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Going barefoot EVERYWHERE? How would THAT feel? Sounds like fun, but isn't it DANGEROUS? Join five friends in a beach town as they experience life without shoes in this delightful, rhyming picture book that promotes strength, adaptability and enhanced development - through the sense of touch! BONUS GIFT! Get your FREE,'I GO BAREFOOT' MUSICAL AUDIOBOOK, available to stream or download! Follow the included link or go to the official Barfooza website to sign up and listen!
Q&A with author/illustrator Koby Deane:
Q: Koby, what inspired you to create this book? A: Great question! I wanted to capture the fun and positive aspects of going barefoot. The text and pictures explore many different activities, environments and textures we can experience without shoes. Focusing on the sense of touch, usually associated with hands, I hope to inspire readers to get outside, connect with nature and enjoy living!
Q: Most people feel the need to keep feet covered and protected. What are the positive aspects of going barefoot? A: To be sure, some environments are hostile to bare feet; but how much would we miss out on if we wore gloves all the time, or if we didn't hug someone? Physical touch and sensory input connects us to others and the environment. Fashion, industry, safety and cultural norms put a lot of emphasis on footwear, however, many parents are recognizing the physical, mental, emotional and developmental benefits of allowing their children to go barefoot as much as possible.
Strengthened muscles, heightened awareness, enhanced development, adaptability, as well as cheerful dispositions are all positive aspects of barefooted living. Developed nations, far removed from the dangers and diseases of the third world, provide the most barefoot friendly environments on earth. I think we should take advantage of that whenever we can.
Q: The text of this book is a poem. Was that part of the original vision? A: As a musician and songwriter, it was a very natural process. Words and music go hand in hand, and I came up with rhymes that captured the essence of each scene. I have a friend who, as a child, had a learning challenge that made reading difficult. When her tutor creatively added rhyme and music, her word pattern recognition improved.
Q: And that led to the musical audiobook...
A: Yes, it's free to stream or download. People simply sign up to listen using the link given in the book or going to the Barfooza website. I'm super happy with how it turned out. It's a rap, and very singable.
Q: Is this a preschool book? A: No, not really, though very young ones will enjoy the full page illustrations while being read to by an adult. Emerging and more experienced readers' vocabulary will expand with words like stealth, shards, quench and lush. The pictures and visual narrative provide ample room for thoughtful discussion.
Q: What's your favorite part about going barefoot? A: Pretty much everything. I love the freedom of it!
Footnotes to Parents (well, isn't that appropriate!)
In contemporary education, barefoot schools really are "a thing". In their shoeless learning environment they experience improved academics and behaviors.
Sensory input through touch connects us to our environment, increasing our awareness of and sensitivity to it. Children love to play in the dirt, digging out rocks with bare fingers, collecting grass and sticks and building miniature forts with their gathered treasures. Water enriches the tactile experience. Skin contact with microbes in the soil stimulates serotonin production in the human body, making people happy and less stressed. Scientific studies report enhanced cognitive ability and better focus as well. With all that benefit, shouldn't our feet enjoy the same freedom as our hands and take part in the fun?
Going barefoot has its risks, just like driving in a car or cooking in a kitchen. Accidents may happen, but it's part of the adventure, and I believe we are better for pursuing it. -k.d.
About the Author
Koby Deane was born without shoes and has many years experience not wearing any.
His wife, son and dog watch him write and illustrate in the beautiful state of North Carolina, where both mountains and ocean beaches call out for adventure!
Koby makes his online home at Barfooza.com. You can connect with him there, or if the mood strikes you, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.