Happy book birthday -- on March 3, 2020, to be exact -- to the new picture book Let's Dance! by author Valerie Bolling and illustrator Maine Diaz. I've been in contact with Valerie and am excited to both tell you and show you more about her lively new book and how it came to be!
|Author Valerie Bolling|
In only about 60 words of rhyming text, Let's Dance! manages to introduce readers to 10 types of dance and spread the messages that dance is fun and dance is for everyone. Valerie says she knew from the very beginning that she wanted this book to celebrate diversity and wanted her words "to promote a world in which marginalized and/or underrepresented children can see themselves and feel valued and heard."
Luckily Valerie's editor Jes Negron agreed and expanded on her vision by making the theme more global. "Where I saw Tappity-Tap/Fingers Snap as tap dance, she imagined flamenco from Spain," says Valerie. "I envisioned the electric slide for Glide and Slide/Side to Side, but Jes suggested long-sleeve dancing from China. I was thrilled with her ideas!"
Maine also weaves different shapes into her illustrations -- like large and small circles and curls in the two images above and triangles, stars, and more in many others. When the smaller shapes scattered throughout the book are combined, they add a celebratory feel, acting like confetti!
Let's Dance! is Valerie's debut picture book, and she's busy writing more. You can keep up with her on Twitter and Instagram, and of course you can celebrate dance and diversity by reading her book!