We were delighted to have Emmy-award winning actress, Debra Messing, at our Book Expo booth at the packed Javits Center in New York City yesterday. Debra has narrated two of the books on our Autumn 2013 programme: The Little Red Hen, and The Barefoot Book of Jewish Tales. She spent a busy hour signing posters and meeting fans. Afterwards, we had a few minutes to speak to her about storytelling, motherhood, and Barefoot Books:
At Barefoot Books we believe that small is beautiful. From small, home-based beginnings twenty years ago, we have grown into an international, award-winning independent children’s book publisher. We are committed to cultural and economic diversity; and this is reflected in both our publishing program and in our business model. With this philosophy at the heart of our company, we have decided to end our relationship with Amazon.
Our newest independent reader series is based on stories from Greek mythology, retold by master storytellers Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden and illustrated by Carole Hénaff. The creative process to take text to vivid illustrations is a fascinating one. We are delighted to share an interview with Carole and an introduction by Editor-in-Chief Tessa Strickland.
April showers bring May flowers, and what better way to welcome a fresh bunch than with a simple and fun craft? These paper tulips are easy to make and look beautiful grouped in a bouquet or connected with string and hung from a window.
Homework. Swimming. Riding. Saxophone. Friends. Family time. Dinner. Homework. Bedtime Story. Sleep. Add in there a bit of laughter, play, riding bikes with siblings, and chores, and you have the makings of a very busy tween.
Does any of this sound familiar?
When I first got into publishing, I had some quite inaccurate ideas about what editors do. I was sure that being an editor meant always having your red pen in hand, reading manuscripts and cogitating about literature all day. I do read a lot of manuscripts and I am never far from a red pen. But making a Barefoot Books singalong song also includes a lot of tasks that red pens can’t help with, including:
I first read the story of Theseus and the Minotaur in an issue of the children’s weekly comic, ‘Look and Learn’. I must have been about eight years old. I was both fascinated and appalled by it – fascinated by the culture of ancient Crete and appalled by the behaviour of Theseus, who abandons Ariadne on the island of Naxos, having promised to take her back to Athens and make her his wife. I was also dismayed by Theseus’s carelessness: when he sets sail from Athens to Crete, determined to kill the minotaur, his father Aegus asks him to have the ship’s black sails changed for white ones if he succeeds in his quest. Theseus forgets, so when his father, anxiously looking out for him, sees a black-sailed ship returning, he throws himself off the cliffs in despair. In ‘Look and Learn’, this scene was dramatically illustrated, with the figure of Aegeus, who gave his name to the Aegean Sea, tumbling to his death as the ship approaches the harbour.
There are many animals on the farm in A Farmer’s Life for Me, like wooly sheep, clucking hens, a big pig with her piglets and beautiful grazing horses. In this craft you will make your own paper bag horse, inspired by the ones in the story! Be creative with the colours of the mane, add a kerchief to your horse’s neck for some fashionable flare or use a wrapping paper tube to make a homemade riding horse!
The Beeman has surpassed even our own expectations; we were thrilled in 2010 when the book was announced as the winner of The English Association’s Award for the Best Non-Fiction title for Children aged 4-7. So when we heard about Laurie Krebs and The Beeman being selected for New York State’s Agriculture in the Classroom’s Literacy Week, we couldn’t help but ‘bee’ excited. The program, made possible by a partnership among Cornell University, the NYS Education Department, and the New York Farm Bureau, seeks to foster in young students all over New York State an awareness, understanding of, and appreciation for the agricultural system in America.