Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Eva Chen
Illustrator: Derek Desierto
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Juno Valentine is searching for her favorite shoes and is running late for school. As she fumbles in the closet looking for them, she is transported into a world of shoes worn by powerful women from ancient to modern times. She tries on shoes from Egyptian ruler Cleopatra to modern sports legend Serena Williams, from Disney character Cinderella to Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie. Every pair of shoes she tries on provides her a glimpse into the lives of these defining figures in history. When she finally finds her own plain shoes, she realizes she has the ability to transform them into something just as spectacular as the other shoes she has tried on.
This book is a clever way to introduce young readers to empowering figures and open up the conversation about their important contributions. It is ultimately a book about self-empowerment through understanding the strength and experiences of others. The illustrator does a wonderful job with bright and descriptive drawings to help provide context to the story line and attract young readers’ attention. The writing itself is a little choppy and at times difficult to follow. The message the writer tries to deliver is beautiful, but may be lost on younger readers who might simply see this as a materialistic story of turning “boring” shoes into something more beautiful after a magical adventure.