A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids learn what life is like for immigrant families as they journey across the border to find a better life: unexpected challenges, dangers, big dreams for a better future.
Strong messages about importance of family, dreaming of a better life.
Positive Role Models
René is a strong boy. Even when life gets hard he pushes ahead with a big goal in mind. His father is kind and loving. Immigrant kids may see their own experiences reflected in this story.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that My Shoes and I: Crossing Three Borders / Mis Zapatos y Yo: Cruzando Tres Fronteras, by René Colato LaÍnez, is a bilingual book inspired by the author's journey across three borders as a young boy. René -- with his new shoes -- and his father set off on the long trek to cross El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico to reunite with his mother in the United States. Each page is beautifully illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck with rustic, textured painting that help bring this story to life. It sheds light on the experiences of many young children who travel from Central America to the U.S. in search of a better life.
Is It Any Good?
René Colato LaÍnez's inspirational story beautifully captures the hard journey that immigrant children and families face as they travel across borders to find a better life in the United States. LaÍnez's use of short sentences, repetition, running metaphors, and sound effects make this timely story engaging to young readers. My Shoes and I: Crossing Three Borders / Mis Zapatos y Yo: Cruzando Tres Fronteras is an excellent story to read with immigrant children who may have had similar experiences, or to others who may be curious about what it's like to cross the border into the United States.
At the end of the book, you'll find brief bios in Spanish and English for both LaÍnez and illustrator Fabricio Vanden Broeck. There's also an author's note page in Spanish and English in which LaÍnez shares details about his journey to the United States and explains his reason for writing this book. He wants others to know about the hardships immigrant children and families face when they leave home to escape violence and crime and search for a better life.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Bilingual Books (English/Spanish)
Kids' Books About the Immigrant Experience
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate