8 Delightful Children’s Books From 2023
December 19, 2023

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a dance book at home with your little one or share an inspiring story with your students in class, this year’s children’s dance-book debuts—mostly penned by dancers—will make wonderful holiday gifts and welcome additions to your studios or home bookshelves.

Sweet Reading at Home With Little Ones 

Hervé Tullet’s Tap! Tap! Tap! Dance! Dance! Dance! is an interactive book where your hands dance and the pages become the dance floor. The book is in large format to make space for moving on and between the pages. Tullet’s bright color choices add an energy of fun and play. Explore Tap! Tap! Tap! Dance! Dance! Dance! with curious movers ages 2 to 5.

Sofia’s First Ballet Class, by studio owner Sara DeGennaro, makes use of rhyming text and is a fun book for new dancers ages 3 to 6. The book shares Sofia’s experience as she gets ready for her first class. It’s sweet, joyful, and gentle.

At the Studio and School: Picture Books for K–5 Students

For elementary-age students, picture books are a key component for young dancers to imagine and be inspired by real-life journeys. They are also versatile, as they can be enjoyed while waiting in a studio lobby or at the school or community library.

Written by Rockette performer Sydney Mesher with collaborator Catherine Laudone, and illustrated by Natelle Quek, She Kept Dancing: The True Story of a Professional Dancer with a Limb Difference is a beautiful and important picture book to add to your collection. This book shares the true story of Mesher, a Rockette, who was born with a limb difference. Suitable for K–3 students, She Kept Dancing is a story of perseverance beyond perceptions and of pursuing big performing dreams.

A nice pairing alongside Mesher’s book is Gloria’s Promise, the latest installment in American Ballet Theatre’s picture book series. Author/illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser is also a former professional dancer, and here she collaborates with her sister Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman. Gloria’s Promise tells the story of a young dancer auditioning for the ABT summer program. The book describes the audition experience and working through nerves and a little tumble. In the end, Gloria still gets her opportunity to be in the program. Get a window into the story and catch the co-authors reading the book here.

More Books for Dancing

The prolific Once Upon A Dance series has over 20 books specifically designed for dancing with preschoolers and elementary-age students. The stories and ideas leap off the pages through playful tales of both people and animals. Each two-page spread includes a few photographs of a dancer (Konora) and gives movement directions and options to explore each section of the story. Once Upon A Dance books are great additions to your studio’s collection. And be sure to check out these three 2023 titles:

Sora Searches for a Song, by Christine Herbert; illustrated by Scott Partridge 

Tammy the Troll: A Dance in the Forest, by Dina McDermott; illustrated by Cristian Gheorghita

Ella’s Dance Debut, with Konora; illustrated by Emilia Rumińska

Plus, a Chapter Book for Quiet Reading Alone

Miriam Landis’ captivating new chapter book Lauren in the Limelight is perfect for fourth- to sixth-graders. Many themes—told through the perspective of multiple sixth-grade characters—abound: friendship, determination, and competition, as well as larger concepts of race, gender, and parent/child relationships. Landis even infuses the book with generous dance-specific details about starting on pointe and auditioning for summer programs.

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