Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Going Barefoot for National Garden Month

Among all the other month-long celebrations, April is also National Garden Month with people planting and pruning all around me. Since we moved into this home last December, we are working to get the landscaping renewed and refreshed—watering and fertilizing and planting perennials. We put in a whole new lawn in the backyard where a large shade tree had killed all the grass (and we’re cutting the tree back a bit, too, of course). One of my favorite parts of this process is walking barefoot on the new, soft, cool lawn (of St. Augustine grass).

Going barefoot is such a treat in childhood—freeing and often forbidden (unless you can't afford shoes-- which is another story). A new poetry collection celebrates those barefoot feelings and experiences: Barefoot; Poems for Naked Feet by Stefi Weisburd, illustrated by Lori McElrath-Eslick (Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, 2008). It includes 27 poems in a variety of forms with appealing watercolor illustrations expanding each one. Many of the poems address the fun, obvious aspects of feet at play, in babyhood, in shoes, jumping, dancing, walking, at the beach, in the pool, plus footrubs, pedicures, and even Mehndi painting. What a fun example of a topic that children can explore in concrete ways from multiple perspectives.

Here’s just a sampling:

Shoe Tattoo

by Stefi Weisburd

Tight shoes,

ribbed socks,

leave lines


Streams and hills,

fields of wheat.

A tiny landscape

on my feet!

From: Barefoot; Poems for Naked Feet by Stefi Weisburd, illustrated by Lori McElrath-Eslick. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, 2008, p. 27.

This is Stefi’s first book for young people, although she has published much notable poetry for adults. Watch for more from this fresh voice.

For more poetry about body parts and movement:
Adoff, Arnold. 1979. I am the Running Girl. New York: Harper & Row.
Brown, Calef. 2000. Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers: 14 More Stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Cole, Joanna, comp. 1989. Anna Banana: 101 Jump-Rope Rhymes. Illus. by Alan Tiegreen. New York: HarperTrophy.
Creech, Sharon. 2004. Heartbeat. New York: HarperCollins.
Dotlich, Rebecca Kai. 2003. In the Spin of Things: Poetry of Motion. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Shoe Magic. New York: Orchard Books.
Mayo, Margaret. 2002. Wiggle Waggle Fun: Stories and Rhymes for the Very Very Young. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
McCord, David. 1999. Every Time I Climb a Tree. New York: Little Brown.
Sierra, Judy. 2005. Schoolyard Rhymes: Kids’ Own Rhymes for Rope Skipping, Hand Clapping, Ball Bouncing, and Just Plain Fun. New York: Knopf.
Wolf, Allan. 2003. The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts. Ill. by Greg Clark. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
Wong, Janet. 2007. Twist: Yoga Poems. McElderry.

Try going barefoot again this month!

Picture credit: BestWebBuys

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