Each day over 500 million children, teens and adults around the world do not have a pair of shoes to wear, and despite the terrain and the climate, they have to walk barefoot everywhere. It is a struggle each day that we cannot begin to imagine. So yes we do need this Shoe the World Day. Talking to my students this week we compared their trip to school with that of Anna in Alma Fullerton's A Cloud of Dust and talked at length about how many pairs of shoes they had compared to what they needed.
While this book Stand in My Shoes by Bob Sornson is somewhat heavy-handed and lacks the beautiful art work of the other books listed here, this is indeed what we want our students to do, we want them to empathise with people who live very different lives from theirs.
Here are some picture books that feature shoes that really make a difference to the way students may see the world.
• Running Shoes by Frederick Lipp. This powerful story tells of how a very poor Cambodian child, Sophy's life changes as the result of getting a pair of shoes.
• Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams tells the story of two young girls, Lina and Feroza who are living in a refugee camp in Pakistan. When relief workers bring around some clothing they both want this pair of shoes.
• One Red Shoe by Karin Gruss is also set in the middle east in a war zone. This is based on a real life experience of a reporter in a war zone and best suited to older students.
• Rebel! by Allan Baillie. This book is out of print but worth seeking out in a library. It tells the story of a child in Burma who is extremely brave during a General's visit to his village. I have had some wonderful class discussions with this book with older students.