The Sandal Artist

Hooray for the return of Perfect Picture Book Friday! I have been waiting all summer to showcase this amazing new find.
Title: The Sandal Artist
Author: Kathleen T. Pelley
Illustrator: Lois Rosio Sprague
Publisher: Pelican Publishing 
Date: 2012/Fiction
Suitable For: ages 5 to 10
Opening Pages: Long ago in Italy, there lived a poor young artist called Robert. Every day Roberto strolled through the cobbled streets of his village and watched the children playing. Sometimes, one of the children would call out, “Roberto! Come and paint our picture.” But Robert only laughed. “No!” he said. “One day I am going to be a great artist, and I must practice painting only beautiful things – not ragged children.”
Brief Synopsis: In search of glorious things to paint, Roberto misses the beauty in the everyday stuff around him. That is, until he wears another man's sandals for a while.
Themes: Empathy, Sensitivity, Acceptance, Compassion
Links To Resources:
*Download comprehensive author-written activities {here}
*Try the Empathy In A (Shoe) Box lesson written {here}
*Listen to a radio interview with author Kathleen T. Pelley {here}
*Watch the You Tube book trailer ...

Why I Like This Book: Roberto sees things through a different lens after walking in another man's shoes -- that's exactly what empathy can do for someone. Research tells us that children who read fiction have higher levels of empathy and we know that empathy elevates when people witness or experience it. Watching Roberto's life transform will be a powerful experience for young and old alike who take a walk in those sandals with him. Check out this book; I think you'll be glad you did! After reading it and talking about empathy, take a brain break with this little Bunny Hop ditty:

Other titles with a similar theme to compare and contrast include: 
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Williams
One Thousand Tracings by Lita Judge
The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

To link up your Picture Perfect Book, visit Susanna Leonard Hills' blog.


  1. Thanks for sharing this book. The story sounds so touching.

  2. What a great find; This is going on my list. It feels like it should be a true story.

  3. I want this book!!! I haven't heard about it, but like you the story really touched me. Such a strong message! Thanks for sharing it with us! Loved the video and the activities.

  4. Nice to see a PB for 'older' readers made it!

  5. Thank you, Barbara, for such an insightful review. I absolutely LOVE your Bunny Hop Ditty and I bet all the kids do too.

  6. You are right, Barbara. This is a great find!

  7. Empathy is so important. Thanks for sharing what sounds like a wonderful book!

  8. This book sounds wonderful Barbara! Those opening lines pull you right in, don't they? I was all ready to keep on reading! So I guess I'll have to go find myself a copy of this book :) So glad to see you again after the summer :)

  9. The artwork is breathtaking. The story sounds wonderful. It's so difficult to create a story with a powerful message that is not heavy handed, but when it's done well it's so powerful. Thank you!

  10. What a wonderful way to share this message.

  11. This book sounds like an excellent way to gently teach about empathy. Great idea to suggest similar books, as well, to broaden the experience. Thanks, Barbara!


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!