Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giveaway: The Barefoot Book of Dance Stories

Congratulations to Connie Walsh Brown, who won a copy of this book! Although my giveaway is closed to new entries, I hope you will still enjoy the post.

Welcome to a very special week of "dance stories" here at Picture Books & Pirouettes. Today, and for the rest of the week, I'll be featuring The Barefoot Book of Dance Stories. Thanks to publisher Barefoot Books, I'll also be holding my first giveaway (rules at the end of this post). By this time next week, you could be the lucky winner of this new collection of dance stories from around the world!

To keep the festivities going, on Wednesday I'll be blogging about the companion to Dance Stories (The Barefoot Book of Ballet Stories), which was published back in 2004. And on Friday, I'll be hosting an email interview with the one-and-only Jane Yolen and her talented daughter Heidi Stemple, who worked together to write both books. I am so excited and hope you will join in the fun all week!

A Melting Pot of Nonfiction and Folk
The Barefoot Book of Dance Stories is a collection of eight delightful folktales from eight cultures. Ranging from humorous and lighthearted to a bit more serious, each story has a unique plot and elicits a different emotion from readers. What holds the stories together is the common theme of dance that runs through them.

In one well-known tale from Germany, twelve princesses dance so much that they wear holes in the soles of their shoes. In a tale from Japan, the beauty of a sky maiden's dance bring tears to the eyes of a fisherman. And in another tale, from the Czech Republic, a young peasant girl forgets all of her responsibilities as she dances hand-in-hand with a fairy in the birch woods. Here is a list of all eight stories (and the cultures/dances from which they are derived):

  • "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (Germany/Waltz) 
  • "Robe of Feathers" (Japan/Noh Dancing) 
  • "Making the Stone Smoke" (West Indies/Limbo) 
  • "The Shepherd's Flute" (Spain/Flamenco) 
  • "Dancing with the Birch Fairy" (Czech Republic/Polka) 
  • "When the Goddess Danced" (Egypt/Belly Dancing) 
  • "Tam O'Shanter" (Scotland/Scottish Reels) 
  • "The Little Bird Who Went Dancing" (Mali/Malian Dance)

The front matter includes an introduction to each folktale and a brief history of dance from the culture in which the story is set. The back matter contains more specific information about each dance, including a general description, notes on costumes, and even instructions on learning the dance in most cases. The book also comes with a CD, narrated by British actress Juliet Stevenson, in case you prefer to sit back and have the stories read to you as you enjoy the beautiful illustrations by Helen Cann.

Because of its length and the content of its stories, the book is being marketed for children ages 8 and up. However, I must mention that the "up" represents a number at least as high as a preschooler can count. The book is quite magical even for an older child of the world like me.

My Favorite Dance Story
Of all the stories in the book, the one from Mali resonates with me the most. It's a charming tale of a girl, a boy who loves her "as long as the Niger River flows," and how dance eventually brings the two of them together. As with all the stories in the book, I love how large the illustrations are, how much color and vibrancy they bring to the pages, and how effortlessly they are woven throughout the text. Plus, this story reminds me a little of how my husband and I ended up together. I just loved it so much that he could shake those hips out on the dance floor. But I digress...

The Dogon people of Mali (an ethnic group who live south of the Niger River, which flows through West Africa) are known for their mask dances. According to the back matter of Dance Stories, there are more than 80 varieties of masks, which are generally sculpted out of wood. I actually visited Mali several years ago, and I bought a couple of masks at a market there. My three-year-old and five-year-old are modeling them in this photo. I think the masks are Dogon, but I can't be sure.

A Promotion from Barefoot Books
Before I provide the rules for my giveaway, I want to tell you about a new promotion from the book's publisher. Starting today (and running through December), you can visit Barefoot Books on Facebook, share a video or photo of your own little dancer, and enter to win a copy of the book. (A winner will be chosen by random.) Please contact with any questions. 

Rules for My Giveaway
To be entered into my giveaway of The Barefoot Book of Dance Stories, leave a comment on this post or on my upcoming Wednesday post or Friday post. If you leave comments on multiple posts, you will be entered multiple times. However, if you leave more than one comment on a single post, only the first comment will be considered. Next Monday, November 22nd, I will use to generate a winner and will announce the winner in a new post (and in the comments of my posts this week). Good luck!

The Nonfiction Monday round-up is being held at In Need of Chocolate this week. You can find more posts about nonfiction books for kids there...


  1. The Barefoot Book of Dance Stories sounds like an interesting book I'd like to give to my daughter (who once danced Modern Dance) so she can read it to her daughter who is 3 and loves her ballet class. I'm sure they'd enjoy the Dancing Princesses stories. That is, if once I scan through it I don't want to keep if for myself, at least until I read it.

    Your writeup here has put these two books (The Barefoot Book of Dance Stories and The Barefoot Book of Ballet Stories)on my radar just as I'm thinking of what to buy for Christmas.

    Thanks for featuring this!

  2. Wow! I am so excited about this blog! I love books and I love using them in my early childhood classes! I am always looking for something new and something about dance to share with the littles! I write a blog for dance teachers about teaching young kids! I have actually been thinking about writing a book of my own. Oh my goodness, I'm so happy to connect with you! :)

  3. I came across your web site via the SCBWI_of_DE_MD_VA Yahoo Group, and look forward to seeing your books. Thank you so much for inspiring kids in the world of dancing! From a former kid dancer, sincerely, Valerie Ormond,

  4. My daughter just turned 3 and has been in love with ballet and dance for her whole tiny life. She taught herself the 5 basic positions from a kid's dvd I bought at a thrift store. (And then taught me!) We read heaps of books everyday. I know these stories would absolutely delight my little fairy!

  5. Great Job Kerry,
    I am inspired by your blog to read about ballet and dance. Dance was never a part of my upbringing , but I guess it is never too late to learn about dancing and maybe learn a step or two in the process. Take care and keep up the great blog.

  6. Thanks to everyone who has participated so far. Nice to see some old friends and some new ones here!

  7. thanks for the chance to enter the giveaway! i love working with the little ones, and new books and materials are always welcome!

  8. Looks like a wonderful book! I lead a dance storytime at my local library and we'll definitely have to check it out!

  9. The Barefoot Book of Dance Stories looks like a really good book! I would like to read it, thank you for posting!:)

  10. Thanks again to everyone who has commented so far. I didn't realize so many dance teachers used books in their classes. I am so happy to learn that!

    Shelly, a dance storytime at the library is such a wonderful idea. I'm not sure what age group you target, but most of the books on my blog so far are for preschoolers. However, some, like the one I'm giving away, are for a little bit older child. Good luck with your storytime. I would love to hear more about it sometime!

  11. I love the world-focus that this books seems to offer, and it seems like a perfect fit for my intermediate dance students who are always looking for something outside the Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, etc. that they know and love. Looking forward to adding this to my library soon!

  12. A beautiful book I'd love to have!

  13. This looks like a super cute book, thanks for the chance to win!

    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

  14. I wish Barefoot Book of Dance Stories had been written about 10 years ago. But I'll buy it now if I don't win it. I have a hard time figuring out the story behind some dance performances and their costumes. This looks like a great book for every dancer.

  15. Thanks so much on explanation/illustration on ballet slippers. The articles were all so great. Nothing better on "rest body day". than a good blog or book,barefoot n comfy chair. I also found a like new copy of " the girl who loved wild horses on Amazon,under$8, shipped-hardback,the hoop dancer was inspirational.HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL.GYPSY

  16. I'm so glad to hear that this book is of interest to so many of you. It really is a beautiful book, and I also love the world focus.

    Jerry, don't worry. Even as a dancer, I have a hard time figuring out the story behind a lot of dance performances!

    Gypsy, thanks for mentioning The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. I will have to check it out. I noticed from your profile that you are interested in all things Chocktaw. I just found out I have some Choctaw blood in me, so now I need to find out more about the tribe...especially their dancing!

  17. Congratulations to Connie Walsh Brown, the winner of my first giveaway! (Connie, please leave your mailing address in a comment so Barefoot Books can mail the book to you.)

    Thank you again to everyone who participated in the giveaway. It was a lot of fun for me, and I hope you will all return to my blog to read about more dance picture books. I'm also hoping to add more posts about integrating dance and children's literature in general.

    Happy reading, and happy dancing!!


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