Maria and the Silver Shoes by Zillah Bethell

About The Author: Zillah Bethell

You are probably going to think this is straight out of a novel, but here goes…

Zillah Bethell was born in Papua New Guinea, spent her childhood barefoot playing in the jungle, and didn’t own a pair of shoes until she came to the UK when she was eight.  

Zillah most recent book is called The Shark Caller.

 “I want to be able to call the sharks. Teach me the magic and show me the ways.”

Blue Wing is desperate to become a shark caller, but instead she must befriend infuriating newcomer Maple, who arrives unexpectedly on Blue Wing’s island.

At first, the girls are too angry to share their secrets and become friends. But when the tide breathes the promise of treasure, they must journey together to the bottom of the ocean to brave the deadliest shark of them all…

Listen to Zillah reading the story

This resource enables your class to listen to the author, Zillah, reading her story of Maria and the Silver Shoes.

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The Story

This is a story about dreams. When the girl in the story is asked about her dreams she replies, ‘To live in a house with my mother. And be warm. And to have enough to eat.’


Maria lived under a bridge with her mother. At night they slept in sleeping bags after going to the soup kitchen to collect a bowl of soup for supper. The soup was delicious and tasted of pea. Sometimes Maria was very cold, and the soup warmed her hands as well as her stomach. Maria’s sleeping bag was red and her mother’s was blue.

In the day, her mother took her guitar and sang on the city streets. People loved to hear her play and they threw dirty coins into the hat Maria put on the ground. Sometimes Maria looked in the shop windows when her mother played the guitar.

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This is a comprehension resource linked to the captivating story Maria and the Silver Shoes by Zillah Bethell.

We have differentiated this resources by questions asked and quantity. We have also included two multiple choice resources.

Your class can either read the comprehension or listen to it before completing the comprehension questions.

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