mother daughter book reviews

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

By Mother Daughter Book Reviews...

My daughter and I reviewed this book for Mother and Daughter Book Reviews. Here's what we have to say:

DAUGHTER SAYS:

This story is about a girl named Susie who gets magical shoes from her Grandmother with the ability to time-travel for her birthday. She wakes up and finds herself in the past with Eleanor Roosevelt, who brings her to the United Nations meeting where the International Bill of Human Rights is discussed. I like the cover and want to eat the cake. Susie looks like me a couple years ago when I had long hair except I don't have bangs like she does. I also like that there are pictures inside the book. I wish there were more pictures. We meet Susie the night before she turns 8. She is brave. I don't think I would talk to strangers that I'm not familiar with that come from the past especially with my parents not around. Unfortunately, I don't have magic shoes that time-travel. But, if I did, I would go to Hawaii any time, past, present, or future.

My favorite part of the story is when they get tricked by the waiter and get locked in the room because it was an exciting part of the story. I can't think of anything I didn't like about the story. I liked everything. The story had some excitement and there were things that I found educational because I was learning about the history of Eleanor Roosevelt and the United Nations. I learned that we need to stand up for people when they are being treated unfairly and that everybody should have the same rights. I loved, loved this book and I would recommend it to girls 8 and up.

MOM SAYS:

This book introduces us to Susie on the eve of her 8th birthday when her beloved Granny Ella (who also shares her birthday) arrives with a special present: a pair of beautiful, sparkly red shoes. When Susie fails to heed her Granny's advice about not falling asleep with the shoes on, she wakes up to find herself in circa 1948 under the care of former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt who was on her way to the General Assembly of the United Nations where she gave her historical speech on the Declaration of Human Rights.

Post-World War II, the international community banded together to draft the Declaration of Human Rights as a mechanism to ensure fundamental rights for people across the world. As we see from Susie's experience though, there are still gross injustices infringing on people's basic rights, that occur on a daily basis. Before Susie's time travel, she learns that a Jewish friend and her family were denied membership into a local country club in a way that blatantly suggested discrimination based on religion. Susie and her friends are outraged by this but at are a loss as to what to do. After meeting and being inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt, Susie, her brother, and their friends take action in standing up for this Jewish family.

We often forget, and take for granted, the important work of suffragettes, political and social activists, and other inspiring historical figures such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all stood up for human rights. Susie's Shoesies brings history alive (literally!) to remind us that, sometimes, we still have to apply the basic principles outlined in the Declaration of Human Rights right here in our own backyard. There are some inspirational quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt's speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations in the text which help merge the past and the present. Through Mrs. Roosevelt's sound bytes, Susie is then motivated into action to help the Jewish family and to raise awareness of the injustice occurring within her own community. Sue Madway Levine, the author, does such a great job of weaving the past and present together.

At first I thought that this book would be more relevant to American readers because of its focus on Eleanor Roosevelt, a very distinguished American historical figure. This turned out to simply not be the case. Her importance and influence transcend the borders of the United States and even my daughter remarked that she learned a lot about history, especially the history of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

While the book is roughly 150 pages long, the last 50 pages are add-ons. Specifically, there is a recipe for the infamous "Granny's Chewy, Gooey, Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake", a list of books about Eleanor Roosevelt as well as some written by her; and there is also an extensive resource/guide that can be used by teachers or parents for teaching children to be "strategic readers". This includes questions to ask yourself before reading each chapter, during reading, and after reading, as well as ideas for word-play in each chapter. This is an excellent addition to the book.

There is one issue that I wanted to raise. I was a bit surprised that Susie didn't seem overly alarmed when she awoke to find herself in a different time and place without her parents. She's only 8! I would imagine (based on my knowledge of my daughter) that an 8 year old girl in those circumstances would be utterly terrified, but she seemed to go along with the events relatively well. I would have found this more believable if she was older, say 13-14. But, maybe there are 8 year-olds who are that fearless? And, I don't mean to suggest that Susie didn't react AT ALL to her circumstances. She was eager to get back home.

My bottom line:

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is a good story, with a valuable and practical lesson, and which includes excellent sound bytes from Eleanor Roosevelt. I would recommend this book, and the others in the series to girls (and boys!) aged 7 years and older.