Beautiful Ballerina"Beautiful ballerina, / you are the dance." This heartfelt picture book celebrates the strength, spirit and grace of four young African American girls who are learning to dance with the Dance Theater of Harlem. Kuklin's photographs capture them in a variety of poses, some reflective, others full of movement. The girls range in age from preschool through high school, and so the photographs will allow girls of all ages to relate and dream.
by Marilyn Nelson
photographs by Susan Kuklin
NY: Scholastic Press, 2009
available on Amazon and at your public library
Marilyn Nelson's poetry is inspiring as she describes the dancers. "You are poised,/ graceful,/ flexible,/ elegant./ Your beauty invites/ bravissimos." She speaks directly to young African American dancers: "The Ancestors have/ produced a swan./ You wear the slaves' genes/ with nobility." The rhythm and grace of the text will make a wonderful read aloud for young children, even though some of the words may go over their head. Older dancers will love the celebration of their passion. I love sharing these lines with my daughters:
"Your physical grace andMarilyn Nelson has been recognized by many awards: she is a Newberry Honor Winner, three-time National Book Award finalist, two-time Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, and the former Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut. You can read an interview and profile with Marilyn on the Brown Bookshelf blog. Marilyn shares another ballet poem on this year's Poetry Tag on Sylvia Vardell's blog Poetry for Children.
must be matched by
strength of will.
and imagination give you your skill."
(c) Marilyn Nelson
Read more about the making of this book on Susan Kuklin's website.
Below, I've shared my favorite ballet books. The review copy came from my local library. If you purchase a book on Amazon using the links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.