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Massachusetts: Concord, Barefoot Books – A Place to Explore,  Imagine,  Create,  Connect, and Give Back.648MAConcordBarefootBooks That about covers it, what else is there? Except maybe, share a good read. The good news for book lovers and their children - Barefoot Books™ Flagship Store and Community Center in the Depot District of Concord is now open and worth a visit not just for books. It is a children’s bookstore with a heart and soul - a comfort zone for young readers.

Loving books is easy. I never remember my grandfather without a book in his hand. He was an avid reader and consummate storyteller always ready to discuss fairies or pirates and much later Hemmingway and Frost. At the bookstore in his town I knew I was welcome. The bookseller (Mrs. Geraldine Wellsworth) greeted him by name and always seemed to know the names of each of his grandchildren and what we liked to read. It was a comfort place filled with the intoxicating aroma of books, quiet conversations usually about books, and sweet tea with petite cookies. It was our custom to sit on floor pillows in the reading room (shoes off) carefully savoring our own selections and awaiting the appointed story time. So, it is not surprising that I love books and bookstores with heart and soul. I am happy to share the news about the newest Barefoot Books Store in Concord. (My grandfather would approve.)

Here’s the scoop. If you are wondering what the big deal is about Barefoot Books, let me explain. Barefoot Books is not just a location on the planet, it is the validation of a lifestyle philosophy – a philosophy that places high importance on sharing the joy of literature and art with children of all ages. Although Barefoot was founded almost two decades ago by two energetic young moms (Nancy Traversy and Tessa Strickland) with a clear idea about the power of books, their idea remains absolutely on target for growing citizens of the world today. They knew then as now that making time for make-believe and letting imaginations blossom is essential to raising healthy happy children and that sharing in the process is rewarding. 648MAConcordBarefootThrone

Step inside Barefoot Books, Concord. Designed in the imaginative and colorful style for which this independent publishing company is known, the Concord store brings Barefoot Books to life in a magical community gathering spot. The store provides the ideal atmosphere for families and friends to experience live storytelling and music, arts and crafts, yoga, and more. Visitors of all ages are encouraged to linger as they browse through the collection of more than 400 titles for infants through school-agers, in addition to puppets, puzzles, games, dress-ups, and more. Bonus points: The new store is the location of the enchanting Storyteller’s Caravan and magical Storyteller’ Throne. (Barefoot Books 89 Thoreau Street Concord, MA 01742 (978) 369-1770 or www.barefootbooks.com)

Location on the planet. Families can easily stay in Concord and visit Boston proper, it's on the commuter rail line--about a 25 minute trip into the city or about a 20 minute drive into the city. Concord is one of the most historic towns in the country, quaint and family friendly it offers a family vacation base not far from Boston proper.
 
Go barefoot from anywhere. I suggest a stop at the new Barefoot Books flagship store in Concord if you and your family will be anywhere near Boston. However, if you are somewhere else on the planet then your choice is simple. Stop by the website and become amazed at the collection of possibilities exuding positive energy. Granted I may be imagining things because even though there is no lovely aroma of books there are plenty of enticing images and descriptions but give a look for yourslef. Search by age or interest and read a short synopsis of selected items. You will notice many of the books also include a CD as a bonus plus they have Folkmannis puppets (my absolute favorite) as a gift suggestion. My favorites include: The Barefoot Book of Knights, Babushka, Barefoot Book of Faeries, The Story Tree, Stories from the Silk Road, Grandmothers' Stories, Tales from Old Ireland, and Shakespeare's Storybook. Browse the Barefoot selections online www.barefootbooks.com/shop/ 648MAConcordBarefootBenches

Want to make a difference? Barefoot Books believe strongly in the importance of creating a global network of individuals who want to make a difference. To demonstrate their commitment Barefoot Books has a unique program “Books for Africa” which allows publishers, book stores, and the community to provide books to needy children in schools and libraries across Africa. To support BFA, Barefoot has reduced the cost of selected books with African themes so that for just a few dollars you can put a Barefoot Book in the hands of an African child. Purchase a book from the Books for Africa Collection, and they will send it directly to a child in need.
 
Visit them in Manhattan. If you have been to NYC with you children but missed story time, put them on the list. You will find the tempting Barefoot Books Boutique upstairs at FAO Schwarz. The book boutique showcases a complete range of children’s books, CDs, puppets, and puzzles selected to delight. When a recess from the frantic pace of the city is needed stop by for one of the daily story times (at 11am, 1pm and 3pm) given from the magical storyteller's throne. (FAO Schwartz Barefoot Boutique 767 Fifth Avenue, Second Floor New York, NY  10001 (212) 644-9400 ext. 3125)

About Barefoot Books:
Barefoot Books is an independent publisher, with offices in Cambridge, USA, and Bath, England specializing in carefully crafted books, gifts and digital content that help children on their journey to becoming happy, engaged members of the global community. Since 1992, Barefoot Books has published more than 400 titles that use timeless stories and captivating illustrations to tap into the wisdom of many cultures, while never forgetting that childhood is a time for fun. For more information on the company visit www.barefootbooks.com

Editor’s note – books and family vacations.
When my children were tykes and still using reading lists I made the annual family vacation promise. You may take only one book because once we get there (where ever there was), we will find a bookstore and you can have three new books. To keep the promise our family has had the pleasure of discovering bookstores across the country as well as in Canada, and the British Isles. I have sometimes stretched the rule of three to five and paid my share of overweight baggage fees. (I think all books should fly free but that is another issue.) When our kids became teens the tradition continued. Often my husband or I would read the same book at the same time as one of our teens. Doing so made our conversations much more interesting (relevant) with one another. Even though our family has matured, the tradition of sharing books remains part of each family vacation. The truth is we share books all year long because it’s like taking mini vacations.
 
Content and images provided by Barefoot Books; comments by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Editor, FTF. Copyright 2011.

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