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Children's Nonfiction Africa

Red Bicycle, The

The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle

by (author) Jude Isabella

illustrated by Simone Shin

Publisher
Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2020
Category
Africa, General, Business & Economics
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781771385589
    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price
    $12.99
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9781771380232
    Publish Date
    Mar 2015
    List Price
    $19.99

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7
  • Reading age: 8 to 12

Description

In this unique nonfiction picture book, the main character is a bicycle that starts its life like so many bicycles in North America, being owned and ridden by a young boy. The boy, Leo, treasures his bicycle so much he gives it a name --- Big Red. But eventually Leo outgrows Big Red, and this is where the bicycle's story takes a turn from the everyday, because Leo decides to donate it to an organization that ships bicycles to Africa. Big Red is sent to Burkina Faso, in West Africa, where it finds a home with Alisetta, who uses it to gain quicker access to her family's sorghum field and to the market. Then, over time, it finds its way to a young woman named Haridata, who has a new purpose for the bicycle --- renamed Le Grand Rouge --- delivering medications and bringing sick people to the hospital.

This book makes an excellent choice for cultural studies classes; author Jude Isabella has provided several terrific suggestions in the back of the book for projects large and small, while a map shows the distance the bicycle traveled across the Atlantic Ocean. Award-winning illustrator Simone Shin's digitally composed artwork includes evocative depictions of Alisetta's and Haridata's communities in rural Africa, creating vivid comparisons between Leo's life and their lives. Youngsters will learn how different the world is for those who rely on bicycles as a mode of transportation, and how one ordinary bicycle --- and a child's desire to make a difference --- can change lives across the world. This book also offers an excellent opportunity for expanding character education lessons on caring, compassion and empathy to include the wider world.

About the authors

Jude Isabella has been a journalist for over 20 years, focusing on science, health and the environment. She writes for a diverse audience, from grownups interested in archaeology to young readers interested in space. Jude has written five science books for kids, including Fantastic Feats and Failure, which won the prestigious American Institute of Physics Award. She spent three years researching Salmon and marine biodiversity on Canada's west coast for her master of arts degree in anthropology and writing, resulting in this book. After a dozen or so field trips, she can remove otoliths from juvenile salmon and clean her face in the bush without soap. One of her goals as a science writer is to educate readers that to be human does not mean being hardwired to destroy the environment. There is hope! Jude lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Jude Isabella's profile page

Simone Shin is an award-winning illustrator and a graduate of Boston University and the Art Center College of Design. She began working as a freelancer illustrating for magazines and newspapers, and teaching children in the arts, eventually venturing into children's book illustration. Her inspiration comes from her highly active preschool-aged son, as well as her strong interests in music, nature and family history. In her spare time she likes to create things with fabric and cardboard for fun --- game boards, telephones, record players, violins, dollhouses, just about anything she can think of! After residing for many years in the Los Angeles area, Simone currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works at home illustrating children's books all day and all night.

Simone Shin's profile page

Awards

  • Short-listed, Crown Award, Triple Crown Children's Book Awards
  • Long-listed, 2016/2017 Children's Choice Book Award, Hackmatack
  • Winner, CCBC Choices List, Cooperative Children's Book Center
  • Winner, Outstanding International Book, USBBY
  • Short-listed, Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize, BC Book Prizes
  • Winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Winner, Best Bets Junior Non-Fiction, Ontario Library Association

Editorial Reviews

A fine addition to the CitizenKid series.

Booklist

... it provides an extensive amount of clearly written information, from how a bicycle is transported across the continents to the ripple of economic benefits felt throughout the community.

Quill & Quire

...offers multiple access points and opportunities for critical literacy lessons and dialogue focusing on equity and critical and responsible citizenship.

ETFO Voice

Appealingly illustrated by Shin, this is a particularly good depiction of the ripple effect that can follow one generous act.

The New York Times

Isabella's straightforward and specific prose is brought to life by Shin's textured and upbeat illustrations, which provide windows into the different places along Big Red's route.

The Horn Book Magazine

A strong option for social studies curricula, this noteworthy title will encourage kids to think globally.

School Library Journal

Other titles by Jude Isabella

Other titles by Simone Shin