Red Socks

It’s time for Baby to get dressed. Mama talks with Baby about each item of clothing, but “UH-OH” – a sock is missing! Once the sock is found and Baby is all dressed, and the laundry is folded, it’s time to go play outside. Little ones will love spotting that hidden sock, watching baby get dressed, and pointing to familiar objects in the illustrations.

Illustration © 2015 by Ying-Hwa Hu

Illustration © 2015 by Ying-Hwa Hu

Includes a note from early literacy and language expert Dr. Betty Bardige that shows adults how everyday activities and conversation with young children offer rich opportunities to build early language. To see more language-building tips from Dr. Bardige you can visit Early Childhood Investigations.

To see more of award-winning illustrator Ying-Hwa Hu’s artwork you can visit her at

“A sweet story that instructs parents as well as delighting babies.” – Kirkus Reviews

“In Red Socks, the mother character names colors, provides descriptions, and offers spatial observations, all examples of how we can help children name, measure, and know their world. “Let’s see what else is in the laundry basket. Here is your red sock. UH-OH! Where is the other red sock? You found the other red sock! Yay! It was hiding in your pants pocket!”” – Jarrett Dapier, “Building Better Brains,” in Children and Libraries, journal of the Association for Library Service to Children

“At Tandem, one of the things we do is distribute a lot of great children’s books to families and educators. We provided over 100 families in San Francisco with copies of Red Socks in English, Spanish, and Chinese as part of our pilot Read & Play Club program. The mom in Red Socks talks to her baby, narrating everyday activities like doing laundry, getting dressed, and going out to play.  The type of back-and-forth interactions she is modeling form the basis of language development and help build strong trusting bonds between babies and caregivers.  Ellen Mayer’s sweet and simple story of everyday life is backed with great vocabulary and opportunities for developing baby’s ability to recognize and categorize objects in their environment, a key early math skill. Ying-Hwa Hu’s vibrant illustrations allow children and families of all races and ethnicities to see something of their experience reflected in the characters in the story, vital for building children’s early sense of belonging and empathy.” – Kelsey Gottschalk, Program Director at Tandem, Partners in Early Learning®

“Ellen Mayer’s simple and charming story of a particular moment in a mother and child’s day will immediately appeal to even the youngest reader. Familiar words coupled with clear, vivid illustrations will engage toddlers who are pre-talking and just learning language and concept development. The mother’s use of complete sentences as well as step-by-step descriptions of the activities the child sees and is involved in demonstrates how adults can converse with their babies and young children to encourage strong language and literacy skills. Free of gender-specific pronouns, Red Socks is a universal story.” – Kathy Lynn of 

ParentChild+ recommended

Highly recommended by the Midwest Book Review

To Order

starbright Bookshop amazon

ISBN-13: 978-1-59572-706-0
Illustrated by Ying-Hwa Hu
Published by Star Bright Books, 2015
Board book, 18 pages
For ages 0-2

Red Socks Span_Eng copy

Medias rojas / Red Socks, 2016
Spanish/English bilingual edition
ISBN-13: 978-1595727572

Watch Nancy Valdiva of the Palm Springs Public Library read Red Socks in Spanish.


红袜子 / Red Socks, 2018
Chinese/English bilingual edition
ISBN: 978-1-59572-811-1

Watch this interactive reading of Red Socks in Cantonese from Tandem, Partners in Early Learning®,


Thom Khwm Liab / Red Socks, 2018
Hmong/English bilingual edition
ISBN: 978-1-59572-812-8

Watch Kaonou Hang read Red Socks in Hmong and English.