Stories Behind the Stories

  1. The true story behind Sheetal Sheth’s book ‘Making Happy’

    Community Booksellers standing with Barefoot CEO Nancy

    Sheetal Sheth is an award-winning actress, author, producer and activist. She focuses on traditionally marginalized communities in all of her work and is a fierce advocate for thoughtful representation. Her picture book Making Happy is based on her experience battling cancer as the parent of young children. We asked her to share the true story behind this hopeful and heartwarming book.

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  2. Meet our author Wafa' Tarnowska on her book tour

    Meet our award-winning author Wafa' Tarnowska!

    Next week, Nour’s Secret Library author Wafa’ Tarnowska will join us from the United Kingdom for her US book tour! We’re so excited to have such a talented and experienced author visiting some of our favorite independent bookstores and public libraries on this side of the pond. We hope that you can all come out, say hi and learn more about Nour’s Secret Library and Wafa’ herself.

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  3. The real-life blessing behind ‘Zahra’s Blessing: A Ramadan Story’

    Below is a guest blog post by Shirin Shamsi, author of Zahra's Blessing: A Ramadan Blessing. When she's not busy writing for children, Shirin spends her days sharing her love of Barefoot Books as an independent bookseller in her community. In this blog post, she shares the inspiration behind her exciting new picture book.

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  4. What it was like to illustrate ‘Barefoot Books Water’

    Barefoot Books Water is not your everyday children’s picture book. Blending fiction and nonfiction, this massive book bursts with facts and color to help young readers understand our planet’s most precious resources — and how they can protect it! Hear from multi-medium artist Mariona Cabassa on her journey illustrating Water, which involved a lot of watercolors mixed with wax pencils, crayons, ink, markers and gouache painting.

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  5. Spark children’s curiosity about the ancient Inka empire

    Below is a guest post by Mariana Llanos, author of Run, Little Chaski!: An Inka Trail Adventure, which is illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson. In this tale set in the ancient Inka (sometimes spelled Inca) empire, the King’s newest royal messenger stops to help several animals in need along the way. Learn more about this boldly illustrated picture book from the author herself.

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  6. Illustrating the favelas of Río de Janeiro in ‘From My Window’

    Since its publication in the spring of 2020, our picture book From My Window has received some serious critical acclaim! It earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was a Junior Library Guild Selection in 2020. This past year, From My Window was nominated for the Cybil Award. Written by Brazilian storyteller and theatrical producer Otávio Júnior, the story offers a first-hand view of what children growing up in the favelas of Río de Janeiro see everyday. We spoke to the illustrator Vanina Starkoff about the inspiration behind her vibrant artwork, which juxtaposes brick buildings with lush jungle plants.

    Note: Vanina’s answers have been translated from Spanish. Lee la entrevista en español.

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  7. How inclusiveness and belonging inspired my book ‘Whole Whale’

    Karen Yin, writer and founder of Conscious Style Guide, shares how inclusion and belonging inspired her picture book Whole Whale.

    “One hundred might fit in this tale, but can we fit a whole blue whale?”

    Big Problems require Big Solutions. In Whole Whale, one hundred animals gather in the pages of the book to play. But as the pages fill up with unusual creatures, it becomes impossible for the largest one to join the fun. How can everyone be included when there isn’t enough space?

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  8. How I illustrated the picture book ‘Whole Whale’

    Illustrator Nelleke Verhoeff shares how she thought up and created the wild illustrations for our animal-counting picture book Whole Whale.

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  9. What inspired us to write ‘Family Reunion’

    Below is an interview with Chad and Dad Richardson, authors of the new picture book Family Reunion, which is illustrated by the award-winning Ashleigh Corrin. Chad is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and a financial analyst who lives in Columbus, Ohio. Dad, otherwise known as Charles, is an Associate Professor of Management and Marketing at Sinclair Community College and lives in Liberty Township, Ohio. Family Reunion is their debut picture book.

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  10. Sneak peek: the personal story and inspiration behind JET THE CAT


    Our picture book Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat) comes out in May, 2021. Here’s a sneak peek into how this very special book was created!

    Plus, sign up below to stay informed on Jet the Cat news.

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