Book Discussion Guide
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed
When the relief workers are handing out clothing in Lina’s refugee camp, she is excited when she spots a shoe! Unfortunately, the other shoe already belongs to another girl, Feroza. Lina and Feroza work out a deal to share the shoes. This agreement turns out to be the beginning of a deep and important friendship. As you read this story, you and your child will not only learn an important message about friendship, but you will also learn about the challenging conditions inside a refugee camp. Together, you and your child will find that children in all situations share the same needs: friendship and love.
Questions To Talk About
It's important to make sure that your child has an understanding of key words in the book. Talking about words while reading is a great way for your child to learn new words.
In this book, you might talk about these words:
- relief (pg. 2)
- resettled (pg. 13)
- crescent (pg. 18)
- signaled (pg. 18)
- refugees (pg. Author's Note)
- instability (pg. Author's Note)
You might use a question like:
In the book, what does the word relief mean? How do the events described on this page and the image help you understand the word?
Key Ideas and Themes
In addition to words, it's important to talk about key ideas and themes and how they develop over the course of the book.
Here are some examples to get you started:
On page 3, it says, “Lina was ten, but she had not worn shoes for two years.” Talk about these details as a family and talk about what the conditions were like in Lina’s community. What words and phrases does the author use to describe the place? Why were people fighting and pushing as relief workers handed out clothing?
Feroza and Lina find themselves in an interesting situation! Talk with your child about Lina and Feroza’s agreement about the shoes. How does Feroza react when she finds that Lina has the other shoe? Reread page 10 together and then ask, “What makes Feroza change her mind about taking one shoe?”
How does Lina’s and Feroza’s friendship build throughout the story? Be sure to talk about different scenes in the story, describing the events and conversations that bring them closer together.
Flip through the illustrations and talk about where the story takes place. How do the illustrations help you understand the story? Use the Author’s Note and page 7 to talk about where the story occurs. Using the story as a guide, talk together about why there are refugee camps and what the living conditions are like.
The book is full of deep lessons. As Lina leaves for America, Feroza says, “It is good to remember…Four feet, two sandals.” Why do you think the sandals are so important to the girls? What do they represent? Talk about what the book teaches about friendship by looking back on how Feroza and Lina form a relationship.
In the Author’s Note, you learn about one of the author’s experiences in a refugee camp in Peshawar. The authors state: “Though this story is based on a camp in Peshawar, the experiences of children like Lina and Feroza are shared by refugees around the world.” Using a site like newsela.com or unhcr.org, search for articles about current or recent refugee camps (Here’s one possible article: “Many Ukrainians will stay in Russia,” By Los Angeles Times, adapted by Newsela staff). Compare the camp conditions to Lina and Feroza’s community. As a family, talk about the events and situations that lead people to flee their countries and become refugees.