Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sing, Dance and Create with the Shape Song!

Read It. Move It. Share It. 
Each month I recommend a picture book for dance educator Maria Hanley to use in her children's dance classes in New York City. This month I chose a new title from Barefoot Books called The Shape Song Swingalong. I hope you're ready for some sing-along swing-along fun!

Quite a while ago, Maria mentioned to me that she was interested in exploring shapes with her little ones, so I've been on the lookout for some good picture books about shapes. I had already discovered a few treasures at our local library and was about to recommend one when I came across The Shape Song Swingalong

I may still recommend the other book a little later, but for now The Shape Song Swingalong was just too much fun to pass up. Based on a song written and sung by SteveSongs, this book is all about shapes--specifically lines, circles, rectangles, and triangles--and the many fun things you can create with them.

Along with the words to the song, the bright and childlike illustrations by David Sim show how you can use the shapes to make houses, pencils, animals, sand castles, and just about anything else you’d like to make. And one of the reasons I really like this book is that it incorporates so many of the arts, including dance, into this concept.

I have a shape collection and I use it to create
Anything I want to see or be or do or make.
Is it work? Is it play? Is it music? Is it art?
With my shape collection all I need to do is start...

Many of the illustrations also show four multicultural children, each one of them representing a different shape. One of my favorite spreads shows the kids making their respective shapes with their arms. It reminds me of how fun it is to make the letters Y-M-C-A over your head to the classic Village People song of the same name. Similarly, I think kids would enjoy making lines, circles, rectangles, and triangles when they hear The Shape Song Swingalong

Even more fun would be making shapes to the actual shape song, which comes as a CD with the book. Wait until you hear its catchy refrain, which is so hard to get out of your head once you’ve heard it!

If you've read this far, and perhaps are bouncing in your chair or singing the refrain of the song yourself, then we have a giveaway for you! Barefoot Books is kindly giving away a copy of The Shape Song Swingalong and accompanying CD to one lucky reader of my blog or Maria's blog. 

If you win the book, Maria and I will want to know how you end up using it with the little ones in your life--be that in a dance class, in a traditional school setting, at home, or somewhere else. We really want this giveaway to help promote movement and creativity, so you'll have to write us back with the details of your book-related activities. 

So, if you're still reading this post and would love a copy of the book, there are three ways you can enter the giveaway. If you do one of them, you will be entered once. If you do two, you will be entered twice. And if you do all three, you will have three chances to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post letting me know what your favorite type of creating is. Mine is creating stories with words, but I also love creating arts & crafts with my kids.
  • Leave a comment on Maria's post letting her know what your favorite shape is and why. Also check out her post to see how she used the book in her classes!
  • Like Barefoot Books on Facebook and then let either me or Maria know in a separate comment.

Leave your comments by 11:59 pm EST on December 7, 2011. Maria and I will then pool the responses and randomly pick a winner. If you'd like to learn more about the book in the meantime, you can check out this interview with SteveSongs via the Barefoot Books blog. Have fun!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Liz Vacco, the winner of our Shape Song Swingalong giveaway! Liz is a performer, choreographer, and dance educator in Los Angeles who will be using the book with some of her students soon. We look forward to hearing how it goes! 


  1. Hi Kerry,
    I teach creative movement and many dance offerings. I love to incorporate dance and literacy. This sounds like a fantastic book to inspire our dance and shape making! I am also wondering how this book could inspire a kids yoga class as well. I like to create magical moving shapes with the kids... sounds like this book is a great visual to add to our dance activities! Thanks for sharing it!!!

  2. What a fun giveaway! I love Barefoot Books.... especially the ones that come with CD's. My favorite type of "creating" is helping to create healthy habits & self-esteem in kids of all abilities. It is so rewarding to hear a child exclaim "I did it!" the first time they are able to do an adapted version on a yoga pose or make a craft in one of my OMazing Kids Yoga classes :)

  3. I "liked" Barefoot Books on Facebook.

  4. What an absolutely lovely blog! I've stumbled up on you via Maria's Movers -- I too teach various forms of dance, including creative movement and LOVE to incorporate literacy into my classes. Looking forward to reading more!

  5. Oh, what a delightful book (and yes, I'm going to be bopping around my home office to the beat of that song for quite a while today)!

    I love to create with words, and I love to tie those words in some way to a celebration of the arts, and introduce the joys inherent in the arts to kids through my words. At least that's my aim as I move toward the possibility of publication!

    I also love Barefoot Books. In the past I have shared some of their wonderful books-with-CDs with a children's rehab hospital in my city -- the kids like to listen to the CDs while reading the books, especially kids who are receiving botox for treatment for their cerebral palsy, or some other such treatment. It takes their mind off the discomfort and sends their imaginations soaring.

  6. I love creating in the kitchen. It's fun and yummy.

    lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. I left a comment on Maria's post.

    lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

  8. love the ideas you shared I teach creative movement and have been looking for new approaches to teach, this has given me new inspiration I have tried to introduce shapes with little ones, but this is a new angle and I will try and let you know how it goes.. thanks for sharing!

  9. What a delightful-sounding book - I miss going barefoot! And dancing in the sun! Visiting your blog makes me want to do both. :) The fact that this book also has a multicultural component to it sounds like such a treat. Thanks for the recommendation!

  10. Thanks for all your comments and for letting me know what kinds of things you love to create :) Just wanted to let you know that Liz Vacco, who left a comment on Maria's blog, won the giveaway. She's a dance educator, so we're looking forward to hearing how she uses the book with her kids. Thanks again for your support of this giveaway and my blog!


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