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Dance: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about dance?

Whether you love to dance in your kitchen, on the stage, in the studio, or at the grocery store, we’ve gathered the very best books for all of you dance lovers. Dance is a great medium to express yourself, get exercise, have fun, and be creative. Chassé over to your library (or to your online cart), grab as many of these titles as you can find, twirl back home, and boogie over to the couch to get reading about the joy of dance!

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Top 10 Books About Dance

#1
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Giraffes Can't Dance
Written by Giles Andreae & illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
The message of this book is wonderful--I love that it inspires confidence in oneself and not worrying about what others think of you, and embracing your differences.
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Gerald the giraffe is too clumsy to dance with all the other animals at the Jungle Dance, until he finds the right music. On board pages.

#2
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Flora and the Flamingo
Written & illustrated by Molly Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

In this wordless book with interactive flaps, a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.

#3
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Giant Dance Party
Written by Betsy Bird & illustrated by Brandon Dorman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Betsy Bird knows all there is to know about kids and books. She is the New York Public Library’s youth collections specialist, she writes a blog hosted by School Library Journal, and has served on the Newbery Medal committee. Now Betsy Bird has written a children’s book of her own, Giant Dance Party. In this rollicking picture book, a group of giants shows up at Lexy’s door wanting dance lessons. After some initial hesitation, Lexy is happy to teach them, and her dance classes end with all her students—as well as Lexy herself—overcoming their fears and putting on a boogying performance. Brandon Dorman, an award-winning artist whose work can be found in The Wizard, and on the covers of Fablehaven and Goosebumps, brings the giants and their dance moves to life with his full-color illustrations.

#4
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Barnyard Dance!
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
I have fond memories of being read this as a child, reading it myself to younger siblings and now reading it with my own child. Boynton's illustrations are delightful as always, and this one has perfect cadence and just the right amount of silliness.
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Everybody sing along—because it’s time to do-si-do in the barnyard with a high-spirited animal crew! From Boynton on Board, the bestselling series of board books, here is BARNYARD DANCE, with Sandra Boynton’s twirling pigs, fiddle-playing cows, and other unforgettable animals. Extra-big, extra-fat, and extra-fun, BARNYARD DANCE features lively rhyming text and a die-cut cover that reveals the wacky characters inside. Guaranteed to get kids and adults stomping their feet. The “Barnyard Dance! song, performed by John Stey, is available for download.

#5
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Zombelina
Written by Kristyn Crow & illustrated by Molly Schaar Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A young zombie gives a haunting performance in her first ballet dance recital.

#6
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Swan
Written by Laurel Snyder & illustrated by Julie Morstad
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Anna Pavlova, a ballerina who came from nothing and worked so hard to achieve her dreams, then traveled to share the joy she found through dance with others.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

“Spare, poetic words sit as lightly as snowflakes.”—Wall Street Journal “An enchanting glimpse of a dancer whose name has come to be synonymous with her most famous role.”—School Library Journal, starred review One night, young Anna’s mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book biography perfect for aspiring ballerinas of all ages.

#7
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Let's Dance, Little Pookie
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This popular Sandra Boynton read is definitely a fun one. I like that readers can follow along with the dance moves and that it encourages dancing how you like best. I also really enjoy the fun, silly, and lyrical text. :)
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Let’s do the Pookie Shimmy (Oh, yeah!) in this toe-tapping board book from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton. Say hey, Little Pookie! You’re a wonder to see. Come on, my little Pookie, Won’t you dance with me? Are you ready to do the piggy-piggy shake? Then put on your snazzy sneakers and join the dance party as Little Pookie boogies to a Pookie-Pookie beat. With Sandra Boynton’s signature charm and piggy pizzazz, this fabulous story proves that every Little Pookie loves to shimmy!

#8
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The Nutcracker
Written by New York City Ballet & illustrated by Valeria Docampo
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Now available in a beautiful board book edition, the New York City Ballet presents a classic ballet tale for a modern ballet lover with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite. The New York City Ballet is known for showcasing classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish and modern sensibility. For the first time, this beloved holiday story is told based on George Balanchine’s quintessential production. The storyline of this gorgeous board book mimics the choreography of the famous ballet and the illustrations are inspired by the backdrops and scenery from the actual production. The New York City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker is considered to be “the” leading production in the world. A holiday tradition for many families, now readers who can’t travel to New York will be able to experience this celebratory story. A must-have for every aspiring ballerina’s library and a holiday keepsake for every family’s bookshelf.

#9
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The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Written by Marianna Mayer & illustrated by Kinuko Y. Craft
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For generations, children have loved the enchanting story of the twelve beautiful princesses and the handsome young lad who solves the mystery of their tattered shoes. Now Marianna Mayer brings to life all the splendor and romance of this beloved classic, from the dazzling forests Of silver, gold, and diamonds to a twilight palace where the bewitched princesses dance to hypnotic music. And award-winning artist Kinuko Craft add, her own magic: a visual feast of exquisite, jewel-like paintings that sweep across the pages. Together, Mayer and Craft have created an unforgettable world that readers of all ages will want to return to again and again.

#10
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Miss Bunny's Shapes
Written & illustrated by Becky Baur
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This colorful, lift-the-flap book talks about different shapes, dancing, and partying at the bunny hop. The text rhymes, and I like that the illustrations have a lot of different details and shapes on the pages.
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Explore and identify shapes in this stylish lift-the-flap board book from a standout new artist. Miss Bunny is having a party . . . and you re invited. But what kind of party will it be? That s the fun mystery that will entertain toddlers as they learn all about shapes. Featuring ravishing rabbits in bold designs, this supercool board book has cool flaps to lift on every page.

Table of Contents
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Books About Dance and Animals

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Appleblossom the Possum
Written by Holly Goldberg Sloan & illustrated by Gary A. Rosen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

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Chicken Dance
Written by Tammi Sauer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Determined to win tickets to an Elvis Poultry concert, hens Marge and Lola enter the Barnyard Talent Show, then, while the ducks who usually win the contest jeer, they test out their abilities.

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Baby Loves to Boogie!
Written & illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan
Thoughts from The Goodfather
In Baby Loves to Boogie, it's fun to see different animals doing all kinds of different dances that seem to match each animal very well. But what the little readers around our home really love to see is baby boogying!
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Boogie on down with baby in this lively companion to the board book hit Baby Loves to Rock! The chicks can do kicks, and the toucan can cancan. But who loves to boogie? Filled with funny puns and rhymes about a variety of comical animals getting groovy, this board book will delight dancers of all ages. Wednesday Kirwan’s humorous text and colorful illustrations ensure that this adorable follow-up to the board book hit Baby Loves to Rock! will win any dance-off.

Honorable Mentions
Dance book
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Ballerino Nate book
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The Bunny Rabbit Show! book
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ABC Dance!: An Animal Alphabet book
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  1. Dance - From the #1 New York Times bestselling children’s book creator Matthew Van Fleet comes a laugh-out-loud, jazzy story of a little baby chick who learns how to dance from a friendly band of animals who know all the right moves! Shake, shake, shake, shimmy, shimmy, shake! You can dance! Young readers will delight in the charming art, jazzy text, and in pulling the five sturdy pull tabs to make the different animals bounce, shake and bop as they dance to the Hippoppta Hula, Gator Mashed Patater, and more! Listen and dance to the song at VanFleetBooks.com. Get your dancing feet ready!

  2. Ballerino Nate - After seeing a ballet performance, Nate decides he wants to learn ballet but he has doubts when his brother Ben tells him that only girls can be ballerinas.

  3. The Bunny Rabbit Show! - You’ve got front-row seats to the cutest revue in town—hop on down to The Bunny Rabbit Show! The latest addition to Sandra Boynton’s phenomenal bestselling Boynton on Board series, this book stars a cast of high-kicking bunnies performing in perfect unison to a lively song all about . . . them. We are ten terrific rabbits And we like to dance and sing. Ten terrific rabbits. We can do most anything. Bunnies are very welcoming, so everyone (Boynton’s pigs, sheep, chickens, and YOU) can come join the chorus line—bunny ears mandatory, of course. An exuberant original song by Sandra Boynton and Mike Ford is available for download.

  4. ABC Dance!: An Animal Alphabet - Dance through the alphabet from Aardvark to Zebra! Hey! Is that your toe tapping? Well, go on! Strut your stuff! Shake your boots with newts, lambada with llamas, and slide with sloths! A lively romp through the alphabet with vibrant art and cheerfully rhyming text, ABC Dance! is a joy for children and grown-ups to read aloud together. Now get your dancing shoes on!

Want to see 14 more books about dance and animals ?

How about books about animals?

Books About Dance and Imagination And Play

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Let's Dance, Little Pookie
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This popular Sandra Boynton read is definitely a fun one. I like that readers can follow along with the dance moves and that it encourages dancing how you like best. I also really enjoy the fun, silly, and lyrical text. :)
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Let’s do the Pookie Shimmy (Oh, yeah!) in this toe-tapping board book from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton. Say hey, Little Pookie! You’re a wonder to see. Come on, my little Pookie, Won’t you dance with me? Are you ready to do the piggy-piggy shake? Then put on your snazzy sneakers and join the dance party as Little Pookie boogies to a Pookie-Pookie beat. With Sandra Boynton’s signature charm and piggy pizzazz, this fabulous story proves that every Little Pookie loves to shimmy!

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I Can Dance
Written & illustrated by Betsy Snyder
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
While the cover might be classified as "girly" by some (don't get me started on the boy books/girl books discussion!), the inside is packed with examples of all types of dance (disco, gymnastics, break-dancing, synchronized swimming, and tap dancing) being executed by both little boy and little girl dancers, so there's plenty of gender diversity going on. The holes for sticking your fingers through to be the dancers legs on each page are fun, both at the baby stage where they try to grab your fingers and giggle as you wiggle them around and as munchkins get older and can do it themselves. The verdict—cute interactive book for getting some of the wiggles out!
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Readers make dancers disco, tap, or pirouette just by wiggling their fingers. But wait! There’s even more fun. In an impressive gatefold finale, readers use two sets of hands to help the dancers perform an encore. With interactive holes on every page and a satisfying touch-and-feel cover, this charming board book is the perfect way to play and read together.

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Duck & Goose, Let's Dance!
Written & illustrated by Tad Hills
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“Duck and Goose have fun dancing together as friends”—

Honorable Mentions
Dressing Up book
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Goodnight, Little Dancer book
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Starring Carmen! book
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Angelina Loves book
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  1. Dressing Up - We’re amazing! We can dress up, sing, dance and make music. There’s nobody quite like us! Enjoy the antics of this inclusive and diverse group of friends, as they celebrate the natural and boundless creativity to be found in every child.

  2. Goodnight, Little Dancer - In this soothing, gentle rhyming picture book, author Jennifer Adams bids sweet dreams to the youngest readers who identify as ballerinas by day and tender, sleepy children by night. With luminous art from illustrator Alea Marley, Goodnight, Little Dancer is sure to send little ones to sleep with twirling, dancing dreams. It’s time for bed now, little dancer.
    Time to tell the world goodnight.
    Let down your bun, shake out your hair.
    Breathe in, relax, and dim the light.

  3. Starring Carmen! - Singer, dancer, actress, and costume designer Carmen puts on a show every night for her exhausted parents, who would like Carmen to share the stage with her biggest fan, her little brother Eduardo.

  4. Angelina Loves - Discover all the things Angelina Ballerina loves in this super chubby board book that’s perfect for sharing with someone you love! Angelina Ballerina loves lots of things! There’s her family and dancing of course—with her ballet class at Miss Lilly’s ballet school. And cartwheeling around the playground with her BFF, Alice. Fans of Angelina will love reading about everything Angelina loves (and probably things they love, too!) © 2019 Helen Craig Ltd and Katharine Holabird. The Angelina Ballerina name and character and the dancing Angelina logo are trademarks of HIT Entertainment Limited, Katharine Holabird, and Helen Craig.

Books About Dance and Performing Arts

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Barnyard Dance!
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
I have fond memories of being read this as a child, reading it myself to younger siblings and now reading it with my own child. Boynton's illustrations are delightful as always, and this one has perfect cadence and just the right amount of silliness.
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Everybody sing along—because it’s time to do-si-do in the barnyard with a high-spirited animal crew! From Boynton on Board, the bestselling series of board books, here is BARNYARD DANCE, with Sandra Boynton’s twirling pigs, fiddle-playing cows, and other unforgettable animals. Extra-big, extra-fat, and extra-fun, BARNYARD DANCE features lively rhyming text and a die-cut cover that reveals the wacky characters inside. Guaranteed to get kids and adults stomping their feet. The “Barnyard Dance! song, performed by John Stey, is available for download.

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Angelina Ballerina
Written by Katharine Holabird & illustrated by Helen Craig
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A little mouse named Angelina becomes the famous ballerina Mademoiselle Angelina after much practice at Miss Lilly’s Ballet School.

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Ballet Boy
Written & illustrated by Anfaney Gladwin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This uplifting novel follows Mitchell to third grade when he becomes a ballet danseur. He is under attack by his peers for choosing to do ballet.

Honorable Mentions
Bauhaus Ballet book
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Shannon and the World's Tallest Leprechaun book
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I Will Dance book
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Dinosaur Dance! book
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  1. Bauhaus Ballet - Watch the dancers as they leap, spin, and kick their way through this beautiful pop-up book. Inspired by the eccentric and innovative Bauhaus Triadic Ballet, this gorgeous book explores colours, shapes, patterns, and movements in a visually stunning and enthralling way. With bold artwork rendered in Lesley Barnes’ striking style and playful text by Gabby Dawnay, this special pop-up book will appeal to all ages.

  2. Shannon and the World's Tallest Leprechaun - Shannon is a stepdancer with a broken shoe. How can she ever win the Saint Patrick’s Day stepdancing contest? Enter Liam, the world’s tallest leprechaun. A leprechaun grants wishes, right?

  3. I Will Dance - This poetic and uplifting picture book illustrated by the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines follows a young girl born with cerebral palsy as she pursues her dream of becoming a dancer. Like many young girls, Eva longs to dance. But unlike many would-be dancers, Eva has cerebral palsy. She doesn’t know what dance looks like for someone who uses a wheelchair. Then Eva learns of a place that has created a class for dancers of all abilities. Her first movements in the studio are tentative, but with the encouragement of her instructor and fellow students, Eva becomes more confident. Eva knows she’s found a place where she belongs. At last her dream of dancing has come true.

  4. Dinosaur Dance! - A brand-new board book about dancing dinosaurs from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton! ZANG! BOP! KIDDLY POW! The DINOSAUR DANCE is starting NOW! Join Boynton’s lively prehistoric bunch as they get everyone’s tails shaking for a feet-stomping good time. Whether they dance the Shimmy Shimmy Shake, the Quivery Quake, or just decide to Cha-Cha-Cha, young readers are sure to giggle along with these adorable creatures that are ready for a ROARING good time!

Books About Dance and Culture

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Swan
Written by Laurel Snyder & illustrated by Julie Morstad
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Anna Pavlova, a ballerina who came from nothing and worked so hard to achieve her dreams, then traveled to share the joy she found through dance with others.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

“Spare, poetic words sit as lightly as snowflakes.”—Wall Street Journal “An enchanting glimpse of a dancer whose name has come to be synonymous with her most famous role.”—School Library Journal, starred review One night, young Anna’s mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book biography perfect for aspiring ballerinas of all ages.

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The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Written by Marianna Mayer & illustrated by Kinuko Y. Craft
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For generations, children have loved the enchanting story of the twelve beautiful princesses and the handsome young lad who solves the mystery of their tattered shoes. Now Marianna Mayer brings to life all the splendor and romance of this beloved classic, from the dazzling forests Of silver, gold, and diamonds to a twilight palace where the bewitched princesses dance to hypnotic music. And award-winning artist Kinuko Craft add, her own magic: a visual feast of exquisite, jewel-like paintings that sweep across the pages. Together, Mayer and Craft have created an unforgettable world that readers of all ages will want to return to again and again.

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Ballet Shoes
Written & illustrated by Noel Streatfeild
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the tradition of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess come Noel Streatfeild’s tales of triumph. In this story, three orphan girls vow to make a name for themselves and find their own special talents. With hard work, fame just may be in the stars! Originally published in 1937.

Honorable Mentions
A Dance Like Starlight book
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The Log Driver's Waltz book
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Just Dance book
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Keep Dancing, Katie book
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  1. A Dance Like Starlight - Little ballerinas have big dreams. Dreams of pirouettes and grande jetes, dreams of attending the best ballet schools and of dancing starring roles on stage. But in Harlem in the 1950s, dreams don’t always come true—they take a lot of work and a lot of hope. And sometimes hope is hard to come by. But the first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, did make her dreams come true. And those dreams inspired ballerinas everywhere, showing them that the color of their skin couldn’t stop them from becoming a star. In a lyrical tale as beautiful as a dance en pointe, Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper tell the story of one little ballerina who was inspired by Janet Collins to make her own dreams come true.

  2. The Log Driver's Waltz - Acclaimed illustrator Jennifer Phelan reimagines Wade Hemsworth’s iconic log driver in a beautiful, contemporary picture-book adaptation of a beloved Canadian classic. If you ask any girl from the parish around What pleases her most from her head to her toes She’ll say I’m not sure that it’s business of yours But I do like to waltz with a log driver Based on the perennially popular Canadian folk song and animated short film of the same name, The Log Driver’s Waltz showcases a spunky, independent young woman whose parents are keen for her to marry. The town’s well-to-do doctors, merchants, and lawyers try to impress her, but it’s the humble log driver—with his style, grace, and joie de vivre—who captures her attention. When she and the log driver finally meet on the dance floor, their joy leaps off the page. With homages to the original film, and celebrating the flora, fauna, and folk art of this great land, The Log Driver’s Waltz brings a hallmark of Canadian childhood to life.

  3. Just Dance - “[A] memorable story.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) From Newbery Award–winning author Patricia MacLachlan comes a “quiet tale about finding your own voice” (Kirkus Reviews) while learning to understand the people you love the most. Sylvie Bloom wants to find something new and exciting this summer—at least more exciting than the cows, goats, and chickens on her family’s farm that she’s become accustomed to. Luckily, Sylvie’s teacher Mrs. Ludolf has the perfect idea. Sylvie can take over her husband Sheriff Ludolf’s column in the newspaper for the summer, reporting on all the important events that happen in their small Wyoming town. Sylvie is thrilled to have a new challenge, but she’s not sure she’ll actually see anything amazing. At least nothing like the things her mother saw when she traveled the world as a famous opera singer. Sylvie can’t figure out why her mother would give up singing in front of thousands of people. Have she and her brother Nate been holding her mother back? And when her mother’s old duet partner James Grayson writes that he’s coming to perform nearby, will she be tempted to return to the stage, without them?

  4. Keep Dancing, Katie - Katie loves being the best dancer in her dance class, so when Mattie joins the class and begins to outshine her, Katie is jealous.

Want to see books about culture?

Books About Dance and Ballet

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Zombelina
Written by Kristyn Crow & illustrated by Molly Schaar Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A young zombie gives a haunting performance in her first ballet dance recital.

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Love Is a Tutu
Written by Amy Novesky & illustrated by Sara Gillingham
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I really love this book, though I may be slightly biased as I grew up dancing. The illustrations are my favorite!!! I love that this book includes dance terminology and vocabulary, which of course adds some French exposure. :)
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

This beautifully designed and playfully illustrated novelty board book is the perfect starting point for tiny ballerinas and parents alike. Sweet and spare rhymes prance across the pages, engaging the reader with real ballet terms and plenty of pink. Parents and toddlers together will sigh Bravo as they turn off the light.

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Thursday's Children
Written & illustrated by Rumer Godden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-18

As he tags along to his spoiled sister’s ballet classes, Doone discovers and develops his own rare and special talents.

Honorable Mentions
On stage, please book
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This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer book
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The Sleeping Beauty book
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The Sound Orchestra: The Nutcracker book
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  1. On stage, please - A young girl begins serious training for a career as a professional dancer.

  2. This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer - Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training! Paving the way to a future that’s bright. Helping the world with their skills, smarts, and might. Little trailblazers cause great big changes. In this follow up to This Little President and This Little Explorer, now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering female trailblazers in history! Highlighting ten memorable women leaders who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

  3. The Sleeping Beauty - In this stunning follow-up to the bestselling holiday classic The Nutcracker, The New York City Ballet presents another timeless tale for a modern ballet lover with The Sleeping Beauty. The New York City Ballet presents classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish, modern sensibility. This lavishly illustrated book follows the storyline, choreography, costumes, and sets of the New York City Ballet’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. With beautiful art illustrated by Valeria Docampo, this magnificent retelling is a perfect gift for an aspiring ballerina or any family who wants to add this enchanting fairy tale classic to their library.

  4. The Sound Orchestra: The Nutcracker - Follow Clara on a magical Christmas adventure in this retelling of the classic ballet story. Watch the Nutcracker battle the Mouse King, meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and journey to the Land of Sweets, where wonder and excitement await… Including music from: ‘The Dance of the Reed Flutes’, ‘The Waltz of Flowers’ and ‘The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’.

Want to see 33 more books about dance and ballet ?

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Books About Dance and Birds

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Flora and the Flamingo
Written & illustrated by Molly Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

In this wordless book with interactive flaps, a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.

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Cockatoo, Too
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book just makes me laugh! I love the word play, and I love how silly everything sounds reading it aloud. The illustrations are cute, too! I recommend this for older children, though, as younger children won't understand the play on words.
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Who can can-can? Find out in Cockatoo, Too, a hilarious book that features cockatoos, two more cockatoos, and tutued toucans too, now available as a board book! Cockatoo. Cockatoo two? Cockatoo, too? Two cockatoos! Two cockatoos, too? Cockatoo tutus! Two cockatoos meet two more cockatoos in tutus and two tutued toucans. And then two more! Can they all can-can? They can! The cockatoos and toucans join together for a dance and ask the reader: “Can you can-can, too?” Now even the youngest readers can experience fantastically funny wordplay and lush, vibrant illustrations in this new board book edition of Cockatoo, Too.

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Penguin Cha-Cha
Written & illustrated by Kristi Valiant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Penguins are dancing in their cove, and a young girl is determined to join in the fun.

Honorable Mentions
Flora and the Ostrich book
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Flora and the Chicks book
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  1. Flora and the Ostrich - Inspired by Caldecott Honor book Flora and the Flamingo, this series of board books is perfect for the very youngest Flora fans. When a new feathered friend seems so different from her, Flora discovers that opposites, in fact, attract! Featuring fold-out pages and Molly Idle’s graceful artwork, this adorable book of opposites will delight young children as they master new words and concepts.

  2. Flora and the Chicks - Inspired by the main character of the Caldecott Honor book Flora and the Flamingo, this new series of board books is perfect for the very youngest Flora fans. When a nest of eggs begins to hatch, how will Flora ever keep up with so many chicks? Featuring fold-out pages and Molly Idle’s graceful artwork, this adorable counting book will delight young children as they master new words and concepts.

Want to see books about birds?

Books About Dance and Self-esteem And Self-reliance

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Giraffes Can't Dance
Written by Giles Andreae & illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
The message of this book is wonderful--I love that it inspires confidence in oneself and not worrying about what others think of you, and embracing your differences.
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Gerald the giraffe is too clumsy to dance with all the other animals at the Jungle Dance, until he finds the right music. On board pages.

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Dancing in the Wings
Written by Debbie Allen & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sassy tries out for a summer dance festival in Washington, D.C., despite the other girls’ taunts that she is much too tall.

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Firebird
Written by Misty Copeland & illustrated by Christopher Myers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.

Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers’s best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.

Honorable Mentions
Ballet Bunnies book
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Gracie Laroo Sets Sail book
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  1. Ballet Bunnies - Betty dreams of becoming a great dancer and performing onstage. At home, she’s unstoppable, happily pirouetting through every room. But, in ballet class, everything changes: she feels clumsy and frightened of forgetting the steps. Can her sympathetic teacher help Betty find her poise, balance, and confidence in time for the big end-of-year recital? Kids will shout BRAVO for this adorable little ballerina bunny!

  2. Gracie Laroo Sets Sail - The Water Sprites are supposed to perform their medal-winning synchronized swimming routine aboard a cruise ship, but everything goes wrong when the piglets aboard start throwing things at the swimmers—so Gracie enlists the help of famous Rita Sinclair and her dancers to help impose order on the unruly passengers.

Books About Dance and Christmas And Advent

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The Nutcracker
Written by New York City Ballet & illustrated by Valeria Docampo
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Now available in a beautiful board book edition, the New York City Ballet presents a classic ballet tale for a modern ballet lover with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite. The New York City Ballet is known for showcasing classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish and modern sensibility. For the first time, this beloved holiday story is told based on George Balanchine’s quintessential production. The storyline of this gorgeous board book mimics the choreography of the famous ballet and the illustrations are inspired by the backdrops and scenery from the actual production. The New York City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker is considered to be “the” leading production in the world. A holiday tradition for many families, now readers who can’t travel to New York will be able to experience this celebratory story. A must-have for every aspiring ballerina’s library and a holiday keepsake for every family’s bookshelf.

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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Dance of the Realms
Written by Calliope Glass & illustrated by Marco Bucci and Misty Copeland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

With breathtaking painterly illustrations, a deeply enchanting story, and a foreword written by celebrated dancer Misty Copeland, this picture book brings The Nutcracker and the Four Realms to life in a brand-new way. As the adventure from the film jumps off of the screen and onto the page, a new generation of readers and fans will be drawn in and enchanted by the holiday spirit, the beauty of dance, and the magic of storytelling.

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First Stories: Nutcracker
Written by & illustrated by Dan Taylor
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

Push, pull, and slide into the holiday magic of The Nutcracker! Bring the classic Nutcracker story to life by pulling the tabs, spinning the wheels, and sliding the characters in First Stories: The Nutcracker. Join Clara and the Nutcracker as they go on a magical journey in this beloved tale based on the beautiful ballet. With movements on every page, youngsters will love this engaging introduction to the holiday classic.

Honorable Mentions
The Nutcracker book
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Daniel and the Nutcracker (Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood) book
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The Nutcracker (Little Golden Book) book
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The Nutcracker book
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  1. The Nutcracker - In this retelling of the original 1816 German story, Godfather Drosselmeier gives young Marie a nutcracker for Christmas, and she finds herself in a magical realm where she saves a boy from an evil curse.

  2. Daniel and the Nutcracker (Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood) - A new generation of children love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, inspired by the classic series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood! The show must go on as Daniel Tiger and his friends dance the Nutcracker ballet in this adorable board book with a padded cover and holographic foil! It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for Daniel Tiger fans! Daniel Tiger can’t wait to see his friends Katerina Kittycat and Prince Wednesday perform together in the Nutcracker Ballet! But when he arrives at the Enchanted Garden, Daniel learns that Prince Wednesday is sick and can’t dance! Can Daniel step in and save the show?

  3. The Nutcracker (Little Golden Book) - A Christmas classic returns to Little Golden Books, with beautiful new artwork by a beloved Golden Books illustrator! The Nutcracker is back in print as a Little Golden Book, with all-new illustrations by Sheilah Beckett, who started illustrating Golden Books in the 1950s. This lovely retelling of the famous ballet will be a perfect holiday gift for any child who loves the ballet, Christmas stories, and fairy tales!

  4. The Nutcracker - The New York City Ballet presents a classic ballet tale for a modern ballet lover with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite. The New York City Ballet is known for showcasing classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish and modern sensibility. For the first time, this beloved holiday story is told based on George Balanchine’s quintessential production. The storyline of this gorgeous picture book mimics the choreography of the famous ballet and the illustrations are inspired by the backdrops and scenery from the actual production. The New York City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker is considered to be “the” leading production in the world. A holiday tradition for many families, now readers who can’t travel to New York will be able to experience this colorful celebratory story. A must-have for every aspiring ballerina’s library and a holiday tradition for every family’s bookshelf.

Books About Dance and Girls And Women

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Fancy Nancy: Budding Ballerina
Written by Jane O'Connor & illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What starts out as dancing school just for Dad quickly turns into a ballet class for Nancy’s whole family. Fans of Fancy Nancy will delight in learning to plié, pirouette, and jeté with Nancy as she demonstrates all of the positions she’s learned in ballet class. From the New York Times bestselling team Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, who have entertained millions of girls and boys with the Fancy Nancy series.

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Josephine
Written by Patricia Hruby Powell & illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine’s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.

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I Dreamed I was a Ballerina
Written by Anna Pavlova & illustrated by Edgar Degas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Every girl remembers her first trip to the ballet: the anticipation beforehand, the orchestra’s first notes, the ethereal beauty of the ballerinas. This is a tale of one such girl who was caught up in ballet’s mesmerizing spell and became one of the greatest ballerinas of all time.

In a story drawn from her memoirs, Anna Pavlova describes her first visit to the ballet to see the Sleeping Beauty. With simple, childlike language, she captures her love for her mother, the splendor of the ballet, and the moments that changed her life. The words are matched with paintings, pastels, and drawings of the French Impressionist Edgar Degas, to give this story all the magic of a fairytale.

Complete with short biographies of Pavlova and Degas, I Dreamed I Was a Ballerina will delight any child with ballerina dreams.

Honorable Mentions
Out of Step book
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Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina book
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Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music book
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Lights, Music, Code! book
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  1. Out of Step - Last season Mercy Anderson was one of the best dancers on her school’s dance team when they almost made it to the state championship, but a sudden growth spurt has made her awkward and unsure of her moves—a personal coach would help bring her back to competition level, but can she earn enough money dog walking to pay for the training?

  2. Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina - An inspiring picture book for little ballerinas everywhere! Ready to Fly is the true story of Sylvia Townsend, an African American girl who falls in love with ballet after seeing Swan Lake on TV. Although there aren’t many ballet schools that will accept a girl like Sylvia in the 1950s, her local bookmobile provides another possibility. A librarian helps Sylvia find a book about ballet and the determined seven-year-old, with the help of her new books, starts teaching herself the basics of classical ballet. Soon Sylvia learns how to fly—how to dance—and how to dare to dream. Lyrical, easy-to-read, and affecting text paired with bright, appealing illustrations make Ready to Fly perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere who are ready to leap and to spread their wings. Includes a foreword from Sylvia Townsend, a brief history of the bookmobile, an author’s note, and a further reading list.

  3. Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music - Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream. Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

  4. Lights, Music, Code! - When Maya starts spending a lot of time with Maddie, an old friend, her friends from coding club worry she won’t finish her part of the project, coding the lights and music for the winter dance.

Books About Dance and Friendship

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Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance
Written by Annie Barrows & illustrated by Sophie Blackall
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Finally! After begging their parents for ballet lessons, Ivy and Bean finally get what they want…well, not exactly. Much to their surprise, it turns out ballet lessons do not include karate chops and roundhouse kicks to the villain’s heart. The girls have no interest in learning how to dance gracefully, but they promised their parents they would finish the entire ballet course! When it comes time for Ivy and Bean to participate in the ocean-themed class recital, the girls must figure out a way to get out of it without breaking their promises. Includes bonus material! - Sneak peek chapter from the next book in the Ivy + Bean series Ivy and Bean What’s the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

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Flora and the Penguin
Written & illustrated by Molly Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Having mastered ballet in Flora and the Flamingo, Flora takes to the ice and forms an unexpected friendship with a penguin. Twirling, leaping, spinning, and gliding, on skates and flippers, the duo mirror each other’s graceful dance above and below the ice. But when Flora gives the penguin the cold shoulder, the pair must figure out a way to work together for uplifting results. Artist Molly Idle creates an innovative, wordless picture book with clever flaps that reveal Flora and the penguin coming together, spiraling apart, and coming back together as only true friends do.

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Flora and the Peacocks
Written & illustrated by Molly Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The darling, dancing Flora is back, and this time she’s found two new friends: a pair of peacocks! But amidst the fanning feathers and mirrored movements, Flora realizes that the push and pull between three friends can be a delicate dance. Will this trio find a way to get back in step? In the third book featuring Flora and her feathered friends, Molly Idle’s gorgeous art combines with clever flaps to reveal that no matter the challenges, true friends will always find a way to dance, leap, and soar—together.

Honorable Mentions
Tallulah's Tap Shoes book
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Bug Girl: Fury on the Dance Floor book
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World Record Mystery book
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Boo Crew (Nancy Drew Clue Book) book
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  1. Tallulah's Tap Shoes - It’s summer, and Tallulah is excited about going to dance camp. She’ll get to take plenty of ballet classes. She’ll have to take tap, too, and she’s NOT excited about that. She’s never taken tap before, so she’ll be a beginning beginner. And she’s right—tap class is not much fun. Plus there’s a girl her same age who’s maddeningly good at tap dancing. But that same girl isn’t very good at ballet . . . could it be that she and Tallulah have something in common?

  2. Bug Girl: Fury on the Dance Floor - In the sequel to “Bug Girl, “ two girls with superpowers must defend their town when a villain unleashes her fury at the school dance. This funny and action-packed superhero story is filled with illustrations and sidebars featuring real bug facts.

  3. World Record Mystery - Help Nancy and her friends find a missing lucky headband so River Heights teen Katie can break the world record at the local arcade’s dance game in the eighth book in the interactive Nancy Drew Clue Book mystery series. Everyone in River Heights has shown up to watch Katie McCabe try to beat the world record for the Dance-A-Thon game. Judges are coming to the arcade to see how quickly she can spin across the electronic dance floor and how many points she can win. But just as Katie’s about to get ready, she notices her lucky headband has gone missing! She always wears the blue, sparkly headband when she competes and knows she’ll bomb without it. Luckily, Nancy takes her Clue Book everywhere. Nancy, Bess, and George are on the case! Who is sabotaging Katie’s big day? Could it be the owner of the rival arcade, Michael Parker, who wanted the judges to see his world record sock attempt? Or May Bensen, the current Dance-A-Thon record holder? It’s up to the Clue Crew—and you—to find out!

  4. Boo Crew (Nancy Drew Clue Book) - Help Nancy and her friends find the truth behind a haunted theater in the tenth book in the interactive Nancy Drew Clue Book mystery series. The hit TV show Twinkle Little Stars is coming to River Heights to audition contestants for their upcoming Halloween show. They’ll choose talented kids from all over the country to compete for prizes. Nancy, Bess, and George are dressing up as witches and are planning to create a special potion onstage for the judges. The recently renovated Heights Theatre has opened its doors for the auditions. The old theatre had been abandoned for fifty years but is now restored to its original beauty. But on the day of the auditions, everything seems to go wrong; the girls’ cauldron over bubbles, a werewolf mask makes its owner sneeze, spider webs fall on the dancers. That’s when the clue crew learns the Heights Theatre is rumored to be haunted—people say ghosts are the reason it stayed empty for so long. But Nancy knows better than to believe in ghosts. She’s sure that the culprit is of the human variety. Then Bess sees monsters dancing around a piano playing on its own—the keys moving but no is playing it. Could the rumors be true? Is the Heights Theatre really haunted? It’s up to the clue crew—and you—to find out!

Books About Dance and Social Themes

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Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show
Written by Tomie dePaola & illustrated by Jim Lewis and Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Andy and Sandy hit the stage in this fourth book of an easy-to-read picture book series about friendship—from Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Tomie dePaola and Emmy Award–winning writer for the Muppets Jim Lewis. Outgoing Sandy convinces shy Andy to do a dance at the big talent show. The only problem? Andy doesn’t know how to dance! Luckily, Sandy is a good teacher. But when showtime finally arrives, it’s Sandy who freezes up! A true friend through and through, Andy overcomes his shyness to save the performance. Let’s give a standing ovation to friendship! Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

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Angelina Ice Skates
Written by Helen Craig & illustrated by Katharine Holabird
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Angelina is planning a New Year’s Eve ice dance for everyone in Mouseland. All of her friends are taking part—even little cousin Henry. But two big boys from school keep interrupting their rehearsals. When a giant snowball fight breaks out, Angelina is sure the dance will be ruined. Will she find a way to make the show a success?

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Andy & Sandy And The Big Talent Show
Written & illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Andy and Sandy hit the stage in this fourth book of an easy-to-read picture book series about friendship—from Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Tomie dePaola and Emmy Award–winning writer for the Muppets Jim Lewis.

Outgoing Sandy convinces shy Andy to do a dance at the big talent show. The only problem? Andy doesn’t know how to dance! Luckily, Sandy is a good teacher. But when showtime finally arrives, it’s Sandy who freezes up! A true friend through and through, Andy overcomes his shyness to save the performance. Let’s give a standing ovation to friendship!

Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

Honorable Mentions
Zack Delacruz book
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Elephants Cannot Dance! book
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  1. Zack Delacruz - Zack Delacruz is unnoticed at his middle school—and that’s just the way he likes it. But a school assembly, a typhoon of spit, and an uncharacteristic moment of bravery are all it takes to change everything. Suddenly Zack is in charge of the class fundraiser. Worse, his partner is the school’s biggest bully! If they don’t sell all the chocolate bars, there will be no dance for the sixth grade. Zack never wanted to be a hero, but with his classmates’ hopes on the line, can he save the day?

  2. Elephants Cannot Dance! - Gerald the elephant is certain that he cannot dance but his friend Piggie convinces him to try.

Books About Dance and Music

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Giant Dance Party
Written by Betsy Bird & illustrated by Brandon Dorman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Betsy Bird knows all there is to know about kids and books. She is the New York Public Library’s youth collections specialist, she writes a blog hosted by School Library Journal, and has served on the Newbery Medal committee. Now Betsy Bird has written a children’s book of her own, Giant Dance Party. In this rollicking picture book, a group of giants shows up at Lexy’s door wanting dance lessons. After some initial hesitation, Lexy is happy to teach them, and her dance classes end with all her students—as well as Lexy herself—overcoming their fears and putting on a boogying performance. Brandon Dorman, an award-winning artist whose work can be found in The Wizard, and on the covers of Fablehaven and Goosebumps, brings the giants and their dance moves to life with his full-color illustrations.

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Music
Written & illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

We’re amazing! We can make music, dress up, sing and dance.

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Music
Written & illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

We are amazing! We can sing, dance, dress up, and make music. There’s nobody like us! Enjoy the antics of this inclusive and diverse group of friends, as they celebrate the natural and boundless creativity to be found in every child.

¡Somos sorprendentes! Cantamos, bailamos, nos disfrazamos y tocamos música. ¡Somos únicos y especiales! Disfruta de las travesuras de este diverso y simpático grupo de amigos mientras celebran la infinita y espontánea creatividad que hay en cada niño.

Honorable Mentions
Monster Boogie book
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The Illustrated Book of Ballet Stories book
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The Croaky Pokey! book
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Boom! Boom! Boom! book
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  1. Monster Boogie - Laurie Berkner, “the queen of children’s music” (People), pairs the lyrics of her infectious hit song with Ben Clanton’s whimsical illustrations in this groovy and adorable picture book—a must-have for fans of Laurie, dancing, and all things monstrous! I’m the biggest monster that you’ve ever seen! My eyes are purple and my teeth are green. I’m big and I’m scary, you know what I mean? And this is what I like to do… Boogie away those bedtime fears and embrace your inner monster with Monster Boogie, based on Laurie Berkner’s irresistibly fun song and featuring lively, playful artwork by Ben Clanton! I do the monster boogie. So can you! Rraaaahhh!

  2. The Illustrated Book of Ballet Stories - In story and illustrations, presents five classic ballets: Giselle, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake. Includes photographs from Royal Ballet productions, and is accompanied by an audio CD.

  3. The Croaky Pokey! - Put your right hand in, Put your right hand out, Put your right hand in, And wave it all about, Hop the Croakey Pokey. As flies buzz all around, Right in the froggy’s mouth!

  4. Boom! Boom! Boom! - Take a rhythmic musical journey round the world with this fun rhyming picture book! “Two gorillas and their chum. At the sound the people come. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” As the trio dances to the music of the drums, moving and grooving through the jungle and into the city, they’re joined by a host of other animals and people who can’t resist the infectious rhythm. The delightful rhymes and lively, colorful pictures will soon have kids jumping in, too!

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Books About Dance and Family

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My Mama Had A Dancing Heart
Written by Libba Moore Gray & illustrated by Raúl Colón
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A ballet dancer recalls how she and her mother would welcome each season with a dance outdoors

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Jazz Baby
Written by Lisa Wheeler & illustrated by R Gregory Christie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Baby and his family make some jazzy music.

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Salsa Lullaby
Written by Jen Arena & illustrated by Erika Meza
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

How to get baby to sleep? Mami and Papi will try anything in this bouncy, loving, bilingual lullaby that gently says good night in both Spanish and English. Mami starts a salsa song. Papi keeps the beat. Baby loves this lullaby, moves those dancing feet. Baila, baby, baila! Dance, dance, dance. When nighttime falls, it’s time for baby to go to sleep. In this household, that means it’s also time for mama, papa, and baby to baila/dance, canta/sing, salta/jump, and more all the way to bedtime! This bouncy bilingual text and gorgeous, inviting illustrations gently wind down to make this a bedtime favorite no matter what language families say “good night” in!

Honorable Mentions
The Audition book
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Jack & Louisa Act 2 book
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The Littlest Mummy book
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  1. The Audition - Bunheads meets The Kicks in this first novel in a brand-new middle grade trilogy from New York Times bestselling author, dancer, model, and actress Maddie Ziegler! Twelve-year-old Harper has been dancing practically since she could walk. She loves her dance studio and team, and just won her first ever top junior solo in a regional competition. But right before the school year starts, Harper’s parents drop a bombshell—the family has to relocate from their cozy town in Connecticut to sunny Florida for their jobs. That means goodbye to her friends, dance team, trips to see shows in NYC—and did she mention dance team? When she arrives at her new dance school and new team, it feels like everyone has better feet, quicker turns and faster taps than Harper. And it doesn’t help that a group of girls, who nicknamed themselves The Bunheads, wonder how the heck she made the team if she can’t even do a simple turn sequence in front of the class. Thankfully, Harper befriends Lily, a fellow newbie in the studio who is just as eager to make her mark and find a friendly face. With a big competition coming up for the dance team, Harper is determined to show everyone—especially those Bunheads—what she’s made of. And when a very badly timed injury threatens all of the work they have done, The Bunheads, Lily, and Harper must learn to truly work together to give them their best shot at the top spot!

  2. Jack & Louisa Act 2 - Cast opposite each other when their middle school stages a production of Guys and Dolls, Jack and Lou find their ambitions of stardom threatened by a mysterious new director, a Broadway-level dance call and a new stage competitor.

  3. The Littlest Mummy - From the New York Times bestselling author who brought us The Littlest Pilgrim comes a sweet new Halloween story filled with gentle spooky fun and one adorable little mummy friend! Mae may be the littlest mummy in the Spooky Woods, but she has a big desire to dance with her family at the big Halloween bash! But Mae just can’t seem to moan, groan, and look scary, no matter how hard she shuffles and shouts. Will Mae be able to participate in the party, or is the littlest mummy just too little?

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Books About Dance and The Nutcracker

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Nutcracker
Written by E.T.A. Hoffmann & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children’s books of the year.” — New York Times Book Review

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Christmas production of Nutcracker and created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book. He joined with the eminent translator Ralph Manheim to produce this illustrated edition of Hoffmann’s wonderful tale, destined to become a classic for all ages.

The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak’s art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann’s story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.

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The Nutcracker (Musical Books)
Written by Fiona Watt & illustrated by Dan Taylor
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Push, pull, and slide into the holiday magic of The Nutcracker! Bring the classic Nutcracker story to life by pulling the tabs, spinning the wheels, and sliding the characters in First Stories: The Nutcracker. Join Clara and the Nutcracker as they go on a magical journey in this beloved tale based on the beautiful ballet. With movements on every page, youngsters will love this engaging introduction to the holiday classic.

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The Nutcracker
Written by Patrick Regan & illustrated by Natasha Kuricheva
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

Experience the magic of Tchaikovsky’s classic tale with this lavishly illustrated keepsake book. The Nutcracker is a magical story beloved by generations of children. Follow along as enchanted toys spring to life, dancers glide and twirl, and a little girl learns that kindness is the greatest gift of all. This familiar and charming tale combines with Natasha Kuricheva’s lavishly painted illustrations to create a keepsake book for the whole family to enjoy.

Honorable Mentions
The Nutcracker book
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Disney The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: A Center Stage Pop-Up Book book
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The Nutcracker book
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The Nutcracker book
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  1. The Nutcracker - New York Times bestselling artist and Caldecott Honor winner Susan Jeffers has created a Nutcracker as only she can—with lavish illustrations, magnificent detail, a glitter-brushed cover, and enchanting holiday scenes on every page. This is The Nutcracker as you’ve never seen it before! Makes a lovely keepsake and gift. Join Marie, Fritz, and the intriguing Nutcracker himself on a magical Christmas Eve adventure. Behold the frightful Mouse King, the elegant Sugar Plum fairies, and the entire Land of Sweets in this dazzling, gorgeously illustrated holiday classic. With spare text based on the story in the ballet, this book offers a front-row seat to the enthralling tale that is a perennial favorite of adults and children alike. And for Susan Jeffers fans looking for extra content, an author’s note is included at the end of the book, in which she explains what inspired her to turn this holiday tradition into a show-stopping picture book.

  2. Disney The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: A Center Stage Pop-Up Book - The Ballerina of the Realms dances on every page of this magical book! From Disney’s all-new live action film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, follow the elegant Ballerina of the Realms as she dances center stage in this artistic pop-up book, celebrating each of the unique and picturesque Four Realms. This beautiful format is a perfect holiday gift for fans of this classic tale, full of colorful characters and no shortage of surprises.

  3. The Nutcracker - Adults as well as children look forward to attending an annual performance of The Nutcracker. To sweeten the anticipation and prolong the joy — or just to establish a lovely tradition—settle in with this charming retelling of a young girl’s dreamy visit to the Land of the Sugarplum Fairy. The story is enhanced with magnificent color illustrations created especially for this edition by the late award-winning artist Don Daily. This high-quality, handsomely produced volume is destined for the permanent home library.

  4. The Nutcracker - Each December, generations of children delight in the ballet version of the quintessential Christmas story The Nutcracker. But few have had the opportunity to revel in the richly detailed original tale. Now, in this glorious new edition, acclaimed children’s book author and editor Janet Schulman returns to the source’E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice.” Here we meet Marie, her Nutcracker, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and all the other delightful characters, and we discover the answers to questions left unanswered by the ballet, like why the Nutcracker and the King of Mice were enemies.

Books About Dance and Christmas

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The Snowman Shuffle
Written by Christianne C. Jones & illustrated by Emma Randall
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Spin like a snowflake, swoosh like the wind, and shuffle like a snowman in this interactive board book. The rhyming text and fun instruction will delight both adults and children and chase away any winter blues!

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The Nutcracker: A BabyLit Dancing Primer
Written by Jennifer Adams & illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

BabyLit(R) is a fashionable way to introduce your baby to the world of classic literature With this colorfully illustrated board book version of the classic Christmas-time ballet, Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver present a new holiday favorite, The Nutcracker: A BabyLit(R) Dancing Primer. This board book features soldiers marching, mice prancing, snowflakes swirling, dolls bending, and buffoons skipping as a way to introduce basic movement terms to babies and toddlers. Jennifer Adams is the author of many books including Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen and the popular Edgar the Raven series. Jennifer works as a writer and editor in Salt Lake City, Utah. Alison Oliver runs Sugar design studio. Her design portfolio includes everything from logos to packaging and product design for clients such as Chronicle Books, Citibabes, and Aerie. She lives in New York.

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The Reindeer Dance
Written by Christianne C. Jones & illustrated by Emma Randall
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Move those hooves and dance and prance like a reindeer in this interactive holiday board book. Fresh art and rhyming text will inspire both children and adults to get up and move during the cold winter days!

Honorable Mentions
The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet book
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The Nutcracker: The Original Holiday Classic book
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The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition book
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The Nutcracker's Night Before Christmas book
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  1. The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet - Celebrate the season with one of the most beloved holiday stories of all-time, The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet. The perfect addition to your Christmastime! Featuring glorious illustrations by Caldecott Honor-winner, Diane Goode, this beautiful and adventurous classic tale will dance its way into your family’s holiday traditions for years to come.

  2. The Nutcracker: The Original Holiday Classic - Publishing just in time for the forthcoming 2018 film adaptation, this edition of The Nutcracker is sure to enchant readers young and old. On Christmas Eve, seven-year-old Marie and her eight-year-old brother Fritz anxiously await their Christmas gifts. When their godfather—a clock builder and toymaker—arrives, he unveils an ornate clockwork castle adorned with whirling figurines for the children. While Fritz plays with the clock, Marie is taken aside and given another gift—a nutcracker. After Fritz grabs the nutcracker from Marie and breaks its jaw by cracking too many nuts, their playtime ends and they head off to bed. When the clock strikes twelve, magic makes its way into this enduring tale and an epic battle ensues. This timeless classic, featuring all-new full-color and black-and-white illustrations by artist Arkady Roytman and abridged text by Gina Gold, is the perfect story to get anyone in the holiday spirit!

  3. The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition - Every December, The Nutcracker comes to life in theaters all across the United States. But how did this 19th-century Russian ballet become such a big part of the holidays in 21st-century America? Meet Willam, Harold, and Lew Christensen, three small-town Utah boys who caught the ballet bug in the early 1900s. They performed on vaudeville and took part in the New York City dance scene. Russian immigrants shared the story of The Nutcracker with them, and during World War II, they staged their own Christmastime production in San Francisco. It was America’s first full-length version and the beginning of a delightful holiday tradition.

  4. The Nutcracker's Night Before Christmas - In The Nutcracker’s Night Before Christmas preparations for a doomed stage production of the classic ballet goes from terribly bad to ridiculously worse. Sick stagehands, renegade cats, and crashing Christmas trees have everyone sure that the show won’t go on. But it’s Christmas Eve and help is on the way! Told in verse with wonderful whimsical illustrations, this story hits all the right notes for holiday reading.

Books About Dance and Feelings And Emotions

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Pilar's Worries
Written by Victoria M Sanchez & illustrated by Jess Golden
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Pilar loves to dance. She pliés while brushing her teeth. She leaps when hurrying to ballet class. But when tryouts for her favorite ballet are held, Pilar is anxious. Auditioning makes her whole body feel scared. But by using some of the coping techniques she’s learned and focusing on her love for ballet, she is able to persevere. This gentle story is a great tool for children dealing with anxiety.

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Wally Does Not Want a Haircut
Written & illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Wally the sheep does not want to get the haircut he really needs, even after all the other farm animals get new hairdos, but when his shaggy wool gets him in trouble, he has no choice but to ask for a trim.

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Son of Happy
Written by Cary Fagan & illustrated by Milan Pavlović
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The boy in this story never wants to go to his friends’ birthday parties, because Happy the Clown is always there. And Happy is … his dad.

He wishes his dad had a regular job, like all the other kids’ parents. He didn’t mind his dad being a clown when he was a little kid, but now it’s just embarrassing. And even worse, since business is slow, his dad is putting a sign on the front lawn advertising his clown services!

But one night at dinner Dad announces that he’s going back to his old job of being a lawyer. “You were a lawyer?” the boy asks, incredulous.

Now his dad wears a suit and tie to work, the family can buy a new car, his mom can take piano lessons, and he can have a skateboard and cellphone.

But something feels different. The boy wonders if his dad misses being a clown. Or is he the one who misses Happy?

With bittersweet humor, Cary Fagan brings us a story about a boy’s growing consciousness and a father’s realization that he can be himself.

Honorable Mentions
Hanazuki: Dazzle and Dance book
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Oopsie-do! book
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Room 555 book
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Daddy Can't Dance book
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  1. Hanazuki: Dazzle and Dance - Calling all Moonflowers! When Hanazuki and her friends hear about a talent competition on Celebrity Moon, they all want to win the grand prize. Each Moonflower pulls together a team to show off their best talents, and they practice, practice, practice! But Hanazuki’s team is cracking under the pressure. With a little help from Lavender Hemka, she’s going to show them that all they need is a little inspiration! Then Team Hanazuki will be ready to take on Celebrity Moon and the whole galaxy.

  2. Oopsie-do! - “Cheery and affirming.” —Kirkus From Grammy Award–winning musician and TV host Tim Kubart and illustrator Lori Richmond comes a lively picture book debut that reassures children that it’s okay to make mistakes! When a girl drops her snack or scrapes her knee, does she get upset? No! She says, “Oopsie-do!” Readers will delight as they follow along and call out the OOPSIE-DO! refrain throughout the story. This delightful picture book also includes the link to a free original song by Grammy winner Tim Kubart, available for download and sure to be a part of every repeat reading.

  3. Room 555 - Fourteen-year-old Roonie loves hip-hop almost as much as she loves her grandmother. She cannot wait to compete in her school’s dance competition. But as her grandmother’s health deteriorates, Roonie becomes more and more reluctant to visit her in the care home. These feelings of guilt and frustration cause Roonie to mess things up with her hip-hop dance partner and best friend, Kira. But while doing some volunteer hours in the hospital geriatric ward, Roonie meets an active senior recovering from a bad fall. Their shared love of dance and the woman’s zest for life help Roonie face her fears, make amends with Kira and reconnect with Gram before it’s too late.

  4. Daddy Can't Dance - Katie and her father are invited to a Daddy-Daughter dance, the only problem is that her father is not a good dancer—he frequently steps on his partner’s feet.

Books About Dance and Cats

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Bijou, Bonbon and Beau
Written by Joan Sweeney & illustrated by Leslie Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Three little kittens create a sensation when they join dancers onstage of a Parisian theater known for its ballet and for the artist who paints there.

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Jellicle Cats
Written by TS Eliot & illustrated by Arthur Robins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Jellicle Cats come one and all.

_Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.

_Join the Jellicle Cats under the Jellicle Moon in the forth picture-book pairing from Arthur Robins and T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s cats, as they dance the night away.

To sit alongside other classics such as The Gruffalo, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and Spot.

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It's a Secret!
Written & illustrated by John Burningham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

One evening Marie Elaine and her neighbor Norman go with Malcolm the cat to a secret place, where they dance and party with the Queen of the Cats.

Honorable Mentions
Mousequerade Ball: A Counting Tale book
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Ballet Kitty: Christmas Recital book
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  1. Mousequerade Ball: A Counting Tale - In a castle on a hill, in a great grand hall, mice are getting ready for the Mousequerade Ball. They dress in their finest. What a grand affair! But when an unexpected guest arrives, the mice get quite a scare. Is the evening ruined? Should they run in fright? Or will a gallant mouse stand up and save the splendid night? Counting up to ten and back again, dancing all the while, this delightful story invites readers—and dancers—to the event of the season: the Mousequerade Ball!

  2. Ballet Kitty: Christmas Recital - It’s Christmas—and for Ballet Kitty, that means The Nutcracker! She’s going to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy, her favorite role from the ballet, at a real recital. Kitty’s so excited she can hardly wait. But when her very best friend wants to dance the same solo, suddenly the show isn’t fun anymore. This charming tale of friendship, ballet, and the thrill of being onstage will enchant little ballerinas everywhere.

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Books About Dance and Multicultural

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Thank You, Garden
Written by Liz Garton Scanlon & illustrated by Simone Shin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the author of the Caldecott Honor–winning picture book All the World comes an exuberant, lyrical celebration of the plants—and people—that grow and thrive in a busy community garden.

A community garden unites children and neighbors in this celebration of all the things that grow there, from flowers and fruits to friendships. In the spirit of her Caldecott Honor­–winning picture book All the World, this ode to friendship, community, and working together for a better world will have young readers gathering their friends young and old to plant something together.

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How Do You Dance?
Written & illustrated by Thyra Heder
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A playful picture book that urges readers to bop, bounce, and shake from the author of Fraidyzoo There are so many ways to dance! You can jiggle or wiggle or stomp. You can bop or bounce or go completely nuts. You can dance at the market or the bus stop, with your fingers or your face. You can dance because you’re happy or even because you’re sad. But, what’s the best way to dance? Exactly how you want to! In How Do You Dance?, author-illustrator Thyra Heder explores dance in all of its creativity, humor, and—most of all—joy, in a picture-book celebration of personal expression that will inspire young and old readers alike to get up and get moving.

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Dance with the Animals
Written & illustrated by Ella Bailey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

This delightful mix and match title features animal characters from around the world. Wolf, Lemur, Panda, and friends have gathered together for a night of twirling, twisting, clapping, clicking and tapping. Ella Baileys beautiful illustrations can be mixed and matched to create cute characters in fun outfits, while the text suggests mix and match actions that young readers can do to join in with the animals fun. The split page board format is attractive and robust, perfect for little hands to play with over and over again. Children aged two and up can enjoy the charming illustrations independently, and used with a parent or guardian, the fun join in actions add a further interactive dimension, promoting coordination and cognitive development.

Honorable Mentions
Feel the Beat book
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Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants! book
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  1. Feel the Beat - An irresistible book of poems about dancing that mimic the rhythms of social dances from cha-cha to two-step, by the acclaimed author of Mirror Mirror Marilyn Singer has crafted a vibrant collection of poems celebrating all forms of social dance from samba and salsa to tango and hip-hop. The rhythm of each poem mimics the beat of the dances’ steps. Together with Kristi Valiant’s dynamic illustrations, the poems create a window to all the ways dance enters our lives and exists throughout many cultures. This ingenious collection will inspire readers to get up and move! Included with the book is an audio CD of the author reading each poem accompanied by original music from composer Jonathon Roberts.

  2. Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants! - From Academy Award–nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis comes the second story in a brand-new series about best friends Shai and Emmie, two third-graders destined for superstardom. Shai Williams—third-grader and superstar in the making—loves to act, sing, and dance. So when her teacher, Ms. Englert, signs their class up for a major dance competition, Shai’s fancy moves are put to the test. Paired up with her best friend Emmie and classmate Rio, Shai plans to settle her competition jitters by just having fun. That is until her rival, Gabby Supreme, challenges her to a bet: whoever loses the dance competition has to bring the winner one cupcake every day for a month. Now Shai has to win.

Books About Dance and School

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The Third Wheel
Written & illustrated by Jeff Kinney
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Greg Heffley is not willing to be the odd man out.

A dance at Greg’s middle school has everyone scrambling to find a partner, and Greg is determined not to be left by the wayside. So he concocts a desperate plan to find someone—anyone!—to go with on the big night.

But Greg’s schemes go hilariously awry, and his only option is to attend the dance with his best friend, Rowley Jefferson, and a female classmate as a “group of friends.” But the night is long, and anything can happen along the way. Who will arrive at the dance triumphantly, and who will end up being the third wheel?

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Best. Night. Ever.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Love Actually meets Adventures in Babysitting in this “fun, fresh” (Kirkus Reviews) novel written by seven authors about seven classmates who are preparing for a crazy night at their middle school dance.

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So Done
Written by Paula Chase
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program.

Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and the importance of speaking up.

Jamila Phillips and Tai Johnson have been inseparable since they were toddlers, having grown up across the street from each other in Pirates Cove, a low-income housing project. As summer comes to an end, Tai can’t wait for Mila to return from spending a month with her aunt in the suburbs. But both girls are grappling with secrets, and when Mila returns she’s more focused on her upcoming dance auditions than hanging out with Tai.

Paula Chase explores complex issues that affect many young teens, and So Done offers a powerful message about speaking up. Full of ballet, basketball, family, and daily life in Pirates Cove, this memorable novel is for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Jason Reynolds’s Ghost.

Honorable Mentions
Ellen Tebbits book
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The Scarlet Slipper Mystery book
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Elle of the Ball book
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Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth book
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  1. Ellen Tebbits - Ellen Tebbits has an embarrassing secret that she’ll never share with anyone. That is, until she meets Austine—and discovers that Austine has the exact same secret! Soon the girls are best friends who do everything to­gether—attending dance class, riding horses, and dodging pesky Otis Spofford, the neighborhood troublemaker. But then Ellen does something terrible . . . and now Austine isn’t speaking to her. Ellen desperately wants her best friend back. How can she show Austine how sorry she is? Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary brings her warm humor to this funny story of a girl readers will recognize—and love.

  2. The Scarlet Slipper Mystery - Nancy meets Helene and Henri Fontaine, refugees from Centorvia who run a dancing school in River Heights. Strange circumstances have brought the brother and sister to the United States. When they receive an anonymous note threatening their lives, Nancy offers her help, but she encounters nothing but puzzles. Are the Fontaines involved with the Centrovian underground? Have they been threatened by their own countrymen? When the Fontaines disappear, Nancy and her friends pursue the trail, even though danger lurks around every corner.

  3. Elle of the Ball - From 2015 WNBA MVP, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, and global ambassador to the Special Olympics Elena Delle Donne comes the first novel in a brand-new middle grade series with as much heart as there is game. Elle Deluca is a seventh grader who is tall—not just sort of tall. She’s six feet tall. And for a twelve-year-old girl, this means that her basketball team has high hopes for her changing positions and becoming their starting center. But a new position is not the only footwork she has to learn. Her class’s dance unit in gym is coming up, and that means she has to learn ballroom dance steps with a boy much shorter than her—and perform publically for a grade. In the first book in WNBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist Elena Delle Donne’s Hoops series, Elle must figure out a way to remain herself when others want her to be someone else.

  4. Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth - Zack Delacruz is unnoticed at his middle school—and that’s just the way he likes it. But a school assembly, a typhoon of spit, and an uncharacteristic moment of bravery are all it takes to change everything. Suddenly Zack is in charge of the class fundraiser. Worse, his partner is the school’s biggest bully! If they don’t sell all the chocolate bars, there will be no dance for the sixth grade. Zack never wanted to be a hero, but with his classmates’ hopes on the line, can he save the day?

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