Monday, May 4, 2015
Non-Fiction Monday: Sneaker Century: a history of athletic shoes by Amber V. Keyser
Sneaker Century: a history of athletic shoes by Amber Keyser. 64 p. Twenty-First Century Books/ Lerner Publishing Group, January, 2015. 9781467726405. (Purchased)
Earlier this school year, I began to notice my students' sneakers while hall monitoring between classes. Now, the population at my school is rather comfortable and name brands are rather ubiquitous. Indeed, the hallway can often be mistaken for a runaway show. But then I started to notice the boys sporting these immaculate sneakers and fussing over them to keep them immaculate. None of the four boys that I raised ever gave a fig about keeping their sneaks clean. I asked what was up and learned that quite a few are sneakerheads and really into collecting sneakers. Maybe I'm a sneakerhead as well since, after noticing that Converse had launched a Dr. Seuss line of sneakers, I commenced buying them up. But my interest is nothing compared to my students'. Apparently sneaker collecting is a serious (and expensive) thing.
When I saw this book in the Junior Library Guild line-up, I knew my collection sorely needed it and swapped a book out of my subscription to get it. It didn't spend much time on my "new book" display before it was checked out.
The author takes the reader back to the 1800s, after a new invention, called rubber, was introduced. In the early 1900s, Converse sneakers were greatly helped when a basket ball star named Chuck Taylor started selling their sneakers. This was no professional endorsement. That came later. This was a retired basketball star who became a sneaker salesman.
Highly readable and punctuated by text boxes with side stories and photographs, this is sure to engage sneaker fans of all stripes (or swooshes).