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FOUR FEET, TWO SANDALS by Karen Lynn Williams


by Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed & illustrated by Doug Chayka

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5296-0
Publisher: Eerdmans

By keeping the focus squarely on their child characters, Williams and Mohammed illuminate the plight of refugee children without preaching or pontificating. When aid workers deliver a shipment of clothes, both Lina and Ferozi claim a sandal. When Ferozi’s grandmother points out the foolishness of wearing only one shoe, the girl offers her sandal to Lina. Ten-year-old Lina makes the best of what could have been a difficult and disappointing situation and suggests a different solution: The girls will share the pair, each wearing them on alternating days. As the days pass, readers see their growing friendship and observe the harsh conditions of the camp. Earth tones predominate, reflecting the dusty environment while also offering, in some scenes, a sense of warmth. The story ends with the friends’ separation. Lina’s family has received permission to emigrate to the United States. The girls’ decision to split the sandals once more ensures that their friendship won’t be forgotten, and it seems likely that their story will linger in listeners’ minds as well. Touching and true to life. (Picture book. 7-10)