Reviews & Testimonials

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.

Book 1: Susie's Shoesies: Some Dreams Do Come True

The Susie's Shoeies Series is based around a young girl, Susie, whose Grandmother gives her magical red shoes for her eighth birthday. These magical shoes get named "Susie's Shoeies" by her amazing and resilient rhyming brother, Bennett. The magical shoes allow Susie to travel throughout time, to talk to famous and/or significant people and to experience significant historical events to help Susie deal with issues in her present day life.

In the first book the world changing pioneer, Eleanor Roosevelt, teaches eight year old Susie, as well as other girls, that they have value. Mrs. Roosevelt speaks to Susie about her work in gaining equality in our county in the 1948. Susie learns so much more than a history lesson. She learns to stay calm during emergencies, to slow down and to think rationally while solving problems and to tackle inequality with "spunk and determination" (p. 78).

I love the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." The book really captures the meaning behind that statement.

What a great book to kick start a series!

Book 2: Susie's Shoeies: Another Susie's Shoeies Adventure

The second book in the series tackles the difficult topic of bullying. I feel that the section of the book that says "I couldn't believe nobody stood up for me and I did not want to be a tattletale" (p. 4), really captures what children feel when they get bullied. They don't want to speak up for fear the bullying will worsen. The second book takes Susie and her brother, Bennett, to the Olympics in 1960 where Olympic track star and world class athlete Wilma Rudolph give the kids a lesson of overcoming diversity and unfair treatment with determination and grace.

This book encourages children to conduct research, to look deeper at things, to find connections to what is happening presently and to apply it historical people and events. This gives the kids ideas on how to deal with the difficult situations.

Here are two quotes that I totally loved. The first was said by Wilma Rudolph " I ran and ran and ran everyday, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened" Remember "triumph cannot be had without the struggle" (p. 12). I feel these are the types of encouraging statement are children need to be reading.

The book also captures the richness of Italian language, art, architecture and culinary excellence.

In the end the kids discover that the bully is going through some tough stuff at home and instead of being mean back they decide to move forward in a positive way. They join forces and find a great way to turn their once negative relationship into a campaign to better the school.

Book 3: Susie's Shoeies: A Splendid Reward

In the third book in the series we go on a scientific time travel adventure of epic proportions. Some tough decisions need to get made by kids when cheating is discovered at the school science fair. How will the kids deal with this tough subject!? You must read the book to find out.

The book explains many science based concepts such as; how experiments are conducted, how you can use predictions or create hypothesizes, how experiments involve trial and error and how they can have splendid rewards when the discovery helps other people. This book, like the others, encourages reading and research. The books really teach children that knowledge is power. What another great lesson to have our children read and eventually put into practice. How wonderful to teach learning is exciting, how it opens up your world and how it drives you to become a more well rounded, educated person.

I love this series!

Book 4: Susie's Shoeies: The Show Must Go On

In the forth book in the series the time traveling kids learn lessons of poverty, famine and drought and war. All the great elements that the series is known for are present in this book.

The book highlights how our history is connected to our futures, how reading give you knowledge and how knowledge can evoke change. How people's deficiencies can actually be a be benefit, among so many other amazing lessons kids need to be learning. In the end the kids do some amazing things to change and better their home town. I cannot say enough how much I love the Susie's Shoeies series. I think they are without exception some if the best books written for this age group (8 and up).

I highly recommend this series and rate it 5 stars!!
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