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My Feet Are Laughing
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My Feet Are Laughing

5.0 2
by Lissette Norman, Frank Morrison (Illustrator)

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My name is Sadie
and I live in Harlem
with my mother
and my little sister, Julie.

Sadie likes living in her grandmother's brownstone, where she has her own bedroom and a backyard to play in. She's full of thoughts and has lots to say about her family and friends, her home, her hair, and her laughing feet


My name is Sadie
and I live in Harlem
with my mother
and my little sister, Julie.

Sadie likes living in her grandmother's brownstone, where she has her own bedroom and a backyard to play in. She's full of thoughts and has lots to say about her family and friends, her home, her hair, and her laughing feet that can't keep still. And when she grows up she plans on being a poet.

This collection of sixteen exuberant poems in the voice of a young Dominican American girl and energetic, bright paintings celebrates Sadie's family and the city around her.

My Feet Are Laughing is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

Love, joy, and the courage to be oneself spring from the 16 free-verse poems in Norman's first book.
Publishers Weekly
An eight-year-old girl narrates 16 poems that are infectious in their toe-tapping, life-loving spirit. Sadie, an aspiring writer, lives with her mother and younger sister in Harlem. In the selection, "The Coolest Job in the World," she calls herself a "poetry girl" who will "paint pictures with words." Norman, whose parents, like her heroine's, hail from the Dominican Republic, has done just that with her first children's book. "I'm a hip-hop song that makes you wiggle./ I'm a late-night sneaky giggle," Sadie imagines in the selection "Daydreaming." While sometimes lengthy, each of the reflective poems contains observations both lyrical and childlike. Sadie's everyday subjects range from wavy hair ("If you comb it straight and pull it tight,/ I'm afraid my hair can't sing") to her favorite things ("I love it when Pop calls me silly names/ like hula-hoop head and pumpkin bread") to her parents' separation. Morrison paints the characters in the same long-limbed, high-stepping style he used for Jazzy Miz Mozetta. His snappy illustrations, drenched in purples and golden browns, dance in their own right as they bring Sadie's multicultural world to light. Door frames, fences and floor moldings curve and swerve, reflecting and extending the playful tone of the text. Readers may find their feet laughing right along with Sadie's. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sadie is eight and does not for a minute follow the advice of the women who come to her Harlem brownstone for coffee with her mother. When they tell her good girls are seen and not heard, she knows she has way too much to say to be a good girl for long. Her exuberance and imagination create a giggle jar for her silliness, funky music for her hair, and daydreams that take her everywhere but her classroom. The sixteen free-verse poems in this picture book are delightfully and wildly illustrated by Frank Morrison whose previous book Jazzy Miz Mozetta, won a Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for new talent. This is Lissette Norman's first book, and it is a winner in every way. Her rhythm will make your feet want to dance, and Morrison's illustrations will show you exactly how. 2006, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Ages 4 to 8.
—Augusta Scattergood
School Library Journal
Gr 1-6-When her grandmother goes to live in heaven, Sadie, a young Dominican American, and her mother and sister move into Mama Didi's Harlem brownstone. Sadie has stories to tell and poems to write, and Norman has given her a voice in 13 accessible, narrative selections. Blending familial love and the optimism of youth, they convey Sadie's irrepressible personality. She explains that she can't sit still because her "feet are laughing"; relates how she and her younger sister Julie store their chuckles in a Giggle Jar, ready to dispense on a bad day; and describes herself: "I'm a hip-hop song that makes you wiggle./I'm a late-night sneaky giggle./I'm a cornrow braid./I'm a cool glass of sweet lemonade." Although Sadie's parents have separated, they remain good friends and continue to care for one another in healthy, nurturing ways, defying the stereotype of the broken home. Sadie's story would pair nicely with Vera B. Williams's Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart (HarperCollins, 2001), for both books offer narrative clarity and sisters to believe in. Sadie's upbeat spirit is equally matched by Morrison's contemporary, graffiti-influenced illustrations that explore the child's urban neighborhood as well as the richness of her life. Done in a palette of bright greens, warm tangerines, and deep purples, the paintings feature sharp angles, elongated forms, and figures that are stretched and bowed. A sweet, hip, and joyous book.-Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sadie is a young Dominican-American who lives in Harlem with her mom and sister in her grandma's house. She's eight years old and full of spirit; Norman's poetry brings her vividly to life. In 16 poems, she chats about her feelings toward her dad and mom's separation ("Mami and Pop Are Good Friends"), her grandma ("Heaven is Where Grandma Lives") and her six-year-old sister ("My Feet Are Laughing"). The free verse typifies her age, as in, "Love is Crystal telling / Rolando from down the street / that she likes his blue-and-orange jersey / and Rolando wearing it almost every day." Each poem is accompanied by a double-page spread of illustrations as energetic as Sadie. Long curving lines exaggerate space and make the interiors cozy, as do the mellow and delicious shades of chocolate, purple and yellow. Sure to make readers' feet laugh. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.18(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

LISSETTE NORMAN lives in New York City. My Feet Are Laughing is her first book. FRANK MORRISON, the recipient of the Coretta Scott King /John Steptoe New Illustrator Award for Jazzy Miz Mozetta by Brenda C. Roberts, lives in Hampton, Georgia.

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My Feet Are Laughing 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...making poetry accessible to kids. Kudos to those who do it with such style so as to nurture kids (and the rest of us) to see poetry e'rywhere around them. The colorful words, lyrical illustrations and the characters' relate-ability make the reader want to be close to Sadie-- part of her family, sitting on her stoop, or next to her in class. 'Me, too!' leaps from the pages on many, MANY levels... Me, too! (I'm a girl with an indomitable spirit.) Me, too! (I'm from the 'Hood.) Me, too! (Single-parent household, at that.) Me, too! (I love... so many things, but especially words and what they can do: To me, to you... to everyone, if we let them!) Me, too! (Somebody wrote a book that is all me, too.) This book belongs next to Keats, Silverstein and Angelou.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a teacher I am always looking for quality literature. This is an excellent book of poetry for young and old.