Red Shoes
by English, Karen; Glenn, Ebony (ILT)

Malika loves her new red shoes and wears them everywhere, but eventually she outgrows them, and her grandmother takes them to a second-hand shop-where they will become a special present for Amina (who fasted half the month of Ramadan) in Africa, who will enjoy her special red shoes every bit as much as Malika did.

Karen English is the author of the Coretta Scott King honor novel, Francie, and It All Comes Down to This, a Kirkus Prize finalist. She is also the author of the Nikki and Deja and The Carver Chronicles series, and the picture book Hot Day on Abbott Avenue, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her family.

Ebony Glenn is an Atlanta-based illustrator who enjoys bringing stories to life with whimsical illustrations. With a passion for the arts and great storytelling, she aims to create art that brings more joy and magic into people's lives. Ebony is the illustrator of Mommy's Khimar, selected as a best book of the year by NPR, Not Quite Snow White, by Ashley Franklin, Beacon to Freedom: The Story of a Conductor on the Underground Railroad, by Jenna Glatzer, and the upcoming picture book biography Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins by Michelle Meadows. You can visit her online at

This is the story of a beloved pair of red shoes that finds a home with two little girls from vastly different worlds. Shortly after Malika, a little Black girl, spies the pair of red shoes in a shop window, Nana surprises her with them. Malika loves her shoes and the "click-clack-click" sound they make when she walks. She wears them while dancing with her father, during holiday get-togethers with her family, and even while at play. But one day she realizes her shoes have become too small, and "they don't let her forget her feet have grown!" Malika and Nana take the shoes to the thrift shop, where they are purchased and taken on a trip to Africa to become a gift for a special little girl named Amina, who has just fasted for half the month of Ramadan for the first time. The story is thoroughly charming, and English nails Malika's joy in her shiny, red shoes—readers who have loved and given away favorite toys, clothing, or even shoes will recognize her attachment instantly. The illustrations are vibrant, with lots of brown faces that have subtle varying shades; Amina and the women in her family cover their hair. However beautiful the story and illustrations, it is unfortunate that the book locates Amina's home only in "Africa" rather than a specific country. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 28% of actual size.) A bright and cheerful story dimmed just a bit by a lack of specificity. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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