My Kicks: A Sneaker Story! by Susan Verde

My Kicks: A Sneaker Story!

Susan Verde, Author

Katie Kath, Illustrator

Abrams Books for Young Readers, Fiction, Apr. 11, 2017

Suitable for Ages: 5-7

Themes: A boy out grows his sneakers, Buying new shoes, Old sneakers have stories

Opening: Mom looked down at my feet and shook her head. “Those shoes have seen their day!”

Book Jacket Synopsis: There’s nothing like an old pair of Kicks. Sneakers have stories to tell. There’s the wear and tear from the first time they rode on a skateboard…the splatters of paint from an art project…the sticky drips from a delicious Popsicle on a hot summer day.

So when a young boy needs to buy a new pair, he fears they won’t compare. But what if some new kicks mean he might jump higher or run faster? What if having bigger shoes to fill means that new memories are just around the corner?

My Kicks is a tribute to how our favorite things reveal who we are and where we’ve come from, and celebrates the excitement in growing up and moving on.

Why I like this book:

Susan Verde has written a rollicking story that will resonate with most children — replacing a dependable pair of sneakers with new ones. Although kids like getting new shoes, they also feel an attachment to favorite pair of shoes. The boy in the story doesn’t want to let go of his favorite red sneakers. “No way! No how!” His sneakers may be worn-out and smelly, but they have great stories to tell.

As he heads to the store with his mom he recollects how he learned to tie his shoes, splashes through puddles, finds his balance on a skateboard and climbs trees. Many memories are made with a good pair of sneakers. The message is simple, clever, and quirky, but will be appeal to both readers and parents. “Each pair represents a slice of life and transitioning from one stage to the next,” says Verde.

Katie Kath’s ink and watercolor illustrations bring this story to life. They are diverse, lively and expressive. The vibrant color will appeal to young audiences.  She also uses white space well to hone the readers’ focus on the boy’s journey. She captures the boy’s changing moods as he moves from reluctance to excitement at what he may do with his new yellow sneakers. Visit Katie Kath at her website.

Resources: Parents and children will enjoy reading this delightful story together. Reminisce about your own favorite pair of sneakers growing up. This is a great opportunity for parents and children to share their stories about their favorite pair of sneakers. Make sure you peek under the outside book jacket. Children will be delighted to find a shoe-tying guide on the cover.

Susan Verde is the author of The Museum, You and MeI Am Yoga and The Water Princess. She lives just steps from the ocean in East Hampton, NY, with her three children. Her favorite kicks are her silver metallic high-tops. Visit Susan Verde at her website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  

*I received a review copy of  My Kicks from the publisher.  The opinions in this review are entirely my own.

Pictures from our Vacation

Pictures from our Vacation

Lynne Rae Perkins, author and illustrator

Greenwillow Books, 2007, Fiction

Suitable for:  Grade 2-5

Themes:  Vacation, Photography, Family Reunion, Memories, Souvenirs

Opening/Synopsis“Just before we got in the car to go on our vacation, our mother said, ‘Oh, I almost forgot!’  From her bag she pulled out a little camera for me, and one for my brother.  Our mom gave us notebooks to stick them in.  ‘They will be souvenirs of our vacation,’ she said.”  The family is traveling by car to visit the farm where their grandparents are spending the summer.  The brother and sister chronicle their trip.  The trip starts out rather boring, a long drive, snapshots of feet,  the back of Dad’s head, a hill and a lot of rain.  When they arrive, their grandparents are waiting to greet them.  They soon learn there will be a memorial service for their great-aunt.  Other cars arrive filled with family members.  There are a lot of cousins to play with, trees to climb, and games to play.

Why I like this book:  It is a great idea to let kids chronicle their trip with pictures.  The trip is a more realistic portrayal of real vacations, boredom, disappointment, fun and family love.   But the brother and sister discover the best memories are the ones they make with family and hold in their minds.  Lynne Rae Perkins has written and illustrated an engaging story for children with a unique message.   The illustrations are in bright water colors.  She won a Newbery Medal for her book Criss CrossResources:  Give your kids cameras, a notebook, pens and crayons and encourage them to make a vacation book, or a book about their summer.  Great exercise in taking pictures and writing a summer story.