Great Illustrated Books

Ballerina Dreams

By Lauren Thompson and Joann Ferrara, Photography by James Estrin

Feiwel & Friends, 2007
Pages : 40
Suggested Ages: 5-9
ISBN: 9780312370299

When you first pick up this pink book with the three little girl ballerinas on the cover, you think this will be a book your little girls will love, and that's true. But the very young dancers—Nicole, Shekinah, Veronica, Abbey, and Monica—are not your everyday dancers. While they've always wanted to dance just like other girls, all of them have cerebral palsy or other muscle disorders, and some use wheelchairs or walkers to get around. Nevertheless, they take weekly ballet classes with their ballet teacher, physical therapist Joann Ferrara, and prepare for their upcoming recital. Dressed in pink tutus and ballet shoes, they perform onstage for cheering parents, friends, classmates, and teachers. This winning and inspiring color photo essay, printed on pink paper, takes the girls, each assisted and physically supported by a helper, through their performance of three dances. The final pages profile each girl, their teacher, their helpers, and provide information on cerebral palsy.

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If you love this book, then try:

Carlson, Nancy L. Arnie and the New Kid. Viking, 1990. ISBN-13: 978-0440845768

Cowen-Fletcher, Jane. Mama Zooms. Scholastic, 1993. ISBN-13: 978-0590457750

Damrell, Liz. With the Wind. Orchard, 1991. ISBN-13: 978-0531058824

Geras, Adele. Time for Ballet. Dial, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0803729780

Isadora, Rachel. Max. Macmillan, 1976. ISBN-13: 978-0021790456

Krementz, Jill. A Very Young Dancer. Random House, 1976.

Stadler, Alexander. Lila Bloom. Farrar, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0374344740

Critics have said

The colorful photographs of this dancing community working toward a common goal accurately and sensitively capture the struggles and joyful enthusiasm of all of the participants.
Carol Schene, School Library Journal
This touching story would be a useful resource in an early childhood educational setting as an example of individuals with different abilities or disabilities, and its message of determination in the face of adversity is one that parents and educators of children of all ages would find useful.
The text is pithy but leaves the reader with great admiration for Ferrara and the difference she has made in these little ballerinas' sense of confidence and self-worth.
Kirkus Reviews