The Wrong Shoes

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Will and his dad don’t have much. Will’s shoes are leaking and they’re definitely not the cool shoes to wear. Chris Tucker and his gang frequently bully Will on the way to school.

When Will has an argument with his best friend (well, his only friend), he finds himself on a downward spiral. Too proud to ask for help from his mum, and with his dad in debt to a loan shark, Will has a choice. Make a bit of ready cash but feel guilty forever, or do the right thing?

Reflecting the current reality for a lot of kids, this book has hard-hitting issues at its heart. Tom Percival’s family didn’t have much money when he was growing up, and his story and accompanying beautiful art is heartfelt. Will is an artist, like Tom, finding refuge in Art classes, and the book’s black and white illustrations are gritty and atmospheric at once.

Despite the storyline, this has hope too, and is suitable for upper primary readers. Moving and gritty, it is a fantastic read.

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