René Colato Laínez uses his personal immigration story to create an authentic multicultural picture book that focuses on the migration of El Salvadorans to the US. My Shoes and I (Boyd Mills Press, 2010) is told from the perspective of a young boy who is traveling with his dad by foot from El Salvador to the US.
Throughout the journey, the boy’s shoes are a focal point as the author uses metaphors and similes to describe how the shoes are affected by the journey. The shoes are compared to a pack of elephants, racing cars, swimmers, submarines, and volcanoes. Fabricio Vanden Broeck‘s illustrations of the boy’s shoes go hand-in-hand with the author’s words. Each page captures an image of the shoes. The reader is touched by the hardship of the long journey that includes crossing the border of three countries. The words of a Spanish lullaby help to encourage the boy as he encounters various obstacles. At the end of the story, the boy is reunited with his mom.
Children who have experienced immigration or have been separated from a loved one will be able to connect with the story. For others, the story will be a teaching moment about migration and the life of immigrants. René Colato Laínez has an excellent website-http://myshoesandi.weebly.com/index.html– that includes background information and teaching suggestions.
- 2011 International Latino Book Award, Best Children’s Book- English, Second Place
- Central America migration
- Latin American culture
- Spanish words
- Immigration to America
- Family separation
- El Salvador history
- Adapting to a new culture
- Leaving behind loved ones and being reunited
- Descriptive language- metaphors and similes
- Writing stories based on personal experiences
- What makes a multicultural picture book authentic?
- Can you share a favorite multicultural picture book?