Susan Lynn Meyer


In NEW SHOES, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, Ella Mae, a seven-year-old African-American girl living in the rural south in 1950, is excited to buy her first pair of new shoes in a store instead of wearing hand-me-downs.  But when it is her turn to be waited on, she learns that the white store owner doesn’t allow African-Americans to try on shoes.  It isn’t fair, Ella Mae tells her cousin Charlotte.  Charlotte agrees.

So together, the girls come up with a secret plan. . . .



  • Winner of the Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award.
  • NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor Book for Outstanding Fiction for Children.
  • NAACP Image Award Nominee.
  • ALA Notable Book Nominee.
  • A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year
  • A Massachusetts Book Award Must-Read Book
  • NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
  • A Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Multicultural Book
  • An Illinois Monarch Award Reader’s Choice Master List Book
  • A Nebraska Golden Sower Award Nominee
  • A Read On Wisconsin Master List Book
  • A South Dakota Prairie Bloom Award Nominee
  • A Chicago Public Library Best Picture Book
  • A Teaching for Change Favorite Book
  • An Open Circle Curriculum Recommended Book for Social Awareness
  • A CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin School of Education) Choice Book
  • A Mighty Girl Top Book for Younger Readers


Especially for Teachers:

Interviews and Articles:

* Starred Review “It isn’t easy to make a story seem as if it’s telling itself, but this gripping piece of historical fiction does just that.  Meyer’s (Black Radishes) prose is vividly precise in its detail. . . . Velasquez, working in oils, cleverly combines warm, earth-toned settings with the bright pastel dresses. . . so that his heroines literally and unequivocally shine through.” –Publishers’ Weekly

“Meyer delivers her message with understatement, the “gal” the clerk calls Ella Mae’s mother slapping both her and readers in the face.  The tale stands out from other stories of children overcoming obstacles, emphasizing how resistance and transformation can be found in the smallest of actions. . . . Highly recommended; both a revealing glimpse into one aspect of America’s institutionalized racism and inspiration for kids to create their own change.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Award-winning author Susan Lynn Meyer offers a clever twist to a disconcerting aspect of American history . . . . New Shoes is a definite must read for both home and school.–The Children’s Book Review

“Meyer has told a simple but profound story.  Her valuable “Author’s Note” about discrimination in the 1950s will help today’s teachers and students understand the civil rights movement.–Children’s Literature