Best Kids Books About Dance

41 Kids Books About Dance

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Wally Does Not Want a Haircut book
#1
Wally Does Not Want a Haircut
Written and 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.

Giant Dance Party book
#2
Giant Dance Party
Written by Betsy Bird and 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.

Barnyard Boogie! book
#3
Barnyard Boogie!
Written by Tim McCanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The Barnyard Band is performing today. All the musicians are coming to play! Each animal musician knows what to do, but Cow can only moo! This charming book is a wonderful read-aloud featuring musical sounds and a refrain children will love repeating. Tim McCanna's playful text will have children laughing at the funny musical sounds, and Allison Black's energetic illustrations will make children want to get up and move. Barnyard Boogie! is full of rhyming and nonsense sounds that will enrich and delight.

Feel the Beat book
#4
Feel the Beat
Written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Kristi Valiant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

The Acrobat book
#5
The Acrobat
Written and illustrated by Alborozo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An acrobat gets fed up of no one ever noticing him, so leaves the circus to find somewhere where his talents are appreciated.

It's a Secret! book
#6
It's a Secret!
Written and 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.

Bagel in Love book
#7
Bagel in Love
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Helen Dardik
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

Poor Bagel! He dreams of entering the Cherry Jubilee dance contest . . . but no one wants to be his partner! Can he find a sweet-tart who doesn't think his steps are half-baked? Bagel loved to dance. It made him happier than a birthday cake! And more than anything, he wants a partner who will spin and swirl, tap and twirl with him in the dance contest. But Pretzel sniffs that he doesn't cut the mustard, Croissant thinks his moves are stale, and Doughnut's eyes just glaze over. Can a cute cupcake save the day for our would-be Fred clair? Witty and pun-filled, this picture book really takes the cake.

Ballet Kitty: Christmas Recital book
#8
Ballet Kitty: Christmas Recital
Written by Bernette Ford and illustrated by Sam Williams
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Rehearsing to perform the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in a recital of scenes from "The Nutcracker," an excited Ballet Kitty wonders about what to do when her best friend wants to dance the same solo.

My Story, My Dance book
#9
My Story, My Dance
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

A boy discovers his passion for dance and becomes a modern hero in this inspiring picture book biography of Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. When Robert Battle was a boy wearing leg braces, he never dreamed he’d study at Juilliard. Though most dancers begin training at an early age, it wasn’t until Robert was a teenager that his appreciation for movement—first from martial arts, then for ballet—became his passion. But support from his family and teachers paired with his desire and determination made it possible for Robert to excel. After years of hard work, the young man who was so inspired by a performance of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations became the artistic director of the very company that motivated him. Today, under Robert’s leadership, Alvin Ailey continues to represent the African American spirit through dance. Featuring illustrations brimming with vibrant color and swirling motion, this biographical picture book from husband-and-wife team James Ransome and Lisa Cline-Ransome includes a foreword from Robert Battle himself as well as a bibliography, suggested further reading, and an author’s note. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was founded in 1958 by choreographer Alvin Ailey. He envisioned a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience. When Mr. Ailey began creating dances, he drew upon his “blood memories” of his home state of Texas, the blues, spirituals, and gospel inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work, Revelations. Since its founding, the company has performed in seventy-one countries on six continents. It’s repertory includes works by Mr. Ailey and ninety other choreographers, and new works are commissioned each year. Judith Jamison succeeded Mr. Ailey as artistic director, and in 2011, she selected Robert Battle to be her successor. Learn more at AlvinAiley.org.

The Log Driver's Waltz book
#10
The Log Driver's Waltz
Written by Wade Hemsworth and illustrated by Jennifer Phelan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-99

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.

The Nutcracker book
#11
The Nutcracker
Written by E.T.A. Hoffman and illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Swan Lake book
#12
Swan Lake
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With flash, the lake was based in a shimmering light, and before him stood the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. “I am the Swan Queen,” she said. “I am the swan that you tried to kill.” A prince's love for a swan queen breaks an evil spell in this fairy tale adaptation of the beloved ballet written by Tchaikovsky Swan Lake is perhaps the best-loved ballet of all time. Hans Christian Andersen Medal-winner Lisbeth Zwerger brings her singular vision to a glorious picture-book adaptation of the haunting story of an enchanted swan princess. She has based her version on Tchaikovsky’s original 1877 ballet, which had a happy ending, unlike the later, better-known, 1893 version. Her illustrations, luminous, lyrical, filled with grace and beauty, evoke the brilliance of the ballet and the universal appeal of this beloved fairy tale.

Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show book
#13
Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show
Written by Tomie dePaola and illustrated by Jim Lewis, 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.

Monster Boogie book
#14
Monster Boogie
Written by Laurie Berkner and illustrated by Ben Clanton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!

Piggy Pie Po book
#15
Piggy Pie Po
Written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Dance, count, and laugh with Piggy Pie Po! Piggy Pie Po is many things--he's silly, smart, and a little bit mischievous. But above all, he's the most lovable pig you'll ever meet. These three playful (and extremely short) stories from award-winning husband and wife team Don and Audrey Wood show the many sides of Piggy Pie Po through page-turning rhymes and vibrant illustrations that will have children asking to read the book again and again. "Though perfect for storytime, the simple language and limited text per page will appeal to beginning readers as well. This sweet tale will have wide appeal." --School Library Journal Who is Piggy Pie Po? Just the smartest (maybe), messiest (probably), silliest (definitely) piggy you'll ever meet. In these three small and playful stories, he's sure to become every child's most unforgettable new friend. Award-winning team Audrey and Don Wood's picture books have been loved by children and parents for more than twenty-five years.

Mousequerade Ball: A Counting Tale book
#16
Mousequerade Ball: A Counting Tale
Written by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Betsy Lewin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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!

Footloose book
#17
Footloose
Written by Kenny Loggins and illustrated by Tim Bowers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

In this version of the pop rock song "Footloose," zookeeper Jack joins the zoo animals in an all-night dance party.

Dance with the Animals book
#18
Dance with the Animals
Written and 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.

The Little Dancers: Showtime! book
#19
The Little Dancers: Showtime!
Written by Maryann Macdonald and illustrated by Mandy Sutcliffe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

The little dancers are ready to shine on stage! Miss Amy’s ballet studio is putting on a dance performance called the Butterfly Ball. Rosa and her four friends rehearse leaping, balancing, and twirling to perfect their dances for the recital! But when Rosa's audition goes awry, she is cast in a disappointing role. Rosa feels like all her hard work was for nothing, until her friends help her discover her small part is of great importance. Rosa feels as beautiful as a butterfly . . . and maybe even more special! Illustrated by Belle & Boo creator Mandy Sutcliffe, The Little Dancers is a lovely picture book about friendship, self-esteem, and the magic of dance. An Imprint Book

My First Ballet Class book
#20
My First Ballet Class
Written and illustrated by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Young readers can learn all about what happens at ballet class in this Pre-level 1 Ready-to-Read with sweet text and photographs of ballerinas-in-training! It’s the first day of ballet class in this early reader by Biscuit creator Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Put on your dancing shoes! What will it be like? Ballerinas wear ballet slippers, learn different foot positions, and twirl across the dance floor. Young readers will love seeing kids their age practicing ballet, learning words like sashay, and more in this adorable introduction to the sport! Includes a special section of step-by-step instructions for basic ballet moves—to be done with a parent or guardian’s supervision.

One More Dino on the Floor book
#21
One More Dino on the Floor
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Luke Flowers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It's a hip-hopping, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, finger-snapping good time when the dinosaurs go out on the dance floor! One by one (and all the way up to ten), the dinosaurs get their groove on in this delightful counting book! With bright and colorful illustrations and fun, rhythmic text, young readers will be tapping their feet to the Jurassic beat!

Pilar's Worries book
#22
Pilar's Worries
Written by Victoria M Sanchez and 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.

The Sleeping Beauty book
#23
The Sleeping Beauty
Written by New York City Ballet and illustrated by Valeria Docampo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Gracie Laroo Sets Sail book
#24
Gracie Laroo Sets Sail
Written by Marsha Qualey and illustrated by Kristyna Litten
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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.

Yoga for Kids book
#25
Yoga for Kids
Written by Lorena V Pajalunga and illustrated by Anna Forlati
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little boy begins taking yoga lessons at the zoo, where he learns that he can mimic the animals there with simple yoga poses. When he returns home after his lessons, he practices with his cat, Nino. With an illustration of each animal pose and a description of how to do it on each page, this enchanting book makes the perfect instruction guide for even the smallest yogi.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.