The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales by Dawn Casey

Published by Barefoot Books (ISBN: 978-1846862236)

This is a collection of seven folk tales from around the world. Each story has a craft project to go with it. Beautifully written and illustrated, each story shows how different cultures try to live in harmony with the world.

The book starts in Australia with information about the indigenous people who live there. The story chosen is The Sun Mother which tells of creation- ‘Care for creation, Look after the land of your ancestors; look after the land for your children and for your children’s children.’ It is beautifully re-told and offers many possibilities for writing, discussion, art work and further exploring the Dreaming tales. The story is followed by the suggestion of making a song-line painting. There are not only instructions, but also additional details and information about Aboriginal art. 

Next story- Nigeria. This is from the Edo people and shows how humans should consume less and conserve more. There is a real story teller tone to the tale which makes it a pleasure to read aloud. A recipe for ‘Anything-goes soup’ follows.  Children could have great fun re-telling this story and adding their own descriptions and developing their vocabulary choices. There are many writing opportunities that could come from this story as well, including writing instructions for their own favourite recipes. 

The Southern Plains of North America- land of the Comanche- is where the next story comes from. Once again, the message is an environmental one- giving back to the earth. It is a lovely story about a little girl sacrificing her most prized possession for the good of her people. 

The other stories are from Bali, Kazakhstan, India and Wales. Each carries a strong message; each offers many possibilities for classroom activities across the curriculum. This book is a real treasure!