New Children’s Books With Dance Themes


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This list of new children’s books with dance themes was originally published in our kid lit newsletter, The Kids Are Al Right. Sign up for it here to receive news and recommendations from the world of kid lit and middle grade books.

Hi Kid Lit Friends!

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

Bunheads by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey

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

Charlotte and the Nutcracker: The True Story of a Girl Who Made Ballet History by Charlotte Nebres, illustrations by Alea Marley

In 2019, Charlotte Nebres became the first Black dancer to be cast as Marie in the New York City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. This sweet autobiographical picture book tells the story of how her hard work led to starring as Marie as well as her holiday traditions.

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

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

And new books coming this spring…

Sunrise Dance by Serena Gingold Allen, illustrated by Teagan White (4/5/22, Chronicle Books, board book)

This interactive board book with pull tabs is both beautifully illustrated and very sweet. Watch animals spin and fly and bustle from their dens in a riotous celebration of spring!

John’s Turn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kate Berube (3/1/22, Candlewick Press, picture book)

This wonderful children’s book is filled with tender illustrations and a lovely story about a boy who is waiting for his turn at Friday Assembly where they have a “Sharing Gifts” portion. I just loved this book, especially the ending. 🙂



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