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Koby Deane
Author, Illustrator
I Go Barefoot
Koby Deane, author

Picture Book; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Going barefoot EVERYWHERE? How would THAT feel? Sounds like fun, but isn't it DANGEROUS? Join five friends in a beach town as they experience life without shoes in this delightful rhyming picture book that promotes strength, adaptability and enhanced development - through the sense of touch!
In Deane’s playful picture book for children, a group of five friends in a coastal community shows that going barefoot is more than just an aesthetic choice—it is a lifestyle. The narrator, a tall, athletic young man with sandy blonde hair and striking blue eyes, details the ways he and his pals spend their days sans shoes. They play sports on the beach, visit the farmers market, and even hit the ice cream shop and attend school with naked feet. While many places require shoes indoors, that’s not the way of this beachy town. “Our teacher knows, it doesn’t upset her, that when we are comfortable we learn much better,” the narrator enthusiastically reports.

Throughout the story, the rhyming prose provides a sense of fun and lightheartedness, inviting kids to consider a new way of experiencing temperatures and textures such as soft carpet, cool tile, or hot pavement. One oft-repeated refrain sounds like the chorus of a song: “I go barefoot when it’s warm outside. I go barefoot. My feet no longer hide.” (In fact, it's just that: a free musical audiobook comes with the book.) While most people have positive memories of wandering without shoes through sand or dewy grass, they can also likely recall stepping on something hard or sharp. Deane addresses those concerns, showing the characters tiptoeing around prickly plants or bits of broken glass.

The story is accompanied by Deane’s colorful digital illustrations that toe the line between photorealistic and the cheerily imaginative. The narrator and his friends are shown smiling broadly while swimming, surfing, playing volleyball, and enjoying sweets from the bakery—all without shoes on their feet. While going barefoot as often as this story suggests won’t be possible for most kids due to climate, safety, and other concerns, it allows a glimpse at a laid-back way of life, and an invitation to kick those shoes off next time the sun shines.

Takeaway: Going barefoot is a jubilant lifestyle in this lighthearted picture book.

Great for fans of: Heather Neilly and Ruth de Vos’s Barefoot Bea: a Picture Book for Everyone Who Dislikes Wearing Shoes, Sheree Fitch’s Summer Feet.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A