I first encountered the wonderful books of Barefoot Books in 1999 while looking for resources to use in teaching social studies. I wanted to integrate the history portion of the curriculum and its study of ancient China with the economics portion and its focus on trade. I found a terrific work entitled Stories From the Silk Road. I fell in love with the illustrations and felt the selection of stories was thoughtfully compiled. A few years later while searching for books for geography, I came across one book by Laurie Krebs, and then another, and another. I knew immediately that they were Barefoot Books, as the boldly colored illustrations were a dead giveaway. The Krebs titles I use in class include:
My collection of Barefoot Books expands every year as I continue to look for ways to diversify my collection, and they publish new outstanding titles. These books are always among the first I introduce to my students, and they are the ones I usually select as gifts for new teachers. Last year I bought the terrific counting book My Granny Went to Market: A Round the World Counting Rhyme and the lovely tale The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac.
The mission statement of Barefoot Books mirrors what I try to inspire my teachers to do with children in their classrooms. It is:
At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, inspiring them to read deeper, search further, and explore their own creative gifts. Taking our inspiration from many different cultures, we focus on themes that encourage independence of spirit, enthusiasm for learning, and sharing of the world’s diversity.From all I have seen, Barefoot Books easily meets this objective with every title they publish. If you haven't seen their catalog, run, don't walk to their web site and sign up for a catalog or review their products online. These are some of the most beautiful books on the market. They deserve a spot in your collection.
P.S. - These aren't just great books for the classroom, they're also great for home. William and I have been reading and listening to The Barefoot Book of Pirates. You will find a nice selection of books with CDs so that you can both read and listen to stories. We also love The Story Tree: Tales to Read Aloud (also with a CD) and the one we'll listen to tonight, Tales From Old Ireland.