Title: Four Feet, Two Sandals
Author: Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed
Illustrator: Doug Chayka
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 3.3
Concepts: scarcity, human resources, wants, needs
Review: Lina and Feroza, two young girls from Afghanistan living in a refugee camp in Pakistan, first meet after a frenzied crowd has jostled for used clothing that relief workers threw off the back of a truck. What could have been a misfortune, with each girl retrieving one sandal from a matching pair, turns out to be a stroke of luck as the girls take turns with the sandals and become friends. This friendship helps them to endure the hardships of their daily routines collecting water, washing clothes in the river, mourning lost family members, and caring for younger siblings while boys in the camp attend school. The sandals later take on a symbolic role when one of the girls leaves camp for a new home.
This moving book provides an effective tool for teaching about what it means to be a refugee, how children in refugee camps spend their time, and how the experiences can differ for girls and boys. Although the topic may be weighty and difficult, the tone is relatively subtle and hopeful so as to appeal to young readers. Intertwined with the touching story are valuable economics lessons about scarcity, human resources, wants, and needs. The dramatic artwork and compelling text work well together to make reading this book a memorable experience.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children