An Albuquerque author has written a sweet, magical story for small children about a pair of world-traveling beach shoes.
Vicki Dean Mayhew’s book “Sea Shoes” begins on a shoreline where a boy walking with his father decides to take his shoes off. An outgoing tide pulls the shoes out to sea.
The shoes sail on around the world for many, many years. They encounter starfish, dolphins, a walrus, an octopus, polar bear cubs and whales.
Each try on the shoes, but they don’t fit. Eventually, the shoes are washed onto a different shore where a boy is walking with his father. The boy tries them on. Guess what. They fit him. Turns out this boy’s father was the boy at the start of the book. It completes a family circle, Mayhew said.
The illustrations in Mayhew’s book give the story a glow of candy-colored hues in images of rainbows, snowfalls, morning sunlight, moonlight and snow-sprinkled mountains.
Mayhew said the illustrator goes by the pen name of Kalpart.
Kalpart also illustrated Mayhew’s earlier book, “How the Unicorn Got His Horn Back.”
“Sea Shoes” has won two awards: the New Mexico Press Women’s Communications Contest and the National Press Women’s Award for Children’s Books – Fiction.
A map on facing pages shows where the shoes have traveled, starting in Southern California and ending in what appears to be the northern Atlantic coast of Florida. “I wanted for kids to get a sense of all the beautiful places in the world and how far the shoes had to go to get back to shore,” Mayhew said.
The book is aimed at ages 5 to 10.
An intriguing bilingual book for young readers is “Sisters in Blue, Sor María de Agreda Comes to New Mexico” by Ann M. Nogar and Enrique R. Lamadrid. It combines legend with fiction.
The first half of the book is a tale told in parallel narratives. The narratives are about the lives of Sor María, a legendary nun in Ãgreda, Spain, and of the fictional Paf Sheuri, a young pueblo woman in New Mexico. The story, set in the 17th century, reveals similarities in environments, in religious symbolism, in midsummer celebrations and in experiences.
The women come to know each other after Sor María makes a spiritual “journey” to New Mexico, where she converses with Paf Sheuri. Their closeness is represented in the book’s title, “Sisters in Blue.” Why the color blue? Because Sor Maria has been known over centuries as the “Lady in Blue” and Paf Sheuri’s name translates to “Blue Flower.”
The second half of the book is devoted to an essay, titled “Cultivating Legend and Connecting Places,” which gives historical context to the story.
Nogar is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of New Mexico, and Lamadrid is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Spanish at UNM. The illustrator is award-winning artist Amy Córdova of La Cienega.
Vicki Dean Mayhew reads from and signs “Sea Shoes” at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.