Monday, November 18, 2013

Cleo the Cat is Back!

Come Here, Cleo! was one of the first books from Barefoot that we read, and my daughter and I were instantly in love...Cleo is such a sweet and gentle cat...she's curious and goes on adventures, but everything turns out fine in the end!

Every Cleo book starts out the same...Cleo wakes, Cleo winks, Cleo yawns, Cleo blinks...

...then after the familiar opening, Cleo is off on a different adventure in each book!

Cleo the Cat is our first introduction to Cleo...she sets off on a walk one morning to find herself a home, and meets a little boy who offers her a bowl of milk and a warm lap.

Next comes Come Here, Cleo!  In this one, Cleo explores the garden and finds that it is full of surprises.  As Cleo explores, little ones will learn action verbs such as climb, jump, slip, hop, roll, and bounce.

In Cleo and Caspar, Cleo isn't too sure about the new puppy in the house and takes some time to decide if she will be friends with him.  This is a great book for teaching young children how to make new friends or even how to welcome a new sibling into the house!

Once Caspar settles into the family, they all enjoy some winter fun in Cleo in the Snow.

And finally, Cleo and Caspar and the boy embark upon a grand adventure in Cleo on the Move - moving to a new house!

Caroline Mockford's bright illustrations are perfect for keeping little ones interested, and the stories are simple enough for children to follow and relate to.

Each of the Cleo books is available for just $6.99 in either board book format or paperback.  The sturdy board books are great for younger children and will last forever; paperbacks are nice for kids who are starting to learn how to read - the story is simple enough for them to master and build confidence while the paperback format won't make them feel like they are reading a book for babies.

And right now, you can purchase all 5 of the Cleo books for the very special price of just $29.99 (regularly $34.95).  The Curious Cleo Gift Set is just one of the Dazzling Gift Sets available from Barefoot during the holiday season!

We're so glad Cleo is back!

PS - if you are ordering for the holidays, check out the handy Barefoot holiday shipping guide!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Get on the Back-to-School Bus

Last week I returned to my volunteer gig with the very youngest kids in after-school care at my daughter's school.  I'll be going in every other week through the school year to read a book or two and supervise a craft activity with a group of about 18 four- and five-year-olds.

For our first session, I wanted to do something on a back-to-school theme and immediately thought of the perfect book...

written by Kathryn White
illustrated by one of my favorite Barefoot illustrators, Miriam Latimer

Most of the kids in the group I am working with are going to school for the very first time, so I knew brave and strong Ruby would be an inspiration to them!

But what craft should we do to go along with this back-to-school theme?  The only thing I could think of was this cute school bus craft, but Ruby walks to school...that's when I knew exactly which other book I should read for this session:

Written by Sheena Roberts
Illustrated by Siobhan Bell
CD sung by Fred Penner

This book has great repetition and rhythm as different modes of transportation all make their way to the schoolhouse, and the kids really got into singing the refrain on each page with me.

We all go traveling by, BYE-BYE
We all go traveling by!

After we read both books, it was time to make our school bus craft.

The bus is made from two sized of craft sticks - four the size of popsicle sticks and four the size of tongue depressors.  Since I try to avoid paint or anything else too messy for these sessions, to minimize clean-up time for the teachers, I got craft sticks that were already colored yellow; you could add painting the sticks to your craft time if you are so inclined.

The wheels and the two stripes on the bus are cut from black foam sheets; you could also use construction paper, but I thought the texture of the foam sheets worked well here. 

I had the kids glue the four smaller sticks to the top stick first, then turn the whole thing over and glue it down to the blue construction paper.  If I do this craft again, I would spend the extra prep time to draw four lines on each piece of construction paper for them to glue the smaller sticks to. 

The kids went a little crazy with the glue sticks, but for the most part their school buses were dry when their parents came to pick them up from the after-school program. 

When we finished our school buses and were waiting for parents to come, we read Ruby's School Walk once more; this time I showed the kids the dragonfly that follows Ruby everywhere and asked them to find it on every page.  A perfect ending to a fun craft time!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Apple picks Barefoot World Atlas as one of the top 10 best apps ever!

Have you heard the news? Apple is giving away its top TEN apps for free to celebrate 5 years of the app store, and the Barefoot World Atlas app has been chosen as one of the top ten!

Read more about how amazing the World Atlas app really is, then head over to the app store to download your very own copy for free!  But hurry - free apps are only available until July 14th!

To celebrate this fantastic news, Barefoot is offering a 25% discount on the World Atlas as well as many other Travel the World books, CDs, puzzles, and games - see the complete selection here and enter the code APPLE at checkout to receive your 25% discount.

If your family can't travel the world this summer in person, do it via books - the Barefoot way!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Reading Camp Week One: Bugs!

Want to organize reading activities for your kids this summer?  Take a look at this great Do-It-Yourself Summer Reading Camp from - 10 weeks of thematic reading fun, created in cooperation with PBS Kids.

Your theme for Week 1 of Summer Reading Camp is Bugs! gives you bug crafts, adding and subtracting with math bugs, writing activities, bug phonics, bug board games, bug observation charts, bug patterns, and a backyard bug hunt...everything you need to spend a full week exploring bugs and reading!

Need some bug-related books?  Barefoot Books has just what you are looking for...

Creepy Crawly Calypso - Jump and jive from one to ten with a boisterous band of bugs in this selection that introduces creepy crawlies and calypso instruments. After the rhyming story, there are fascinating facts about the insects and calypso bands, as well as a simple music score.

The Beeman - (I had to Google it to be sure, but yes - bees are bugs!) Told from the viewpoint of a child whose Grandpa is a beekeeper, this rhyming text offers an accessible and engaging introduction to the behavior of bees, including: where they live, how honey is made, and what a beekeeper does. Children will love learning about the vital role of bees in the ecosystem, and will be delighted to find a delicious muffin recipe on the final page!

The Barefoot Book of Knights - okay, so this one is a little bit of a stretch, but it does include a story from Japan about an army of samurai bees!

Did you know that Miriam Latimer includes a little creature who always appears with the main character of the books she illustrates?  It's a secret seek-and-find...and most of the little critters are bugs!  Go on your on reading bug hunt in these books:

(find the grasshopper)

(find the dragonfly)

(find the ladybug)

Happy (bug) hunting!

If you are in the Greater Boston area and want some of these books ASAP, contact me to see if I have what you are looking for in my current inventory:

Liz Hughes
Barefoot Books Ambassador
Sales Leader


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Barefoot Books Ambassadors go to France!

Last weekend, eight of the top Barefoot Books Ambassadors in the world - four from North America (including my team leader, Laurie) and four from Europe - went on an amazing tip to France that they won for their performance as Ambassadors during the 4th quarter of 2012 (October, November, December).  The trip to France is often one of the top prizes in our yearly 4th quarter challenge, and it's one of the most special and unique perks of being a Barefoot Books Ambassador.  Laurie took some gorgeous photographs while she was there, and I wanted to share them with'll have to head over to Flickr to see them all, but I promise they are worth it!

Scenes Around Le Tupe - Le Tupe' is the private vacation home of Barefoot Books founder, Nancy Traversy, and her husband Marty.  The home is located in a teeny town "Noilan" in southwest France.  To put it mildly - it's out of this world.

Day Trip to Toulouse - Toulouse is the city closest to their home.  Also known as "The Rose City", a shopping and touring excursion to Toulouse is always on the agenda.

Trip to Carcassonne - Carcassonne is a beautifully preserved medieval city complete with castle and cathedral.  Being there is seriously like stepping back into time onto the pages of a fairy tale - perfect for those of us whose stock-in-trade is beautiful story books!

Color Me Barefoot - The world of Barefoot Books is a colorful one. Step inside any of our books and it's an obvious and clear distinction.  Our brand of "color" however, is so much more than ink on a page. The colors are who we are, what we love, how we experience, how we celebrate, how we live, how we connect, how we learn.  Spend time with us, meet our founders, explore what we do, what we seek, what we share, what we love and celebrate and you see that the "Color of Barefoot" is not only how we live, it's magic. Color is expression. Color is vibrance, it's exploration, it's celebration. Color is essential. Color can reach deep inside you. Color can speak to you and rest assured it can transform your soul.

Nancy Traversy, Chief Executive Officer of Barefoot Books, who graciously opened her home in France for this trip.

 Nancy with Tessa Strickland, Editor-in-Chief of Barefoot Books.  Nancy and Tessa founded Barefoot Books together 20 years ago, and are still going strong today!

Want to be in the running next time this trip to France is offered as the grand prize for Ambassadors?  Find out how you can start your own Barefoot Books business and then let me help you get off to a great start!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Singalongs - Buy 2 get 1 Free!

Singalong books are among Barefoot's best-selling titles, and now is a great time to add a few more to your child's bookshelf!  Through Sunday May 5th, buy 2 paperback singalongs with enhanced CD and get a third one free when you use the code SINGALONG at checkout!  Here are some of our favorites...

The Shape Song Swingalong - find out what you can make with a line, a circle, a square, and a triangle in this super-catchy song by popular children's singer SteveSongs.

Driving My Tractor - follow the farmer as he chugs along on his tractor during a VERY busy day!  Learn counting, animals on the farm, and even more when you explore the end notes.  Another catchy tune from SteveSongs!

If You're Happy and You Know It! - in this traditional song with an updated multicultural twist, you can clap your hands, stomp your feet, wiggle your hips, and pat your head along with kids from all over the world!

The Animal Boogie - Down in the Indian jungle, the children and the animals are leaping, stomping, shaking, flapping - so much fun!

Port Side Pirates - go to sea with a lively band of buccaneers in this rollicking singalong book!  I promise you will be singing along with your kids by the end!  This one also has fantastic end notes about pirates and pirate ships.

There are plenty more fun singalong books included in this special offer - you can see them all here.  All of the singalong books are appropriate for ages four and up, and a set of three would make a fabulous end-of-year gift for your child's teacher as well!

If you are a local customer in the Greater Boston area, you can save on shipping and/or receive your three-for-the-price-of-one singalongs faster - just let me know which books you are interested in and I will deliver them right to you!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who's in the Garden Collages

This week's after-school storytime craft activity was inspired by my friend and fellow Barefoot Books Ambassador Sheila, who wrote about this amazing craft activity she did with some kids at a local art studio in her town last month.  I've been wanting to put my own spin on this project ever since I read Sheila's post, and yesterday I finally had the chance!

This craft is based on the fun illustrations by Jill McDonald in two books, Who's in the Garden? and Over in the Meadow.

Who's in the Garden is a cute peek-a-boo large board book for toddlers, all about the little creatures who are coming to visit the garden...rabbits, frogs, birds, bees, moles...

Who's coming to see how my garden grows?
Rabbits hop, hop, hopping between the rows.

Over in the Meadow is a singalong book based on a traditional English song, about the creatures you find in a meadow - bumpy toads and woolly sheep and spiky muskrats and more - it's great for counting as well as for learning about different animals.

Over in the meadow in a hole in a tree,
Lived a smooth mother robin
And her little robins three.
"Sing!" said the mother;
"We sing!" said the three.
So they sang and they chirped
In a hole in the tree.

After I read both books to the kids, I invited them to look more closely at the illustrations...I told them that the same person did the pictures in both books, and pointed out how the illustrations were created using layers of cloth and things like buttons and yarn.

Then we got busy making our own garden collages!  I played the CD from Over in the Meadow while we were gluing...

The original craft involved painting first and then gluing the shapes down on another piece of paper, but as I've mentioned before, I try to minimize the clean-up time for the after-school teachers.  So, instead of painted paper, I cut shapes out of some scrap-booking card stock in pretty colors and designs.

These kids are only four and five years old, so I cut out all the shapes for them.  For older kids, I might just show them an example of a garden collage and then let them decide what types of shapes they wanted to cut out.  Next time I do this, I might also try to cut out some shapes that the kids can use to make butterflies and bees and maybe some other creatures.  The possibilities are endless!

Here's another spin on this same idea - I helped Elfe create this garden collage that we are going to send to her grandfather (my father), who is recovering from open-heart surgery last week.  We thought a colorful and cheerful garden would make him smile and help him recover faster.

Have fun making your own garden or meadow collages, and let me know how they turn out!