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Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: I Am a Dancer

March 8th, 2014 (08:46 pm)
artistic

Current Mood: artistic
Current Song: Go For It by Girlfriend

I
I am a dancer
That's who I am
What I do

- lyrics from A Chorus Line

I have been dancing and singing all of my life. My mother says I did fan kicks in the womb. I performed for my cat and stuffed animals since - well, birth, then jumped on stage any and every chance I got. I still do.

I learned the gritty, gory details about ballet from books. I read The Sisters Impossible by J.D. Landis at a very young age and took various things away from the story. I knew couldn't afford all of the special training and items, especially the multiple pairs of shoes that bleeding ballerina feet require. I knew I was too short to ever be a prima ballerina. This didn't upset me at all, because, as I said earlier, I figured out that I didn't want to be a professional ballerina. I wanted to be loud and showy, and to sing while I danced. In any event, as a kid, I checked The Sisters Impossible out of the library countless times. The book is now out-of-print. Thanks to literaticat, I now own it. Oh, thank you, thank you!

In literature, both classic and contemporary, ballet tends to be the dominate dance detailed. Without further ado, here now is a list of my favorite pieces of juvenile fiction and teen fiction about dancers.

Picture Books
The Angelina Ballerina series by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig
Dancing to Freedom: The True Story of Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin, illustrated by Anne Spudvilas (non-fiction)
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
The Only Boy in Ballet Class by Denise Gruska, illustrated by Amy Wummer
Josephine Wants to Dance by Jackie French
The Belinda series by Amy Young
- Belinda the Ballerina
- Belinda in Paris
- Belinda and the Glass Slipper
- Belinda Begins Ballet

For ages 6 and up
Noelle of the Nutcracker by Pamela Jane, illustrated by Jan Brett
Roscoe Riley Rules #5: Don't Tap Dance on Your Teacher by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs
- "Kids need to know there's no such thing as just-for-boys stuff and just-for-girls stuff. Like for instance, dancing elephants can be boys or girls. Dancing mice too." - Page 4

For ages 8 and up
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
The Sisters Impossible by J.D. Landis
The Susie books by Lee Wyndham, especially Susie and the Ballet Family
The Jessi books in The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin, especially:
- #42 Jessi and the Dance School Phantom
- #61 Jessi and the Awful Secret
- #115 Jessi's Big Break
Kathleen: The Celtic Knot by Siobhan Parkinson
The Royal Ballet School Diaries series by Alexandra Moss
The Rumblewick Diaries #1: My Unwilling Witch Goes to Ballet School by Hiawyn Oram, illustrated by Sarah Warburton (Note: This series is called The Rumblewick Letters in the UK)
Brushing Mom's Hair by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Nicole Wong (verse novel)

Bonus: The Dancing Cats of Applesap by Janet Taylor Lisle - Note that this is realistic fiction, not fantasy, and the cats really do dance! They do not speak nor do they possess any supernatural abilities. No magic is involved, just good old-fashioned talent.

For ages 13 and up
On Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover
Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best by Maria Padian
A Dance of Sisters by Tracey Porter
Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You by Dorian Cirrone
A Time for Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin
- Sequel: The Farther You Run by Davida Wills Hurwin
The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman
House of Dance by Beth Kephart
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Someday Dancer by Sarah Rubin
Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati
Pirouette by Robyn Bavati
Marie, Dancing by Carolyn Meyer
According to Kit by Eugenie Doyle
Aria of the Sea by Dia Calhoun

Biographies
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

Related Booklists:
But I Don't Want to Be Famous!
But I DO Want to Be Famous!
Hey There, Sports Fan
Sing Sing Sing
Filmmakers in Fiction

Related Article:
Dance Dreams

Personal Notes and Additional Tidbits:

I wish I could have worked with Gene Kelly.

I firmly believe that dancers are athletes and artists.

For those wondering, my favorite types of dance are tap and character/jazz. I never pursued a career in classical ballet, preferring the aforementioned dance styles, but I have always loved tutus and ballet slippers.

I am very, very critical of modern movies dealing with hopeful singers and dancers. Just ask anyone who has been (un)fortunate enough to be in the room with me when Save the Last Dance or Center Stage comes on TV. That being said, I find the movie version of A Time for Dancing enjoyable, though it was not wholly true to the book. This is not only because I think Larisa Oleynik rocks, but because it was an decent film with decent dance sequences.

On July 31st, 2010: Happy National Dance Day!

Comments

Posted by: Trouble (literaticat)
Posted at: March 11th, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
batgirl year one

Sadly, the book is now out-of-print, and I do not own it

You want it?

Send me your address.

(literaticat at gmail dot com)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 11th, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)

Oh my gosh. THANK YOU!

Posted by: Trouble (literaticat)
Posted at: March 11th, 2007 07:41 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 11th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 11th, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC)

Thanks for including my book, Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You on your list! I'm a lover of dance books too. I loved Ballet Shoes and Dancing Shoes as a kid. I still remember the names of the characters in the books, which is pretty amazing since I barely remember what I had for dinner last night. I also remember a book, though not as well, called A Dream of Saddlers Wells. Did you read that one too? Also, I have a favorite picture book about a pig who wants to dance called Dumpy La Rue, by Elizabeth Winthrop. I think you'd like it.

Thanks again!
Dorian Cirrone

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 11th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)

Hi Dorian! I am flattered that you dropped by my book blog.

I loved the Shoes series. I wish that they were all still in print. (Only three of them are readily available in stores right now: Ballet, Dancing, and Theatre.) I send customers to the library regularly to check them out.

I have not yet read Wells nor LaRue - I shall have to track those down! Thank you for the recommendations.

Posted by: fa3ryg1rl (fa3ryg1rl)
Posted at: March 11th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)

A book that had to do with ballet that I loved was one of the Sweet Valley Twins books, it was #2 I think where the girls did Swan Lake. The title is Teacher's Pet. Awesome book.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 11th, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)

I recall that book.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)

Thanks for including On Pointe, LW! Your list dances right across the page!

Posted by: readergirlz (readergirlz)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)

I didn't mean to be anonymous and mysterious. :~) Just clicking too quickly!
Thanks again! Lorie Ann, readergirlz diva

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)

Posted by: micolz (micolz)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 03:36 am (UTC)

I must take a moment to plug a series I worked on at Grosset called "The Royal Ballet School Diaries." Written by Alexandra Moss, squarely middle grade mass market, but in conjunction with the British Royal Ballet Academy, so the dancey-dance stuff is handled properly. Lovely British-to-American glossaries in the back (with dance terminology included).

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC)

Ah! I adore those! I've read a good half-dozen of them so far. SO CUTE. I would have been engrossed in this series had it come out twenty years ago. Adding it to the list now. :)

Posted by: Emma (emmaco)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)

Thanks for putting a dancing list together! I wasn't interested in dance as a child (acting was more my thing) but I loved stories about dancers, including some of the ones you listed and Lorna Hill's "Wells" series that Dorian mentioned.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC)

You are welcome!

Acting-wise, have you checked out the But I Don't Want to Be Famous! booklist? I update that list all of the time.

I'm thinking of making a separate acting booklist that has some overlap with the . . . Famous! booklist, but will attract folks like this dancing list did - and my new singing list hopefully will too - as it will be solely focused on acting.

Have you ever read a book that sounds like the third book I list in this post? "The protagonist is a girl who performs with her parents." etc. I cannot think of the title and it is driving me batty.
http://slayground.livejournal.com/164548.html


Posted by: Emma (emmaco)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 09:46 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 12th, 2007 10:26 pm (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 13th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
English ballet books

Have you ever read the great ballet series by English writer Lorna Hill? The series begins with A Dream of Sadlers Wells (first published in 1950), and continues for around 11 books. It traces the paths of several north of England girls through the Sadlers Wells ballet school and onward. They are excellent, and many are available fairly cheaply used.
Charlotte at http://charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 13th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
Re: English ballet books

Hi Charlotte! Dorian recently told me about this series as well, so now I have to track it down. Thank you!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 14th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)

Hi Little Willow! Thanks for your thoughtful comment on my blog. This is a terrific list for balletophiles!

Another ballet book that I really like (good for 8 & up) is Alphabet City Ballet, by Erica Tamar. It's one of the few I've seen that has a non-white protagonist.

And there's that lovely new graphic memoir, To Dance, by Sierra...I forget her last name.

--bookbk/Els
bookbk.blogspot.com

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 14th, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC)

You are welcome. Thanks for dropping by! I'll have to look for ACB. I am waiting for To Dance to come in!

Posted by: minmorton (minmorton)
Posted at: April 27th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)

Posted by: minmorton (minmorton)
Posted at: April 27th, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 28th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 18th, 2007 06:16 am (UTC)
Re: I am a Dancer

Wow, this is a terrific list. Perfect for my dancing girl niece. I had not thought of the Sadler Wells books in...well...a very very long time. I loved those books.

To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel is WONDERFUL! Hope you see it soon.

Camille
Book Moot

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 18th, 2007 12:40 pm (UTC)
Re: I am a Dancer

Hi Camille! I hope that your niece enjoys the books. :) I did read To Dance a few weekends ago. It's a shame it wasn't longer and more detailed.

Posted by: mimagirl (mimagirl)
Posted at: August 15th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
colorful

I just read The Sisters Impossible from the library. It was really cute and fun!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 15th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC)

Isn't it adorable?!

Posted by: mimagirl (mimagirl)
Posted at: August 15th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 16th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)

Posted by: thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com (thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com)
Posted at: June 6th, 2008 12:29 am (UTC)

This is a perfect timing post for me. I am in search of a dance book for my nephew to give a girl. (see why on my blog) I am leaning towards the Royal Ballet School Diaries. Have you read any. Are they any good and are they okay for a fourth grader. Are you aware of any books that don't focus on ballet.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 6th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)

I have read a handful of the Royal Ballet School Diaries, and they are very cute. If you get the books from the second year, they are a little more boyfriend-girlfriend-centric than the first year.

You asked: "Are you aware of any books that don't focus on ballet." Yes, of course. Would this be for the same reader, a fourth grade girl? What genre are you after? Let me know more details so I may make proper recommendations!

Posted by: thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com (thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com)
Posted at: June 6th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 6th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 6th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)

Posted by: thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com (thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com)
Posted at: June 7th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 11th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: August 17th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
Ballet books

Please keep your eyes open for two of my favorites:
We Danced in Bloomsbury Square by Jean Estoril (aka Mabel Esther Allan) and A Dream of Sadler's Wells by Lorna Hill (first in a series, but perhaps the best).

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 18th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
Re: Ballet books

Hi there! I'll have to look those up. Thanks!

Posted by: marginnotesbook (marginnotesbook)
Posted at: August 2nd, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)


What a fantastic list!

I like "Wintle's Wonders", also a Noel Streatfeild, but with dance troupes, acting and ballet.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 2nd, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)

I have never seen that book. Oooh. I must track it down! :)

Posted by: marginnotesbook (marginnotesbook)
Posted at: August 3rd, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 3rd, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)

Posted by: hollycupala.com (hollycupala.com)
Posted at: August 3rd, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)

Fantastic list - we read Angelina Ballerina regularly in our house, and my sister just brought the Noel Streatfield Shoes books up when she came to visit. Ballet Shoes has virtually discintigrated from love. To the YA list, I would add Dia Calhoun's Aria of the Sea, a fantasy about a dance school and quite beautifully written.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 3rd, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)

I read Noel's books over and over as a child.

Aria-Dia added! :)

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