A message from our CEO and Co-founder, Nancy Traversy

Just Like Brothers | Barefoot Books

When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game
But you don’t get a win unless you play in the game
Oh, you get love for it, you get hate for it
You get nothing if you
Wait for it, wait for it, wait
I’ve got to be in
The room where it happens
– by Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of “Hamilton”


Dear Barefoot Friend,

Last week, I discovered this story by my role model and friend, Abby Falik, who founded Global Citizen Year, an organization dedicated to building the next generation of global leaders.

I met Abby 7 years ago when my eldest daughter, Meaghan, enrolled in her bridge year program for students between high school and college. As an 18-year-old, Meaghan spent several months in Sebikotane, Senegal, a transformative experience that culminated in her building a library for the children in the village. Here is a video that captures her story.

Late last year, Abby attended the Obama Foundation Summit where President Obama reflected: “I’ve been in ‘the room where it happens’ and here’s the secret: no one in that room is inherently better equipped than you…You all are equally qualified to be in that room – you’ll get there if you can keep believing in yourself, the power of others and your ability to connect the two.”

We can all be “in the room where it happens”…

If the future is going to look different than the present, we need a generation of leaders with the curiosity, imagination, compassion and conviction to change things for the better. For more than 25 years, our mission at Barefoot has been to combine the best of the past, with the best of the present, to educate our children to be the caretakers of tomorrow.

Just as Abby Falik and the Global Citizen Year community are working hard to help equip high school students with empathy, insight and moral courage, at Barefoot we are helping to grow a generation of open-minded, curious and compassionate leaders through the power of story and connection.

Looking back

For a quarter of a century, we’ve worked hard to make sure that all children feel “seen” when they read our books.

From the publication of The Animal Boogie in our early days, with its cast of multi-ethnic and multi-abled children, to Baby’s First Words in 2017, featuring a multiracial family with 2 dads, our books have always validated a wide range of children by accurately and sensitively depicting characters who look and live like them.

In 2016 we introduced The Barefoot Book of Children, which was described by Caryl Stern, President and CEO of U.S. Fund for UNICEF, as a “a colorful and hopeful celebration of childhood” and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

Late last year, we launched our Mindful Kids activity deck at a time when the importance of mindfulness in our daily lives has become so much more than just a buzzword.

And in 2017 we were honored by Forbes as one of the 25 Best Small Companies in America who set “the standard for excellence in children’s books” and who “defied conventional wisdom with a publishing brand that parents and grandparents recognize, trust and buy.”

Looking ahead

As 2018 begins, I feel a renewed sense of purpose and passion for the work we are doing in the Barefoot community.

Today, as nationalism and xenophobia surge, it is more important than ever before that we raise our children to be open-minded, globally aware and compassionate citizens; and to be the next generation of empathetic leaders.

With new books in our 2018 collection, including Just Like Brothers, the heartwarming tale of a young boy and a wolf cub who question prejudice, and La Frontera: El viaje con papá / My Journey with Papa, an immigration story of a courageous journey to a new land, our commitment to opening children’s hearts and minds is stronger than ever before.

Since we began as a small, home-based business in 1992, we have put more than 20 million books into children’s hands. In 2017 alone, that number was 1 million books. Let’s make it our collective goal to double that to 2 million books in 2018.

We are “in the room where it happens”

In the words of my friend Abby Falik, “Organizations and ideas don’t move history, people do.” As President Obama says “you’ll get there if you can keep believing in yourself, the power of others and your ability to connect the two.”

As part of our community, you are in the “room where it happens”. If you believe in Barefoot’s mission, you have “skin in the game”. Each time you help to put a book into a child’s hands, you make a difference. You are educating and expanding young minds and helping to create our next generation of leaders.

Together, we’re driving a movement to open children’s hearts and minds through the power of stories.

And together, we are part of something more powerful than we can be on our own.

Let’s do this together.

Warm wishes,

Nancy Traversy | Barefoot Books

Nancy Traversy | Barefoot Book




Nancy Traversy
CEO and Co-Founder

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