly


New SHoes


New Shoes





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