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The Wrong Shoes

"Achingly real and moving insight into child poverty."

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

May 2024 Book of the Month

Tom Percival’s award winning picturebooks have demonstrated his powerful capacity for empathy building and in this, his first full length novel, that skill is even more evident as he gives a painfully authentic insight into the shamefully growing problem of child poverty.

It is unlikely that you will read a more powerful and important book all year. It should be required reading for all politicians and for those eligible to vote. But young readers will just be entirely gripped by Will’s story, at the same time as gaining insight into what it is like to face this struggle every day.

There is not enough money for food let alone the trendy haircut or the new pair of shoes that might make him look more normal and make the school bullies leave him alone. Will hides the true extent of his worsening situation from teachers, friends and even his mother and her new partner. He certainly does not want his best friend’s charity, however well meaning. Their rift seems to push Will towards some bad life choices just as his father disastrously turned to loan sharks. Yet Will does not give up and his artistic talents give him small moments of joy and hope for the future.

Will is a wonderfully nuanced character and seeing the way he triumphs over temptations to find the strength to be true to himself and recognise that there is no shame in asking for and accepting help, gives an empowering message to those children who will see themselves in his predicament. The author is frank about his own lived experience which adds unmistakable reality to the portrayal of the complex characters and situations. The striking black and white illustrations add even more life and vigour to this completely enthralling story, which does end on a hopeful but realistic note.

This would make a fantastic book to read aloud in a classroom or at home, enabling children to discuss the issues raised. I cannot recommend this more highly.

Joy Court

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The Wrong Shoes

Tom Percival

Paperback

Pre-order. 5th June 2024

£7.19 £7.99