Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle” as Want to Read:
The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle


4.09  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  121 reviews
In this unique nonfiction picture book, the main character is a bicycle that starts its life like so many bicycles in North America, being owned and ridden by a young boy. The boy, Leo, treasures his bicycle so much he gives it a name -- Big Red. But eventually Leo outgrows Big Red, and this is where the bicycle's story takes a turn from the everyday, because Leo decides ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2015 by Kids Can Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Red Bicycle, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Red Bicycle

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  334 ratings  ·  121 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This entry in the CitizenKids series relates the journey of an ordinary bicycle from the United States to the African country of Burkina Faso, and describes its various owners and uses. (I was intrigued by the transformation of the bike into an ambulance.) The point of the book is that in some Third World countries bicycles are the only means of transportation of people and goods for many, and that children who no longer want their old bicycles can donate them to organizations that will ...more
Anna (BooksandBookends)
I received a free ebook copy of this book by the book's publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is not published until March 2015 so my full review will not be posted until February 2015. However, this is a children's book that you should really read as soon as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
The illustrations are excellent. The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle will help kids realize the impact their own donations and actions can have on the lives of others, even people far away, and might inspire kids to use their own bicycles more often or to donate their old bikes.

Note: I received a digital review copy of this book through NetGalley.
Linda Johnson
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Goodreads First Reads.
I read this book to my grandkids last night and I'm sure they will enjoy it for many years to come.
The Red Bicycle begins with Leo who saves the money he earned from mowing lawns, raking leaves and shoveling snow for 2 years to purchase Big Red. Big Red is well loved and Leo rides his bicycle everywhere.
When Leo outgrows Big Red, the bicycle shop owner tells him about a program that sends bicycles to people who need them in other parts of the
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it

The story follows a bicycle: first, it's property of a boy in America, but when he outgrows it, he decides to give it away to charity. After a long trip, the bicycle arrives in Africa, where it belongs to a girl who uses it for work and as her only form of transportation. But when it breaks, she decides to give it to charity as well. Will the bike help even more people?

This book is so important for young children! After reading this, they will understand how a small thing like giving away
Edward Sullivan
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
A bicycle, originally owned and ridden by a young boy, is donated to an organization that ships bicycles to Africa and is sent to Burkina Faso in West Africa where it is used it to carry goods to the market, and later for delivering medications and bringing sick people to the hospital. A great story in the Citizen Kid series.
Alexis Imler
Isabella, J. (2015). The Red Bicycle (S. Shin), Toronto: Kids Can Press

Recommended grade level: 1-3
Format: Diverse Text Set
Themes: Helping others, world-wide diversity, caring, love
Major Awards:
2017 - Crown Award, Triple Crown Children's Book Awards, Short-listed
2016 - Outstanding International Book, USBBY, Winner
2016 - Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize, BC Book Prizes, Short-listed
2016 - 2016/2017 Children's Choice Book Award, Hackmatack, Long-listed
2016 - CCBC Choices
A young boy in the US loves his bicycle, Big Red, but he outgrows it, and decides to donate it to an organization that ships bicycles to Africa. The bicycles new owners are shown in several communities, and its usefulness is one to note for the children in the US especially. The first owner is grateful because Big Red helps a young girl to move more quickly to her familys sorghum fields and then to market. Thats not the only home for this bicycle, and children will be interested in seeing its ...more
The Red Bicycle is a tale of paying it forward in the means of transportation. One young boy save his money for a couple years to buy a brand new red bicycle. He love his bike but soon out grows it. He donates it to an organization that will transports the bike overseas to Africa. Readers are taken on a journey that connects the previous bicycle's owners to the next in this tale of recycling and re-purposing.
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful title from the CitizenKid series. A great example to show children what taking action and community service might look like. The book also provides a wonderful glimpse of what life in rural Burkina Faso can look like. I also appreciated the resources at the end of the book, providing additional information about Burkina Faso.
Josie Stewart
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
While I am never fond of too wordy of picture books, I can see that this book will be perfect for middle grade classrooms as they think about how they can impact their community. I have not read other books in the CitizenKid series, but will want to now. Love the giving piece of this book and how one bike could help so many serve.

Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
March 2015 - A red bicycle starts with a boy in North America and travels to Africa and continues to provide opportunities for a young girl and then a hospital. The text was a bit long but really liked the story and the end notes were informative.
Beyond the Pages
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. What a superb message. Charity extended and paid forward...that was my takeaway. It was such a powerful lesson. I appreciated being educated on creative ways to recycle old to make new while attempting to help others in need. Beautiful!
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very good! Beautifully illustrated with a well written format! Summarizes the journey of Big Red the Bicycle from America to Africa; remarks on the sturdiness and usefulness of the bicycle and the people who uses it.
Kellee Moye
I loved the story of The Red Bicycle. It just shows how one thing can change so many peoples lives.
The Red Bicycle would be a great way to discuss how even kids can change someone's life.
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Way too wordy for a picture book and the letters are too small.
Emma Hendrix
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dr-smith
A sweet Cultural book about the journey of a Red Bicycle. The story starts with a boy who saves up his money to buy a shiny new red bike. Through the years the boy outgrows the "Big Red". He decides to donate it to people in need. Once the Bicycle reaches Africa a sweet little girl uses it to help support her family. The Red Bike is soon accidentally knocked over by a loose pig. A Man comes to town and offers to take it off the little girl's hand. He fixes it up so that a Medically experienced ...more
Margaret Buettner
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle is a non-fiction text about reusing bicycles. The red bicycle begins at the home of a young boy. Once he outgrows it, she donates it to an organization that sends it to a village in Africa. From there the bicycle has all sorts of adventures. It takes people to school, to the market to sell goods, and eventually becomes an ambulance that travels between villages. This would be a great book to teach about being eco friendly (reduce, ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
A bike's journey around the world and through many owners and uses.

A great story to show kids how they can make a difference and help other people in simple ways. My biggest qualm (and why I dropped a star) with this story is there are a lot of words/dialogue, so this would have to be a read aloud book, but also means you can have a discussion on how listeners could help in their neighborhood or around the world.

Content notes: No issues.

Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book follows a bikes journey from suburban American boy (who earns it with his own money) to African village, where it helps the owners care for and sell their crops, to another African village where it is turned into a bicycle ambulance. Even though the word count is high, my give year old loved reading it. It's a great intro for kids to think about different cultures, giving back, and recycling.
Lorie Barber
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
While I like the message of giving in this book, I am looking at it through a racial equity lens and find it lacking. The power of giving lies with the boy from the west, while the needy country of Burkina Faso benefits from his generosity. It reminds me of the Ted Talk by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of the Single Story. ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A deeply satisfying nonfiction picture book that chronicles the history of a red bicycle from its purchase in the United States throughout its journeys and utility in Burkina Faso in West Africa. The narrative is inspiring and is effective in demonstrating how everyday choices can make a difference globally. A strong addition to the CitizenKid series.
This is a childhood dream of mines.
To have a bicycle again with a basket & use it for transportation. My goal is to get the bike before the year ends to help me out & save bus fare money. For there are times I don't have any.

This read bike has done a lot for people in this book & that makes me happy (trying not to spoil it).

Even simple things, such as a bike, can make a huge difference in a person's life.

(Date & Time Read: 10th August 2019; 10:07am to 10:28am)
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a person who appreciates low-tech solutions to everyday problems, I thought this story about the versatility of a bicycle in North America and then Burkina Faso was well presented. The illustrations are eye-opening to show multiple ways a bicycle can benefit its owner. A page at the back entitled "A Note for Parents and Teachers" contains some helpful suggestions to further the learning.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wnmdb, big-ideas
A good read-aloud book to tie in with Thanksgiving or Christmas service projects. Not likely to appeal to the picture book crowd because it has too much text, and not appealing to the middle graders because who think they can only read chapter books. Teachers will need to initiate contact with this thought-provoking title.
Alyssa Haslam
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cute story about a bicycle and it's importance for the individuals who possess it throughout the story. Beautiful illustrations. The wording on each page is a little lengthly but other than that it is a delightful story.
Donna Mork
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A pretty long book, but great. All about the true story of a bike from a young boy in American, to being donated to Africa, helping a family there, then becoming an ambulance. Wonderful back information.
When a boy outgrows his bicycle and needs a new one, he chooses to donate his bike, Big Red, to an organization that sends bikes, spare parts, tools, knapsacks and soccer balls to Africa. And this one bike has a profound impact on the lives of people in Burkina Faso.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
A great book for older readers due to its length. Very informative about the need for bicycles in Africa where they are put to use in ways we would never think of.

Large and colorful illustrations.
Judy Desetti
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. This will be one to share with students. It's got a great message of sharing and giving.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • I'm Trying to Love Spiders
  • The Good Egg (The Bad Seed, #2)
  • The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World
  • The Day You Begin
  • Dreamers
  • Where Are You From?
  • My Papi Has a Motorcycle
  • Love
  • White Bird
  • How to Read a Book
  • Carl and the Meaning of Life
  • Nobody Hugs a Cactus
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name
  • Her Right Foot
  • Before She Was Harriet
  • How to Be an Elephant
  • The Night Is Yours
  • Hello Lighthouse
See similar books…

Jude Isabella has written for The Walrus, Nautilus, Slate, New Scientist, the Loh Down on Science, Medical Post, WILD Magazine, Archaeology Magazine, BC Magazine, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Spirituality and Health Magazine, and The Tyee, focusing on science, health, and the environment. She also spent more than a decade as the managing editor of YES Mag, the Science Magazine for Adventurous Minds.


Other books in the series

CitizenKid (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War
  • One Well: The Story of Water on Earth
  • If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People
  • Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together
  • Mimi's Village: And How Basic Health Care Transformed It
  • Planet Ark: Preserving Earth's Biodiversity
  • Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education
  • If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United States
  • How to Build Your Own Country
  • One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
3 likes · 0 comments