Friday, December 18, 2015

‘The Red Bicycle’ by Jude Isabella

Book cover: 'The Red Bicycle' by Jude Isabella. A young girl stands holding a red bicycle amid a market scene of baskets on the ground that hold a variety of goods. In the background, a woman sits in the shade of an umbrella.
In North America, a young boy, Leo, saves the money he earns by doing work for his neighbors so that he can purchase a new bicycle. When he outgrows “Big Red,” his beloved red bicycle, he donates it to a bike-relief organization that transports it to the West African country of Burkina Faso.

“Big Red’s” story is told in The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella with illustrations by Simone Shin (Kids Can Press, 2015).

This book offers an informative look at what can be accomplished by bicycle, when the luxury and privilege of automobile driving simply do not exist.

The red bicycle is first given to a young girl, Alisetta, and her family immediately benefits. By riding her bike, she can arrive early at her family’s sorghum field and scare away the birds that would otherwise get to the crop before her family could harvest it.

Alisetta also uses the bike to bring sale items to market. With the money she earns, her grandmother is able to send Alisetta’s younger siblings to school. The family is also able to purchase another bicycle.

The red bicycle is later fitted with a stretcher to transport patients to a clinic. Haridata, a young clinic worker, travels on Big Red to deliver medicines and treat patients in remote villages.

I found much to appreciate in this book, including young people making a positive difference in their lives, their families and communities.

Young readers learn through listed resources how they can donate bicycles, both abroad and in their own communities. The Red Bicycle also offers great resources for local bicycling advocacy. A note to parents and teachers invites them to ask children to research reasons why bikes are a good form of transportation in their own communities. It also encourages introducing the subject of safe bicycle infrastructure by recommending that local cycling advocates be invited to young readers’ classrooms.

Also posted to Librarian on a Bicycle

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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