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  • Writer's pictureMuslim Kids Book Nook

Red Shoes by Karen English

Updated: Apr 13, 2021


Title: Red Shoes

Author: Karen English

Illustrator: Ebony Glenn

Publisher: Scholastic Inc



Islamic Content: Muslim Characters, mentions Ramadan


Concerns: None



Malika sees the most sparkling red shoes on a store pedestal. Nana purchases them for her and Malika proudly wears them for special family celebrations like Christmas and birthday dinner, even when she plays double Dutch with her best friend. When the shoes become too tight, they take them to be resold so someone else can use them. Inna Ziya happens to buys the dazzling shoes to take to West Africa to gift to Amina who fasted half of Ramadan.



This cute story connects two little girls, from different faiths, across oceans and continents through these sparkling red shoes. The text beautifully captures the attachment of Malika to them and follows the red shores to their new destination to the other side of the world. The illustrations are remarkably stunning, same illustrator that worked 'Mommy's Khimar' by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow. I am still torn whether this story is borderline feeding the stereotype of sending 2nd hand belongings to Africa (and Muslim). If you see past it, the story itself is very valuable and is so elegantly recounted. Ramadan is mentioned but it is not the heart of the story, rather it is about the journey of the shoes that bridges two complete strangers in two separate places. Not only does Amina love her gifted shoes, her younger sister admires them and cannot wait to inherit the red shoes when she grows to fit into them.


#ramadanreads #redshoes


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