Shoes for Everyone

A Story about Jan Matzeliger

From the Series Creative Minds Biographies

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 8
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

Jan Matzeliger felt anything but welcome in Philadelphia in 1873. As well as being a foreigner, Jan was half African American, which meant that most doors were closed to him. Although the Civil War had been over for nearly ten years, inequality for African Americans still persisted in its aftermath. However, Jan refused to let prejudice keep him from achieving his dream of making a shoe-lasting machine to replace the tedious, time-consuming hand sewing that held up shoe manufacturing processes in his day.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 5
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Class, Diversity
Copyright 1986
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 64
Publication Date 2012-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 5.9
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF007000, JNF007050, JNF007090
Dewey 685'.31'0028
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Dimensions 5.875 x 8.5
Lexile 840
Guided Reading Level R
ATOS Reading Level 5.7
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 4374
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Afterword, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Index, Reviewed, Table of contents, and Teaching Guides

Illustrator: Hetty Mitchell

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Creative Minds Biographies

Meet some of the world’s most creative minds! Written in story format, these episodic biographies give clear, straightforward accounts of historical figures’ lives. Each true story is accompanied by black-and-white illustrations. View available downloads →


  • NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, Winner, 1986


Appraisal: Science Books for Young People

“. . .an engaging story, giving a clear picture of the person as well as his work. . . with attractive black and white line drawings these stand out from the general run of biographies for children. . .”

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“A clear text blessedly allows the extraordinary individual in focus.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Science Books & Films

“. . .highly recommended.”
Science Books & Films