My Shoes and I: Crossing Three Borders/ Mis zapatos y yo: Cruzando tres fronteras

Written by René Colato Laínez
Illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck

My Shoes and I is back! Now in a bilingual edition published by Piñata Books an imprint of Arte Público Press. The publication date in May 31, 2019.

This book is very important to me because it is my real journey from El Salvador to the United States. I am very happy that the book is back in print and now it is also en español.

The first review was a Starred Review from Kirkus. 

"Inspired by the author’s own story, this tale of a young boy’s arduous escape serves as a crucial, insightful, and timely light shone on a sensitive, highly relevant subject."

About the Book

René Colato Laínez The experiences of young migrant children traveling to the United States are poignantly portrayed in this bilingual picture book.

Young René’s mother has sent him a new pair of shoes from the United States. He loves his new shoes. “They walk everywhere I walk. They jump every time I jump. They run as fast as me. We always cross the finish line at the same time.”

René—with his new shoes—and his father set off on the long journey to meet his mother in the United States. He says goodbye to his friends in El Salvador, and “Uno, dos, tres, my shoes and I are ready to go.” The trip is difficult. They take buses and walk across El Salvador, into Guatemala and then into Mexico. His brand-new shoes lose their shine, turning dirty and gray. They become elephants, pushing against the wind; race cars, fleeing hungry dogs; swim shoes, escaping floods; and submarines, navigating through sticky mud. When holes appear on the soles of his shoes, his father won’t let him give up. “René, my strong boy, we want to be with Mamá.”

Sharing his own experiences, René Colato Laínez’s moving bilingual picture book brings to life the experiences of many young children who make the arduous journey from Central America to the United States in search of a better life.

You can visit the My Shoes and I website for more information at

Book Trailer

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