Roller Skates dealt with issues that were unusual for the times, including the death of two of Lucinda’s friends. According to the Dictionary of Literary Biography “juvenile literature at this time generally did not contain some of the events and behavior which occurred as natural processes in Lucinda’s experiences. ” These experiences include “her lack of ‘proper’ supervision, her strange assortment of friends, and her encounter with death”. Critical reaction to the book was positive. Kirkus Reviews gave it a starred review “for books of remarkable merit”, calling it “One of the most delightful books of the year — a vivid, lovable story”. Roller Skates received the Newbery Award for 1937, for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”.