Leather Shoe Charlie / by Gyeong-hwa Kim; illustrated by Anna Balbusso & Elena Balbusso. 3.12.2018

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers ISBN 9780802854735

INT Grades 2-5 Rating: 3

Charlie prizes the leather shoes his grandfather made for him. He even hopes to one day become a cobbler too. But something has changed in the English village where he lives, causing many to move away and leaving few people to buy his grandfather’s shoes.

When Charlie and his family also depart and relocate to the city of Manchester, he finds himself not only in unfamiliar surroundings but at a crossroads. He must decide whether to keep or to give up his comfortable leather shoes.

Leather Shoe Charlie, narrated from a child’s point of view, introduces young readers to the Industrial Revolution and globalization. The brown and grey color scheme by illustrators Anna and Elena Balbusso helps the reader to understand Charlie’s feelings about the changes occurring in society and in his family. At the end of the story, Gyeong-hwa Kim provides an easy-to-understand description of these movements and how they affected working and living conditions. Also included are Key Terms and Concepts, a map and pie chart, and a Timeline of Events; all of which serve to enhance comprehension and encourage further exploration of the topics.

Embedded in Leather Shoe Charlie, mainly a story of the changes that mechanized production and the growth of factories ushered in, lies a treasure. Despite the flux and shift that transform Charlie’s world, Gyeong-hwa Kim skillfully establishes a firm foundation for him. The choice he makes regarding his shoes demonstrates that though the world may change, family and love always remain constant and unchanging.

Veronica Jorge, CLJ