Types of Literacy and Why You Should Care | Emotional and Cultural Literacy | Barefoot BooksWhen you hear the word “literacy” what comes to mind?

Most likely, books and the ability to read and write. This type of “book” literacy is hugely important, as we know, but as much as we want our children to be book literate and academically successful, we are also concerned about our children’s character development. What kind of people will they grow up to be? We want them to be caring and socially conscious citizens of the world: self-confident, curious and compassionate.

This is where two additional types of literacy come in: emotional literacy and cultural literacy. We’ve pulled together a list of books that will help you cultivate cultural literacy and a list of books that foster emotional literacy. Many of the books on these lists support both.

And, of course, reading these books with your kids will support “book” literacy as well!

Cultural Literacy and Books to Help

Research shows that children often draw incorrect conclusions about other cultures, and that it’s important for adults to gently correct such misconceptions and challenge stereotypes through open conversation. Sharing stories like these from around the world is a great way to start a conversation about diversity.

My Granny Went to Market (ages 3-7)
This rhyming story will take young readers on an adventure to different countries while teaching them to count along the way.
North America | Europe

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (ages 3-7)
Follow four children from different countries, each going through their early morning routine and getting ready for school. See the different ways of life in Europe, Africa, India and China.
North America | Europe

Off We Go To Mexico | Barefoot BooksOff We Go to Mexico (ages 4-10)
Trek to native villages and sing and dance to the music of Mariachi bands. Along the way, you can learn Spanish words and phrases and discover Mexican culture. (Also available in Spanish!)
North America | Europe

We’re Sailing Down the Nile (ages 4-10)
Set sail along the mighty Nile River. The rhyming story is followed by eleven pages full of educational information about ancient Egypt, gods and goddesses, a helpful map, and much more.
North America | Europe

We All Went on Safari (ages 4-10)
Set out on a counting journey through the grasslands of Tanzania. The lively, rhyming text is accompanied by an illustrated guide to counting in Swahili, a map, notes about animals, and interesting facts about Tanzania and the Maasai people. (Spanish and French formats available!)
North America | Europe

The Barefoot Book of Jewish Tales (ages 7+)
This engaging collection includes eight delightful tales from the Jewish tradition. Each story has been chosen for its appeal to families and each has a simple — yet powerful — message.
North America | Europe

The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales (ages 6+)
Explore numerous tales from the folk traditions of countries including India, China, Japan and Tibet. This is a collection of enthralling stories illustrates various important aspects of Buddhist thought.
North America | Europe

The Great Race (ages 4-9)
Race with the animals of the Zodiac as they compete to have the years of the Chinese calendar named after them. The excitement-filled story is followed by notes on the Chinese calendar, important Chinese holidays, and a chart outlining the animal signs based on birth years.
North America | Europe

Lin Yi's Lantern | Barefoot BooksLin Yi’s Lantern (ages 5-9)
This heartwarming story shows the rewards of putting others first, and includes educational notes at the end about the Chinese moon festival, life in rural China, and the legend of the moon fairy.
North America | Europe

Mama Panya’s Pancakes (ages 4-10)
On market day, Mama Panya’s son Adika invites everyone he sees to a pancake dinner. How will Mama Panya ever feed them all? This clever and heartwarming story about Kenyan village life teaches the importance of sharing, even when you have little to give.
North America | Europe

Barefoot Books World Atlas (all ages)
This is the atlas for twenty-first-century readers. It’s packed with information about the way in which communities and cultures around the world have been shaped by their local environments, and it looks at the ideas and initiatives that are shaping the future.
North America | Europe

The Barefoot World Atlas app for iPad is also available.

Emotional Literacy and Books to Help

Through books and thoughtful discussions, we can help children feel confident in their unique identities, identify and express their feelings, and develop empathy towards others. Like reading, math or science, emotional literacy can be taught, but it’s not a quick and easy process. This area needs to be addressed regularly, like any other academic area we care about.

Ruby’s Baby Brother (ages 3-7)
Ruby’s mom is having a baby, but Ruby is not very happy about it. When baby
Leon comes along, will she change her mind about having a baby brother? (Available in Spanish!)
North America | Europe

Ruby's Sleepover | Barefoot BooksRuby’s Sleepover (ages 3-7)
Ruby and Mai are camping out in the backyard. As the night draws in, all sorts of scary characters head towards their tent. Luckily, Ruby has some magical objects in her backpack, but will they be enough to keep the girls safe and fight their fears?
North America | Europe

Emily’s Tiger (ages 3-7)
This little girl has a problem with her temper, and every time she gets angry she turns into quite the little tiger. This quirky picture book addresses behavioral issues with humor and an emphasis on intergenerational relationships.
North America | Europe

Herb the Vegetarian Dragon (ages 4-10)
Herb is captured by the castle’s knights in armor. Treacherous Meathook and his dragon cronies will only help if Herb, a vegetarian, agrees to eat meat. Will he give in to their blackmail and bullying?
North America | Europe

The Boy Who Grew Flowers (ages 4-10)
Climb to the top of Lonesome Mountain to meet a very special boy named Rink — every full moon, he grows flowers all over his body. This heartwarming story celebrates difference and friendship, as Rink meets a girl with her own secret, and they discover ways to help each other.
North America | Europe

Chandra’s Magic Light (ages 6-10)
A heartwarming story set in Nepal of two resourceful sisters who bring the safety of solar-powered light to their family. This story provides an introduction to Nepali village culture, environmental science and feminism.
North America | Europe

The Girl with the Brave Heart | Barefoot BooksThe Girl with a Brave Heart (ages 4-10)
Shiraz, a kindhearted young girl growing up in Tehran, has a miserable life at home with her stepmother and stepsister, who treat her like a servant. When the wind blows Shiraz’s ball of wool into the garden next door, she spends the day helping and caring for the old lady who lives there, with miraculous results.
North America | Europe

Lola’s Fandango (ages 4-10)
Lola is a young Spanish girl in awe of her glamorous older sister. However, she discovers her own talent and duende, or spirit, through secret fandango lessons from her father. The text is infused with the rhythms, movements and sounds of the dance.
North America | Europe


Chandra’s Magic Light Brightens Real World Nepal: After the earthquake in central Nepal, one passionate Barefoot Books Ambassador used Chandra's Magic Light to help those affected.

“The book is a vehicle by which we can help people across the world.”

Chandra’s Magic Light is a beautiful and inspirational read that relays an important message to children of all ages. Set in Nepal, this heartwarming book tells the tale of two resourceful sisters who bring the safety of solar-powered light to their family’s home. The book includes useful facts about Nepal and instructions for a great DIY project: making an easy solar-powered oven!

Chandra's Magic Light from Barefoot Books: A Story from Nepal

After the devastating earthquake in central Nepal, one passionate Barefoot Books Ambassador sought to capitalize on her influence to help those affected by the disaster. With many homes lost along with the use of electricity, Chandra’s Magic Light is perhaps more relevant than ever before and Ambassador Heather Lynn Barton Ziegler immediately made the connection.

The Story

When the earthquake first hit in April, Heather was shocked along with the rest of the world at the widespread damages. A good friend of Heather’s had lived and worked as a peacekeeping ambassador in Nepal and thus the horror struck even closer to home.

An Ambassador since 2009, Heather is used to the driven, interconnected and passionate environment that Barefoot cultivates. Always looking for a way to connect current events to our books, she decided to read Chandra’s Magic Light (Europe / North America) to her daughter after the tragedy occurred. Immediately upon reading it, light bulbs (or solar-powered lights) began flashing in her mind! She jumped into action and brainstormed on how she could help those in need in Nepal by using Chandra’s Magic Light as a connection between the two cultures.

Nepal LuminAid

Heather recalled hearing about LuminAid, a company founded by two young women in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Upon visiting the LuminAid website, she discovered that they already had a system in place to send durable, waterproof, solar-powered lights to Nepal. Heather calculated that with her Ambassador discount, the price of one copy of Chandra’s Magic Light was equal to the price of donating one light to the Nepali Children’s Education Project (NCEP) through LuminAid. Thus Heather’s campaign to bring light to the children of Nepal began.
“The amazing synchronicity of Chandra’s Magic Light, LuminAid and the people of Nepal — it all just came together.” stated Heather in an interview. Chandra’s Magic Light illustrates how two sisters, through their own determination and entrepreneurial spirit, secured a solar light. Heather’s fundraiser has been following much of the same path. The legacy of women working together, either in books or out in the real world, is certainly a staple of this fundraiser’s success.

Under the hashtags #dispeldarkness and #givelight, Heather has been spreading word of her fundraiser and is on track to reach her goal of 100 LuminAid lights sent to the NCEP by the end of June. Heather’s campaign has been widely successful and the NCEP themselves even reached out over Facebook to express their gratitude! If you’d like to help support Heather, please check out her Facebook page: HLBZ Barefoot Books.


Ignite Your Child's Love of Reading: Summer Reading and Literacy Tips from Barefoot Books Hello Parents!

I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips for helping your child fall in love with reading. You might be pleased to discover you are doing many of these things already! And if you’re not? They are easy to implement. Here goes:

1. Let your child see you reading books for pleasure

When is the last time your child saw you reading a book for pleasure? I’m talking about an actual BOOK, not your iphone, a tablet or e-reader. Ultimately children will learn more from what you actually do than what you tell them to do, and so if you want them to read for pleasure, it’s important to model this for them.

2. Create pleasurable read aloud routines

This is probably the most important thing you can do to help your child create positive associations with reading! Keep in mind that reading doesn’t need to just happen at bedtime. Consider reading aloud during dinner or bath time. Reading together not only shows children that reading is fun and valuable, but it also serves to strengthen your bond.

3. Keep a wide selection of books accessible in your home

Research shows to access to a variety of books is an important factor when it comes to keeping kids’ minds sharp over the summer. Wondering how to expand your collection so that it includes various genres? Our printable Treasure Map (North America / Europe) is a fun way to make sure you have variety in your home library. As you acquire new books, help your child learn to take good care of them.

4. Allow children to select the books they read

Children become more interested in reading when they are encouraged to select the books they read. Creating a bookshelf at baby’s level and encouraging her to pick her own stories is a great way to raise a reader for life. Some parents forgo the shelves for a basket since babies tend to want to pull every book off a shelf! Either way, storing books where little hands can reach them is a great way to spark interest in reading.

5. Schedule “quiet reading time” each day

This is a tip straight from the preschool classroom! Teach children at an early age that looking at books quietly for a small period of time every day is part of their daily home routine. Not only is it great for their literacy development, but it will also save your sanity. This is especially great for transition times when you need to keep kids occupied. For instance, you can keep a basket of books in the kitchen so that your child can have “quiet reading time” as you prepare dinner.

How do you instill a love for reading in your child? Share your tips below!

Stefanie GrossmanMore soon,

Stefanie Grossman, M.S.Ed.
Global Program Director, Barefoot Books

 

Reminder: Upload photos of you and your child reading throughout the summer with #BarefootSummerReading for a chance to win books and products from Barefoot Books. You can also connect with Barefoot Books on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for additional insights, promotions and behind-the-scenes information on our books.

Were you forwarded this information or did you find it online? Sign up here to get all 12 weeks of Summer Reading emails.


In and out. Whisper and shout. Learning opposites is what we’re all about!

About the Book

New release Outdoor Opposites (North America | Europe) is great book for any early learner. With beautiful images and easy-to-read text, this book is a must for your bookshelf.

Grab your backpack and head into the countryside for a camping adventure full of contrasts! Little ones love to try out the opposite actions as they sing and dance along. Enhanced CD includes audio singalong and video animation. Watch as this book comes to life and join the cheerful characters in dancing to opposites with our new YouTube video.

Notables to Notice from Senior Editor, Kate DePalma:

  • Diversity – The featured children in Outdoor Opposites represent different races, genders and abilities.
  • Outdoor Play - From apple picking to camping by a fireside, kids are pictured in active play, enjoying and embracing the outdoors.
  • Seek and Find – Kids will love looking for the adorable fox on every page of this book.

Reviews of Outdoor Opposites:

  • “This book is a welcome departure from standard fare about opposites that only shows opposing words. Instead, this one offers space for conversation on similarities and differences among individual interests.” — School Library Journal
  • “Oldfield’s use of bright and sunny colors complements the multiethnic cast, drawing in the most diverse of readers…An ebullient book with catchy, rhyming text that’s fun to read again and again at home, in the classroom or under a tree.” — Kirkus Reviews

Love the illustrations by Rachel Oldfield? You’ll also love her illustrated work Up, Up, Up! from Barefoot Books. (North AmericaEurope)

Grab both beautiful works for your collection today!


Celebrate Earth Day 2015 with us – and your children – on April 22nd!

We only get one planet and it’s important to us that we treat Earth with the respect and care it deserves. We practice environmentally and socially conscious business and printing practices to personally reduce our footprint on the environment and we’ve found that practicing sustainability as a company promotes practicing sustainability individually.

The same can be true for your family! We create books that promote a culture of sustainability, green living, and a consciousness of our impact on the environment. It’s important to teach kids how they can help the planet – and these books can help. Here are our suggestions for some of our top books to share with your little ones on this important day:

Whole World

This book, accompanied by a sing along CD, reimagines the classic children’s song “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and contextualizes it for a modern, global audience. After reading this book, your children will feel inspired knowing that all people from all walks of life across the globe care for the environment together. We believe that it’s important to show that all cultures and people are equally invested in protecting the environment. (Buy: North America / Europe)

What’s This? A Seed’s Story

What’s more poignant than a young girl stumbling upon a seed, helping it grow throughout all of spring, and then sharing the seeds with her classmates so they can all plant sunflowers together the following spring? What’s This? will teach the values of patience and generosity just in time for children to start planting their own flowers! (Buy: North America / Europe)

The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales

To inspire children to care about the environment, it’s incredibly important to introduce them to Earth as a friend. As with any friendships, telling stories is how friendships grow. Earth Tales introduces children to many different myths and legends surrounding the creation of Earth and why things are the way they are. From Wales to Kazakhstan, many cultures are featured in this wonderful anthology of stories.
(Buy: North America / Europe)

Want to take your education a bit further? Consider doing one of these activities afterwards:

1. Skip the drive and instead walk to school, the grocery store, or the park

2. Have your child identify the recycling symbol on containers in your home and make a game out of putting them in your recycling bin

3. Plant a seed and watch as it grows – soon you’ll be able to plant it in the ground outside

4. Make signs to remind family members to turn off lights or the faucet when not in use

No matter how you choose to celebrate, teaching kids about Earth Day will be fun, educational, and a chance to make an impact on our planet. Show us how you are celebrating! Share your photos with us on our Barefoot Books Facebook page!


2 April, 2015 is International Children’s Book Day! Usually around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, International Children’s Book Day celebrates children’s books to inspire a love of reading and also to call attention to the power of children’s storytelling. It’s no surprise that Hans Christian Andersen, the author of many fairy tales that’ve been adapted and transformed into modern children’s stories, gets the spotlight on this day.

Fairy tales have always had a special place in children’s literature. As critically acclaimed author Neil Gaiman said, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” These stories—whether it’s Cinderella or Hansel and Gretel—tell children that it’s okay to be who they are and that, in the end, everything will be okay. These stories have the unique ability to deeply inspire those who read them, which is why they’ve been adapted countless times as books, plays, and movies. Their messages are timeless and are always relevant when introduced to the next generation of children.

Barefoot is so dedicated to this that we have an entire book of fairy tales collected in The Barefoot Book of Fairy Tales (NA/EU). We believe in the power of sharing fairy tales from all across the world to introduce our young readers to other cultures and experiences. We’ve collected tales from Germany, France, Ukraine, China, and more to highlight the most poignant stories we could find.

Share Your Favorite Fairy Tale

We want to share this International Children’s Book Day with you! Tell us what your favorite fairy tale is by commenting on this post or tweeting @BarefootBooks with the hashtag #MyFairyTale.

Help Us Spread The Word

If you’re celebrating the day with a child, be sure to share our International Children’s Book Day pledge! You can find the image here.


After a long, cold winter, I’m ready to curl up with some summery reading. I’m sure you are too! So I’m very pleased to introduce you to our latest title for the season, Daddy Island (US|UK).

Daddy Island, originally published by Barefoot Books in 2001, is back in a gorgeous paperback edition due to popular demand from our community. The text invites young ones to pretend their daddy is an island, while they imagine themselves to be a noisy storm, a tall tree, the quiet sand and more. This book is more than a story to share together — it’s an invitation for physical play between parent and child. Children love to pretend to be a crab scuttling across the sand or a bird soaring high above Daddy Island. My family really loves enjoying it all together — I read the text while my husband and daughter act out each scene together. 

 

South African illustrator Niki Daly brings his signature dreamy style to the watercolor-and-ink artwork. The result is a picture book that is full of movement, life and heart. 

 

With a beautiful matte finish and sturdy flaps, this paperback edition makes a handsome gift. It’s just right for enjoying together as the days grow warmer and longer — perfect for bringing along to the shore. 

 

If you’re looking for more books about fathers, you’ll enjoy the grocery store hijinks in Shopping with Dad (US|UK). For more fun family reading, check out My Big Barefoot Book of Words (US|UK). 

We hope you love this beautiful new edition of Daddy Island (US|UK)! Pick up your copy today.

Spring is upon us! What a perfect season to welcome our latest picture book, Millie’s Chickens (US|UK), into the flock!

The Beeman (US|UK) by Laurie Krebs and Valeria Cis has long been a springtime favorite here at Barefoot, with its engaging combination of lyrical text with in-depth information about beekeeping. So when we started seeing articles a few years ago about the growing popularity of backyard chicken raising, we knew we had the perfect topic for a companion to The Beeman. What could be more Barefoot than following food from the farm (or in this case, the backyard) to the table?

 

We approached Brenda Williams, author of Lin Yi’s Lantern (US|UK) and The Real Princess (US|UK), who dreamed up a young girl called Millie and the brood of chickens she cares for in her backyard in the suburbs. We love how the story emphasizes personal responsibility by showing Millie’s hard work and the rewards she reaps as a result.

 

 

We teamed up with The Beeman‘s Valeria Cis for the illustrations. Her quirky acrylic illustrations are just right for inviting a reader into the story. She did a fantastic job capturing the three chicken breeds we meet in the text and their sweet relationship with Millie. Barefoot super fans might remember this illustration from the beginning of the development of Millie’s Chickens — Valeria created a few different Millies for us to choose from, which we in turn shared with our community for feedback. That’s how Millie became a ginger! 

Budding scientists and animal lovers will especially enjoy the seven pages of facts about chickens and eggs at the end of the book. You can read about chicken breeds, chicken anatomy, and even find recipes for four different egg dishes! 

 

Be sure to pick up your copy of Millie’s Chickens (US|UK) today!

Now that the season has concluded both in the UK and in the US, are you already dreading Sunday nights without Downton Abbey? Then we have the perfect books for you to enjoy until the next season begins – and they’re perfect for reading with the kids!

Both The Prince’s Bedtime and The Prince’s Breakfast follow a young price who just loves saying no, whether it’s to heading to bed or eating a healthy breakfast. Every parent can relate to the endless ways the king and queen try to get the prince to behave!

But what does this have to do with Downton Abbey? Well, these humorous tales don’t just live on the page; they also spring to life on audio CDs narrated by Lord Grantham himself, Hugh Bonneville! Hugh’s melodious voice adds even more joy and humor to these tales, and having Lord Grantham lull you and your family to sleep is the perfect way to end the weekend.

Pick up these titles today! US / UK

 


February 19 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the first day of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. But what exactly is the holiday for, and why is this the year of the sheep? Here are a few fun facts to share with your family about this ancient holiday!

  • Year of the Sheep: Each year of the calendar is represented by one of twelve animals who are said to have participated in an ancient race. 2015 is the year of the sheep, and babies born under the sign of the sheep are said to be calm, creative, persevering and honest.
  • Weeks of Celebrating: The celebrations for the Chinese New Year can last up to fifteen days, with different festivals, foods and moments of remembrance on each day. While some communities now celebrate the holiday in a shorter period of time, many still maintain the traditional calendar.
  • Delicious Food: Festive meals and foods are a big part of celebrating the Chinese New Year, and anyone celebrating will eat very well over the fifteen days! One such festival meal is a reunion dinner, Nian Ye Fan, where family members gather to celebrate the new year together. A traditionally large dinner, there are typically oodles of meat dishes, seafood, and a communal hot pot!
  • Fire Displays: Festivities are often marked with fireworks displays and the setting off of red-wrapped firecrackers. The burning of firecrackers signifies a happy and joyous time of year, and the booming sound is a welcome one at celebrations.

How will you celebrate this year?!

To learn more about the Chinese New Year, pick up a copy of The Great Race today (US / UK).