My Shoes And I by Rene Colato Lainez w/ Giveaway!

Written by René Colato Laínez
Illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck
Boyds Mills Press

*ISBN-10: 1590783859

Mario is leaving his home in El Salvador. With his father by his side, he is going north to join his mother, who lives in the United States. She has sent Mario a new pair of shoes, and he is thrilled. He will need good shoes because the trip will be long and hard. He and his father will cross the borders of three countries. They will walk for miles, ride buses, climb mountains and wade a river.

 Mario has faith in his shoes. He believes they will take him anywhere. On this day, he wants to go to the United States, where his family will be reunited.

René Colato Laínez’s inspiring story, dramatically illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck, vividly portrays a boy who strives to reach a new land and a new life.

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This was a wonderful read about a boy, his travels, and of course his shoes.  His shoes take him everywhere…  Throughout the book Mario goes through many travels and trials.  Each page shares Mario’s story along with beautifully illustrated pictures of course, including the shoes.

I feel that sharing this lovely book with a young child would be fun as we turn page after page.  I imagine the child would be excited to hear the story and follow the pictures.  I cant wait for the chance to so just that!

I had the opportunity to ask Author Rene Colato Lainez about his journey through publishing.  The topic always interests me and here is what Rene had to say:

Hello Sheila,

I am René Colato Laínez, the Salvadoran award winning author of I Am René, the Boy, Waiting for Papá, Playing Lotería, René Has Two Last Names and The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez. My picture books have been honored by the Latino Book Award, the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, the California Collection for Elementary Readers, the Tejas Star Book Award Selection and the New Mexico Book Award. I was named “Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)” by I am  a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for  Children & Young  Adults.

My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children’s literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. I want to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States

In 1985, my father and I left El Salvador to come to the United States. This journey of crossing three countries has always been present in my writing. When I was in college, I started to write about my journey. I titled the story “Hacia el Norte” (Going North). It was written in a series of journal entries and I was practically retelling my journey step by step.

In 2004, I was doing my MFA in writing for children at Vermont College. I realized that “Hacia el Norte” could become a great young adult book. I reread my original story and it was all over the place. My new goal was to fictionalize the story and to concentrate on my main character. I was ready to start my manuscript when Phyllis Root became my new writing advisor.

I was born in a tropical country. In El Salvador it is summer almost all year long. I live in California and here I can only see some snow on the top of the mountains. I experienced my first snowy day in Montpellier, Vermont. Oh my! It was hard to walk in the snow. I was trying to walk to the cafeteria in my baby’s steps when I heard Phyllis Root’s voice, “Hello René, we are almost there.” During lunch, I told Phyllis that walking on snow was similar like crossing the mountains in Tijuana, Mexico. Soon, I was telling her about my journey and my special shoes that my mother sent me from the United States. Phyllis was fascinating listening to my story and she told me, “René this can be a powerful picture book.”

Later that week I found out that Phyllis was my new writing advisor for my second semester. I was so happy to write my stories and have feed back from this talented amazing author. When we met to discuss the plans for the semester, she told me that she want to read my manuscript about my shoes. But something in my mind, was telling me “No, I think this is my young adult novel and not a picture book.”

I sent my first packet of work and Phyllis told me, “Great work! Are you working on your shoes story?” It was time for the second packet and I wrote new stories. Phyllis reminded me, “How is your shoes story coming along.” For the third packet, I felt that I needed to write something about my shoes to Phyllis. So I wrote my first line, “I love my shoes. They can take me anywhere.” I really liked this line and kept writing for two hours.

Yeah! I had a story MY SHOES AND I. It came directly from my heart and it was an authentic story about immigration. At this point, I agreed with Phyllis, “This could be a powerful picture book”. I revised the story in the next months. Soon it was summer, time to come back to Vermont.

For the second semester reading night, I chose to read MY SHOES AND I. At the end of my reading, I had a standing ovation from everyone in the room. Author Jane Resh Tomas whispered in my ear, “Great Story, René!”

The following day, Author Carolyn Coman told me that she had heard great comments about my story and asked me if she can read it. But the end of the residence, Carolyn told me that she had an editor friend that might be interested in my manuscript. She acted like my agent and submitted the story for me.

Leave a comment here today and you will be entered into a giveaway for an opportunity to win a copy of this book from the author.  This is a one day giveaway so put your comment in today!

If you would like to see more reviews on this book:

Monday March 08-Mayra Calvani

Tuesday March 09-Lori Calabrese

Wednesday March 10-Christina Rodriguez

Thursday March 11-Silvia

Friday March 12-Monica Olivera Hazelton

Monday March 15- Tina Nichols Coury

Tuesday March 16-Michael Sedano

Wednesday March 17-Caridad Pineiro

Thursday March 18-Sandra Lopez

I received my review copy from Bronzeword Latino

18 thoughts on “My Shoes And I by Rene Colato Lainez w/ Giveaway!

  1. I would love to win this book, it sounds like a super
    Please count me in I follow by google reader and email.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  2. It sounds like a wonderful book, please count me in for the giveaway.
    I enjoyed Rene’s comments, especially his thoughts on what was (I imagine) his first Vermont winter–snow can definitely be hard to walk in! And how fortunate for us that something as “normal” as walking in snow led to a longer conversation and book!

  3. I would enjoy sharing this book with our two sons!
    Many thanks for this wonderful opportunity…..

  4. What a wonderful author interview! This book sounds utterly charming and I know my child would love it. Thanks for the chance!

    rubymoonstone at gmail dot com

  5. Being a shoe lover the title jumped off the blog at me, then after reading the description and your review, it sounds like a great story. Thank you for hosting the contest.

  6. Was at a concert last night so didn’t get to my emails. This sounds like a wonderful book. I do story times for the migrant HeadStart program here. This is a wonderful addition to the work we do with the younger kids as well as the programs with the older ones.

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