cover image Four Feet, Two Sandals

Four Feet, Two Sandals

Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammad, , illus. by Doug Chayka. . Eerdmans, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8028-5296-0

Based on Mohammed’s work with refugees in the city of Peshawar (on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border), this poignant story centers on two Afghani girls, each of whom ends up with half of a pair of sandals after relief workers bring used clothing to their refugee camp. Lina and Feroza agree to share the shoes, taking turns wearing them and sometimes each wearing one. They also share their stories: Lina tells of her family’s midnight flight after her father and sister were killed, and Feroza responds, “I have only my grandmother now.” After Lina learns that her family will be able to relocate to America, the girls go back and forth about who should keep the sandals, and ultimately decide to each keep one to better remember the other. Paired with Williams’s (Circles of Hope ) straightforward narrative, Chayka’s (The Pink House at the Seashore ) acrylic paintings, rendered in broad swaths of color, offer a glimpse of the seldom viewed, chore-filled lives of children in a refugee camp, where only boys can attend school and crowds fight for supplies and clothing. The bright yellow sandals, each decorated with a blue flower, shine against the muted desert landscape, a well-chosen and meaningful symbol of both privation and hope. Ages 7-10. (Oct.)