The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle by Jude Isabella, illustrated by Simone Shin
For two years, young Leo has worked hard to pay for his bicycle, which he affectionately names Big Red. As rewarding as the boy-and-his-bike relationship has been, Leo is still growing … and he eventually outgrows his trusty wheels. “Leo wants to give Big Red to someone who will love the bicycle as much as he does. But everyone he knows already owns a bike.”
Rather than turn Big Red over to landfill, Leo finds a local organization that distributes bicycles to places where not everyone has a bike. Conscientious and caring, Leo washes, oils, repairs, and delivers Big Red to the shipping container that will ferry bikes, parts, tools, knapsacks, and soccer balls to the other side of the world: “Leo feels a lump in his throat as the door closes.” [Readers will, too!]
Big Red’s remarkable journey begins. Alisetta of Burkina Faso is Big Red’s next owner, helping Alisetta work more efficiently and productively to help her family’s small business. “With the extra money, Awa [Alisetta’s grandmother] sends Alisetta’s younger brother and sister to school.” Over the years, Big Red will continue to assist, enable, improve, rescue: from Leo to Alisetta to Boukary to Haridata, Big Red plays an unforgettable role in each of its new owner’s lives.
The Red Bicycle is the latest addition to the encouraging, entertaining CitizenKid series from Canada’s illuminating Kids Can Press – “books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.” Author Jude Isabella – an experienced science writer and editor – shows methodically and clearly the far-reaching impact of one young boy’s single decision. Artist Simone Shin makes sure you experience the journey vividly, in color, close up, and personally.
If every reader were so inclined to do just one thoughtful gesture locally and affect the world globally, imagine the gratifying, rewarding ramifications of that! Instead of creating more garbage, one bike got a second (third, fourth, more …) chance to literally save lives. Could changing the world be that simple? Well, yes: read … and believe. Big Red will show you how.