The Red Bicycle

Jude Isabella
Simone Shin

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.

978-1-77138-023-2 | Mar 1, 2015
List Price: USD $18.99, CAD $19.99
4-color 9 x 12 32 pages
Grades: 3 To 7 / Ages: 8 to 12
978-1-77138-558-9 | Apr 7, 2020
List Price: USD $10.99, CAD $12.99
4-color 9 x 12 32 pages
Grades: 3 To 7 / Ages: 8 to 12
978-1-77138-634-0 | Sep 11, 2014
List Price: USD $11.99, CAD $11.99

Awards & Reviews

“A fine addition to the CitizenKid series.”
— Booklist, February 2015
“A strong option for social studies curricula, this noteworthy title will encourage kids to think globally.”
— School Library Journal, March 2015
“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, May 2015
“... 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, April 2015
“Appealingly illustrated by Shin, this is a particularly good depiction of the ripple effect that can follow one generous act.”
— The New York Times, May 2015
“...offers multiple access points and opportunities for critical literacy lessons and dialogue focusing on equity and critical and responsible citizenship.”
— ETFO Voice, January 2017
2017 - Crown Award, Triple Crown Children's Book Awards, Short-listed
2016 - Outstanding International Book, USBBY, Winner
2016 - Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize, BC Book Prizes, Short-listed
2016 - 2016/2017 Children's Choice Book Award, Hackmatack, Long-listed
2016 - CCBC Choices List, Cooperative Children's Book Center, Winner
2015 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2015 - Best Bets Junior Non-Fiction, Ontario Library Association, Winner

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