Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meyer, Susan Lynn. New Shoes.

Meyer, Susan Lynn.  New Shoes.  Holiday House  2015  32     $16.95  ISBN 978-0-8234-2528-0  elem  Historical fiction  VG-BNe

In this beautifully illustrated piece of historical fiction, a pair of young African-American girls, dismayed that they are not permitted to try on shoes in a store, take action by opening their own shoe store where customers of any race may try on the shoes before taking them home (after paying a nickel and a pair of outgrown shoes).  It is an interesting and sensitive treatment of a practice that many young people may be unaware ever existed in the United States, since it took place more than five decades ago and is a seemingly minor detail that historians tend to either overlook or deem unworthy of note.  For older readers, particularly those too young to have lived during the age of Jim Crow laws, the idea that African-Americans were not even allowed to try on shoes and clothing may come as a surprise, but for readers of all ages it encourages discussion with older members of the family and the community who may recall similar details not generally included in history texts.   

Summary: An interesting look at one of the mid-twentieth century Jim Crow laws modern youths may be unaware of, accompanied by lovely illustrations.           

African-American History                                    --Bethany Geleskie

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