Many children are drawn to dance. Whether they take part in lessons, compete on stage or just dance to music in their bedroom, they love moving and expressing their emotions to music. One of the best ways to encourage literacy learning is to find books that relate to your child’s interests and passions. That is exactly why we have decided to put this list of books together. All six of the children’s books highlighted below focus on dance, and your little ones will want to read them over and over again. They might even want to have a dance party when storytime is over!
Firebird by Misty Copeland
This amazing book was written by world-renowned ballerina Misty Copeland. In the story, Copeland’s character acts as a mentor for a young girl who doesn’t believe she can dance. The ballerina inspires the girl to believe in herself over the course of the story. She explains that becoming a proffesional dancer takes hard work, and that perserverance brings one closer to their dreams. Young dancers will love this poetic tale of dedication and determination.
Ballerino Nate by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ballerino Nate tells the story of a young boy who develops a passion for dance. After seeing a ballet as part of a school field trip, Nate realizes that he wants to be a ballet dancer. Even though he loves trying new moves and learning about dance, his brother discourages him. Nate begins to think that his brother is right… maybe boys can’t do ballet! Luckily, Nate is encouraged by his parents (and others) throughout the book and he decides to pursue his dreams. The message of Ballerino Nate is so important; it reminds readers that everyone can dance, and that a child’s love of dance should be celebrated!
Rap A Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles – Think of That by Leo & Diane Dillon
Tap dancer and legend Bill “Bojangles” Robinson is the main character in this charming children’s book. In the story, Bojangles dances around town, spreading joy to all of those around him. Rap A Tap Tap is truly a celebration of dance, showing how it connects community members and makes people happy. The story also has a wonderful pattern and rythym to it, which is tied to the style of dance that is being showcased: tap! It is a fantastic book that will make everyone want to tap their toes!
Powwow Dancing With Family by Perry Smith
Powwow Dancing with Family was written and illustrated by a Canadian author named Perry Smith. The author is Indigenous and has written the book from the perspective of two of his children: his young sons, who love to dance! This book gives the reader the chance to learn more about powwow dancing. It celebrates the strong bonds that are created between families who dance together and learn dance from one another. It is engaging and educational, and as a parent or caregiver, its a special book to read with your child.
I Will Dance by Nancy Bo Flood
I Will Dance is about a young girl who is living with cerebral palsy. At first, she thinks she will never have the opportunity to dance because of her wheelchair. Then, she finds out about a dance school for dancers of all abilities. After hoping, dreaming and imagining, she finally has the chance to dance freely and beautifully! The illustrations in the book are breathtaking, and it will leave children (and parents) feeling joyful and uplifted.
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen
This story was written by dancer and actress Debbie Allen. It is about a girl who loves ballet and dreams of being center stage. However, she is taller and has larger feet than the other girls in her ballet class, and sometimes she feels limited. While she does face many obstacles, she has the support of people around her, like her uncle. She practises and practises, and by the end of the story, she is able to achieve one of her ballet dreams! This book reminds children that you do not have to look a certain way in order to be a dancer.