New children’s books on dance themes


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This list of new children’s books on dance themes originally appeared in our children’s newsletter, The Kids Are Al Right. register here to receive news and recommendations from the world of children’s and middle school books.

Hi Kid Lit friends!

Hope 2022 is off to a good start for all of you! I spent New Year’s Eve in my favorite chair reading The Lincoln Highway of Amor Towles (a book of historical fiction for adults) from cover to cover. I also started The mountains sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai, a book that crosses generations (also a book for adults). And last week I read some great picture books, some of which are in this newsletter! Check out these dance books:

Bunheads by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey

When young Misty discovers her love of dance through ballet Coppelia – the story of a toymaker who hatches a villainous plan to bring a doll to life – she is so captivated by the story that she decides to audition for the lead role, even if it’s only her first dance lesson! But as she learns from her fellow bunheads, she makes some wonderful friends and together they put together a production they will remember forever.

Charlotte and the Nutcracker: The true story of a girl who marked the history of ballet by Charlotte Nebres, illustrations by Alea Marley

In 2019, Charlotte Nebres became the first black dancer to perform the role of Mary in New York City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s Nutcracker. This sweet autobiographical picture book chronicles how her hard work led her to play the role of Mary as well as her holiday traditions.

Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Heritage by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Salena Barnes

This fantastic book delves into the lives of black women in ballet and their journeys in dance and how they changed the landscape of American ballet from the turn of the 20th century to today. This compilation includes stories from dozens of dancers, including Raven Wilkinson, Ebony Williams, Virginia Johnson, Nora Kimball-Mentzos and many more.

And new books coming this spring…

sunrise dance by Serena Gingold Allen, illustrated by Teagan White (4/5/22, Chronicle Books, hardcover)

This interactive zippered hardback book is both beautifully illustrated and very cute. Watch the animals spin, fly, and wiggle from their lairs in a tumultuous celebration of spring!

John’s turn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kate Berube (01/03/22, Candlewick Press, picture book)

This wonderful children’s book is filled with tender illustrations and a great story about a boy who awaits his turn at Friday Assembly where they have a “Share Gifts” party. I absolutely loved this book, especially the ending. 🙂


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