Beautiful Ballerina

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Overview


A talented team of children's book creators craft a beautiful, stirring tribute to the grace and power of prima ballerinas everywhere.

Every little girl has the dream to become a prima ballerina! On today's ever-changing cultural stage, ballerinas come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities. To celebrate the beauty of black ballerinas, here is a lush photographic picture book with a brilliant poetic narrative, brought to young readers by two amazing talents. The minimal ...

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Overview


A talented team of children's book creators craft a beautiful, stirring tribute to the grace and power of prima ballerinas everywhere.

Every little girl has the dream to become a prima ballerina! On today's ever-changing cultural stage, ballerinas come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities. To celebrate the beauty of black ballerinas, here is a lush photographic picture book with a brilliant poetic narrative, brought to young readers by two amazing talents. The minimal text balances the harmony of the photos and demonstrates the joy of movement.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
"Beautiful ballerina, you are the dance." This refrain weaves its way through poet Nelson's tribute to the young ballet students of Dance Theatre of Harlem's Community and Pre-professional programs. Award-winning poet laureate of Connecticut, Nelson focuses her lyric poem on special contributions African-American dancers can make to their art: "you bring a tiny hint of Africanness,/ juju and beautiful joy danced in your every move." Stressing dedication and technique as well, this ode to ballet and its "ballerinas," reminds students that "Self-discipline, self-criticism,/ self-control, focus,/ and imagination give you your skill./ Beautiful ballerina, you are the dance." Four girls from the school perform for Kuklin's color photographs—small Doris, who looks about four; Jalen, perhaps ten and already in the Pre-professional program; Raven M. and Raven B., teen dancers from the Pre-professional classes—all dancing through the lines and pages of the poem in photos placed against flat backgrounds using colors like lavender, lime green, teal, and apricot. Most advanced is lovely Raven B. in her lilac practice tutu showing off her athleticism, openness, and expansiveness. Final pages offer information about Arthur Mitchell, founder of Dance Theatre of Harlem; Endalyn Taylor, present director of the company; and the company's purpose and mission. A perfect complement to this book would be Valerie Gladstone's A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey Student, with striking photos by Jose Ivey (Holt, 2009). Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—The description "poetry in motion" may be taken quite literally in this paean to the young dancers who train at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. The heartfelt poem's playful words could make a lively read-aloud dance-along, and young balletomanes will be intrigued by the girls in the photographs. The phrase "Beautiful ballerina, you are the dance" is repeated throughout and invites audience participation. Lines like, "You plant enchantment on the planet with every step" are just fun to say. On the other hand, phrases such as, "The Ancestors have produced a swan./You wear the slaves' genes with nobility," though lovely, may go right over the heads of young audiences. The crisp photographs of elegant, female African-American dancers stand out against solid backgrounds of varying pastel shades. The layout of text and photographs varies with each spread, which creates a sense of movement and energy as one turns the page. Whether they completely understand the text or not, children, especially those who take dance class, will love the pictures.—Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545089203
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Noted poet Marilyn Nelson is the author of several highly acclaimed and award-winning books for young readers. CARVER: A LIFE IN POEMS received a Newbery Honor medal, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and a Coretta Scott King Honor citation. A WREATH FOR EMMETT TILL, also a book told in poetry, won a Printz Honor Award, a Coretta Scott King Honor, and a Boston Globe/Horn Book citation. Ms. Nelson is a multiple National Book Award finalist. Her forthcoming novel, PEMBA'S SONG, will be published in 2008, and her picture book, BEAUTIFUL BALLERINA, will publish in 2009 (both with Scholastic).

Susan Kuklin, the author and photographer of many books for children and young adults, has always been passionate about dance. Her book DANCE, WITH BILL T. JONES received several starred reviews, and was hailed by The New York Times as "...a child's catalogue of pleasures and possibilities." Ms. Kuklin's book REACHING FOR DREAMS: A BALLET FROM REHEARSAL TO OPENING NIGHT was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

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Customer Reviews

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