Children’s Books

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Recommendations from Ms. Linda of Unreasonable Joy


☼ = Especially attractive pictures
Ẅ = Especially fun words
± = Appeals to multiple age groups
♫ = Includes a CD


Dance Picture Books for the Youngest Dancers (Ages 1-4)

  • Boynton, Sandra.  Barnyard Dance!    1993.  Ẅ   UJoy POST
  • Carle, Eric.   From Head to Toe.   1999.  UJoy POST
  • Cronin, Doreen.   Wiggle.  Illus. Scott Mechin.   2005.
  • Falwell, Cathryn.   Shape Space.  1992.
  • Geras, Adèle.   Time for Ballet.   Illus. Shelagh McNicholas.   2003.
  • Graves, Keith.   Frank was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance.   2006.   Ẅ   UJoy POST
  • Gauch, Patricia Lee.  Dance, Tanya.   Illus. Satomi Ichikawa.  1989.  
  • Helldorfer, M.C.  Got to Dance.    Illus. Hiroe Nakata.   2004.   Ẅ ☼    UJoy POST
  • Mahy, Margaret.   The Man from the Land of Fandango.   Illus. Polly Dunbar.   2012.   Ẅ ☼ ±
  • Manning, Maurie J.   Kitchen Dance.   2008.  
  • Pilobolus.   The Human Alphabet.    Photos. John Kane.   2005.      UJoy POST
  • Schaefer, Carole Lexa.   Dragon Dancing.   Illus. Pierr Morgan.   2007.   ±
  • Shannon, George.   Dance Away.   Illus. Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey.   1991.   Ẅ ±
  • Sís, Peter.   Ballerina!   2001.  Ẅ

Dance Picture Books for Lower Grade School Dancers (Ages 5-8)

  • Asch, Frank and Devin Asch.   Like a Windy Day.   2002.  Ẅ ☼
  • Baryshnikov, Mikhail.  Because… .   Illus. Vladimir Radunsky.   2007.  
  • Bonwill, Ann.   Naughty Toes.   Illus. Teresa Murfin.   2011.
  • Boynton, Sandra.   Philadelphia Chickens: A Too-Illogical Zooilogical Musical Revue.

2002.   Ẅ ± ♫

  • Dillon, Leo & Diane.   Rap a Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles–Think of That!  2002. Ẅ ☼ ± UJoy POST
  • Durango, Julia.   Cha-Cha Chimps.   Illus. Eleanor Taylor.   2006.   Ẅ    UJoy POST
  • Gauch, Patricia Lee.   Bravo, Tanya.   Illus. Satomi Ichikawa.   1992.  
    • Tanya and Emily in a Dance for Two.   1994. 
    • Tanya Steps Out.   1996. 
    • Tanya and the Magic Wardrobe.   1997. 
    • Presenting Tanya, the Ugly Duckling.   1999. 
    • Tanya and the Red Shoes.   2002. 
  • Gruska, Denise.   The Only Boy in Ballet Class.  2007.
  • Kinerk, Robert.   Clorinda.   Illus. Steven Kellogg.  2003.   Ẅ ☼
  • King, Stephen Michael.   Milli, Jack, and the Dancing Cat.   2003.
  • Isadora, Rachel.  Lili at Ballet.   1993.  
    • Lili on Stage.   1995.  
    • Lili Backstage.   1997.  
    • My Ballet Class.   1980.  
    • On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC.   2003.    
  • Jones, Bill T. and Susan Kuklin.   Dance! With Bill T. Jones.   Photos. Susan Kuklin.   1998.   Ẅ ±

   UJoy POST

  • Maccarone, Grace.   Miss Lina’s Ballerinas.   Illus. Christine Davenier.   2010. 
    • Miss Lina’s Ballerinas and the Prince.    2011. 
    • Miss Lina’s Ballerinas and the Wicked Wish.    2012.
  • Roberts, Brenda C.   Jazzy Miz Mozetta.   Illus. Frank Morrison.   2004.
  • Singer, Marilyn.   Tallulah’s Tutu.   Illus. Alexander Boiger.   2011.   Ẅ ☼
    • Tallulah’s Solo.   2012.   Ẅ ☼
    • Tallulah’s Toe Shoes.   2013.   Ẅ ☼
    • Tallulah’s Nutcracker.   2013.   Ẅ ☼
  • Stringer, Lauren.   When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two artists, their ballet,

and one extraordinary riot.   2013.   Ẅ ☼ ±

 Picture Books of Famous Ballets

  •  Ellison, Nancy.   Swan Lake.  Photos Nancy Ellison : Text Amy Ephron.    2000.
  • Fonteyn, Margot.   Coppélia.   Illus. Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.   1998.
  • Hoffmann, E.T.A.   Nutcracker.   Illus. Maurice Sendak.  Trans. Ralph Manheim.   1984.
  • Hollyer, Belinda.   Stories from the Classical Ballet.   Intro. & Performance Notes: Irina Baronova.

Illus. Sophy Williams.  1995.

  • Isadora, Rachel.   Swan Lake.   1991.  
  • Jeffers, Susan.   The Nutcracker.   2007.     ☼     UJoy POST
  • Newman, Barbara.    The Illustrated Book of Ballet Stories.  Illus. Gill Tomblin.  1997.  ♫   


Picture Book Biographies or Books Featuring Famous Dancers, Choreographers & Companies

  •  Dempsey, Kristy.   A Dance Like Starlight.   Illus. Flloyd Cooper.   2014.   Ẅ  ☼
  •  Dillon, Leo & Diane.   Rap a Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles–Think of That!   2002. Ẅ ☼ ±  UJoy POST
  • Greenberg, Jan, and Sandra Jordan.   Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring.  

Illus. Brian Floca.   2010.    UJoy POST

  • Jones, Bill T. and Susan Kuklin.   Dance! With Bill T. Jones.  Photos. Susan Kuklin.  1998.    Ẅ 


  • Keeler, Patricia A. and Júlio T. Leitão.   Drumbeat in our Feet.  Illus. Patricia A. Keeler.  2006.
  • Orgill, Roxane.   Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire.  Illus. Stéphane Jorisch.  2007.
  • Pilobolus.   The Human Alphabet.    Photos. John Kane.   2005.      UJoy POST
  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis.   Alvin Ailey.  Illus. Brian Pinkney.    1995.    UJoy POST
  • Powell, Patricia Hruby.   Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. 

Illus. Christian Robinson.   2014.

  • Reich, Susanna.   José! Born to Dance: The Story of José Limón.  Illus. Raul Colón.   2005.  ☼   


  • Schubert, Leda.   Ballet of the Elephants.   Illus. Robert Andrew Parker.    2006.   ☼   
  • Stringer, Lauren.   When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two artists, their ballet,

and one extraordinary riot.   2013.   Ẅ ☼ ±

  • Winter, Jonah.   Jazz Age Josephine.   Illus. Marjorie Priceman.  2012.   Ẅ ☼ 

Non-Fiction “Behind-the-Scenes” Books with Photographs  ±

  • Bussell, Darcey.   The Young Dancer.   1994.
  • Dowd, Olympia.   A Young Dancer’s Apprenticeship: On Tour with the Moscow City Ballet.   2003.
  • Gladstone, Valerie.   A Young Dancer: The Life of an AILEY Student.   Photos. José Ivey.  2009.
  • Krementz, Jill.   A Very Young Dancer.   1976.
  • McMahon, Patricia.   Dancing Wheels.   Photos. John Godt.   2000.
  • Spatt, Leslie E.   Behind the Scenes at the Ballet: Rehearsing and Performing

The Sleeping Beauty 1995.

  • Varriale, Jim.   Kids Dance: The Students of Ballet Tech.  1999.

Quality Non-Fiction / Reference Books on Dance and Related Subjects

  • Johnson, Anne Akers and Robin Stoneking.  Braids and Bows.   Klutz Press, 1992.
  • Johnson, Anne Akers.   Hair: A Book of Braiding and Styles.  

Photos: Peter Fox and Thomas Heinser. Klutz Press, 1995.

  • Klutz Press.   Face Painting. 2002 or 2012.   Spiral Book with Face Paints.
  • Mack, Lorrie.   Dance: From ballet to breakin’–step into the dazzling world of dance.   2012.

 Even More Dance-Inspired Books for a Home Library

  •  Brisson, Pat.   Tap Dance Fever.   Illus. Nancy Cole.   2005.
  • Carrier, Lisa and Lenore Hart.   T.Rex at Swan Lake.   Illus. Chris Demarest.   2004.
  • Shulman, Lisa.   Over the Meadow at the Big Ballet.   Illus. Sarah Massini.   2007.
  • Smith Jr., Charles R.   Dance with Me.   Illus. Noah Z. Jones.   2008.   UJoy POST
  • Warner, Sunny.   Madison Finds a Line.   1999.    Ẅ   
  • Winter, Ginny Linville.   The Ballet Book: This is the way We learn ballet.  1971.
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