Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Picture Books that Celebrate Dance

Everyday, I've noticed that my four-year-old bursts out dancing. Sometimes it lasts only a few seconds. But sometimes, if there's some really good music happening, he'll just dance and dance his little heart out for a while. More and more, I've been joining him and by the end we're laughing and having a good time. Sometimes my 15yo even joins in!

This, of course, got me to thinking about just how important movement and dance is to children. So I started looking on my bookshelf and found a few bilingual picture books about dance. I decided to go ahead and just put together a list of 10 awesome picture books that feature dance (some also highlight culture) for children. I hope you enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my sidebar for more information.

by Rachelle Burk

Toddlers are natural dancers and they love to move! Channel toddlers’ energy and help them develop balance, coordination, and control with the help of this engaging choice in dance books for toddlers. Moving along with the story will help stimulate little brains and provide a fun, creative way to build spatial awareness. Tons of colorful pictures offer toddlers visual clues for the movements, and rhyming words make reading aloud feel like music!

Movement and motor skills―Little ones will begin by isolating individual body parts, like their hands, hips, arms, and toes.

Dynamic dancing―Toddlers will harness their imagination to dance the prancing pony, flapping chicken, and twirling pinwheel.

Keep the fun going―Explore a list of online dance videos and resources to help them keep moving and developing even when the book is finished.

Set the stage for an active childhood with this standout in toddler books!

by Thyra Heder

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?, award-wining 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.

by Duncan Tonatiuh

As a child, Amalia Hernández saw a pair of dancers in the town square. The way they stomped and swayed to the rhythm of the beat inspired her. She knew one day she would become a dancer.

 Amalia studied ballet and modern dance under the direction of skilled teachers who had performed in world-renowned dance companies. But she never forgot the folk dance she had seen years earlier. She began traveling through the Mexican countryside, witnessing the dances of many regions, and she used her knowledge of ballet and modern dance to adapt the traditional dances to the stage. She founded her own dance company, a group that became known as el Ballet Folklórico de México.

 Using his signature illustration style, inspired by the ancient art of the Mixtecs, award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh tells the story of Amalia Hernández and the formation of the Folkloric Ballet, one of the most famous and successful dance companies in the world.

by Lupe Ruiz-Flores

Lupita is excited about dancing la raspa, a Mexican folk dance, with her first-grade class at a celebration of Children's Day. But she's devastated when she learns right before the show that her partner Ernesto sprained his right ankle.

She had been practicing for weeks. And now her family won't get to see her, swishing and swaying in her beautiful dress full of colorful ribbons. Lupita sadly watches the other dancers from backstage behind the blue velvet curtain. But suddenly, she finds herself on stage, in the spot where she and Ernesto should have been. She begins to dance the routine she knows so well, holding her arms out to an imaginary partner, and almost flees when the audience laughs at her.

But the sight of her mother encourages her to be brave. She continues the dance, becoming the star of the show at least in the eyes of her proud teacher and parents.

by Raquel M. Ortiz

A sweet story that follows a young girl as she learns the Afro-Latino dance, Bomba!

Julia tries to imitate the best dancer in the class, but her turns are still too slow, her steps too big. She just can't do anything right! When the instructor announces the younger students will be participating in the bombazo and performing a solo, Julia is terrified. When it s her turn, she takes a deep breath, closes her eyes and focuses on the beat of the drum. As she dances, Julia notices that the drums are actually talking to her. Feeling braver, she stops worrying and trying so hard. Instead, she loses herself in the rhythm of the bomba drums and enjoys herself!

Introducing children and adults! to the Afro-Latino tradition of bomba music and dancing, author and educator Raquel M. Ortiz shares another story for children ages 5-9 about her rich Puerto Rican heritage. With lively illustrations by Flor de Vita that aptly express Julia's frustration, fear and joy, this book will help children understand that practicing whether dance steps, dribbling a ball or playing a musical instrument yields results!

by Marilyn Singer

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.

by Cynthia L Smith

The cone-shaped jingles sewn to Grandma Wolfe's dress sing tink, tink, tink, tink…

Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared over generations in her family and intertribal community. She hopes to dance at the next powwow.

But with the day quickly approaching, she has a problem—how will her dress sing if it has no jingles?

by Tara Rao

Moving to a new country, new city, new school and making new friends is difficult for everyone. But a little encouragement from family, teacher and friends, can make it very exciting! And it's always fun to share your culture and love for dance with everyone! This book takes a look at traditional dances from India.

by Once Upon a Dance

Each Dance-It-Out! story is a kids’ dance performance for the imagination stage. Ballerina Konora joins the fun with dance suggestions on each page. Three books in one: readers can enjoy the story, act out the tale in their own way, or follow Konora’s suggested moves, designed by an award-winning ballet teacher to improve body coordination and teach dance fundamentals.

Dayana, Dax, and the Dancing Dragon is an independent story in the Dance-It-Out! collection and is ideal for kids 4-7. While there are some challenging movements, this story would make a great series introduction. Featured characters include Dayana (she/her), Dax (he/him), and Dragon Kadeena (non-gendered, no pronoons). Dance-It-Out!s are a bit above level (language-wise) as they are often initially enjoyed with a caregiver or teacher.

Movement, technique, and dance concepts in this story include:

  • Gallop/Chassé
  • Plié
  • Passé (shown but not discussed)
  • Spin/Twirl
  • Jump
  • Kick
  • Russian/Character Dance: Coffee Grinder/Helicopter
  • Rocking/Weight Shift
  • Extended Legs/Arms
  • Activating/Relaxing Muscles
  • Movement Quality

by Anitra Rowe Schulte

Elsie can’t wait to go to her first father-daughter dance. She picked out the perfect dress and has been practicing swirling and swaying in her wheelchair. Elsie’s heart pirouettes as she prepares for her special night. With gestures, smiles, and words from a book filled with pictures, she shares her excitement with her family. But when a winter storm comes, she wonders if she’ll get the chance to spin and dance her way to a dream come true.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...