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Out in May, this is Tom Percival's first middle grade book, following his enormously successful picture books that tackle emotions, such as 'Ravi's Roar'. 'The Wrong Shoes' is an absolute must-read: a powerful and poignant tale of one boy living in poetry but finding hope in friendship and art. Accompanied by Tom Percival's excellent, graphic illustrations, this is an engrossing and emotional read, reflecting the difficulties families and children face financially today, while subtly nodding to similar past generational struggles. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Will has the wrong shoes – he's always known it but doesn't know how to change it. Navigating the difficulties of home and school when you feel you stick out is tough, but finding confidence with the help and empathy of friends can be all you need to see the way. 


Recently I was really lucky to hear Tom Percival speak about 'The Wrong Shoes' at the Simon and Schuster children's showcase. His personal reflections on poverty and his passionate reasons for writing this book were really inspiring and important. At the moment, 4.2 million children in the UK live in poverty - that's one in every three children. The book has been written to support The National Literacy Trust too, with some proceeds of sales going to the charity. For these reasons alone, 'The Wrong Shoes' is a must-read for everyone: parents, teachers, politicians and also, of course, children who experience the same levels of bullying and daily struggles as the main character Will. 

Will is such a wonderful creation and his voice is raw, wise and vulnerable. Like Tom Percival's picture books, 'The Wrong Shoes' is an empathy powerhouse. There were so many moments I found myself welling up, feeling anger and despair as Will does, and then becoming walloped by a fragile hope with wings. Will's solace in art was something that really struck a chord with me. While I didn't experience the extent of financial difficulties as Will as a teenager, I did experience challenging family problems and, like Will, I found art was my escape. The scene when Will paints his owl while his teacher stands behind him is something that echoes my own experiences. And this is the thing with this magnificent book: it is cross-generational. There are references to the 80s and 90s (including Will borrowing an old tape cassette player - what are those?). Older readers will undoubtedly draw comparisons. And, of course, in a General Election year, the message of 'The Wrong Shoes' couldn't be starker.



Thank you to Simon and Schuster for the invitation to the showcase and for this advance copy.  

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