Thursday, March 10, 2011

Give the Gift of Reading...Dance Books!

This week is the 2011 Share a Story-Shape a Future blog tour for literacy, in which lovers of children's literature from all over the blogosphere are discussing different aspects of children's literacy. The theme this year is "Unwrapping the Gift of Literacy," and the amount of educational material and inspirational stories emerging from the tour is incredible.

The organizers of the tour have incorporated lots of ways for other bloggers to participate, like posting writing prompts for us to respond to each day of the tour. On day 2, one of the questions posed was "If you were asked to create of package of five books to gift to a child, what books would you include in your gift? Include one book for each year (infant to age 5)." Well, this sounded like so much fun, so here is what I came up with, using dance books of course...

Year 1: Just after my first daughter was born, a close friend gave us Barnyard Dance! as a gift, and I have been a huge fan of author/illustrator Sandra Boynton ever since. We own several of her books now, and even though my two girls are getting a little older, they still love them. In fact, in honor of World Read Aloud Day yesterday, my six-year-old read three Sandra Boynton books to my four-year-old. It was a wonderful moment for me as a mother.

Year 2: One of my favorite new dance books, and one that would be perfect for a two-year-old, is Dancing Feet! by Lindsey Craig (author) and Marc Brown (illustrator). The rhyme, repetition, and playful quality of the text appeals to my inner child, and the colorful illustrations always put a smile on my face. Little ones will have fun hearing the sounds animals make with their feet and using clues in the illustrations to guess which animals are dancing.

Year 3: One of my favorite picture books of all time is Jazz Baby, written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Written in rhyme, it has such a jazzy vibe to it that it makes me want to get up and dance every time I read it. And it is one of those books that I never tire of reading. I can read it over and over again, and it somehow always seems fresh.

Year 4: I had a difficult time choosing a book to gift to a four-year-old, maybe because quite a few good dance books have been published recently for this age group. But eventually I settled on a classic--Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird (author) and Helen Craig (illustrator). With all the Angelina memorabilia out there and the fact that Angelina recently had a makeover, I think all fans of this darling dancing mouse deserve to know--and enjoy--where it all started.

Year 5: I was so excited when I discovered that, in addition to writing and illustrating picture books for very young children, the amazing Mo Willems also creates easy readers. When my six-year-old first read Can I Play Too? from the Elephant and Piggie series, she laughed harder than I think I have ever heard her laugh. What more could a mother ask for from a book? So I became an instant super fan of this super series. Elephants Cannot Dance! is another one of our favorites from the series, and one I would definitely give as a gift!


  1. I am so glad you danced into the tour, Kerry. What a wonderful way to add to our celebration. Elephants Cannot Dance and Barnyard Dance are huge hits in our house, too. I need to find Dancing Feet and Jazz Baby.

  2. We love Barnyard Dance! at our house. We bring out our animal puppets and make them dance along with the story. Great fun!

  3. Ooh, animal puppets sound like fun. I wish we had some of those here. Maybe we can try stuffed animals. We have tons of those. Thanks for the idea, Donna-Lee!

  4. Thanks, Terry. I'm so glad I could participate in some small way. The tour has really been inspiring for me so far, and I hope that I will have time to catch up on the posts and absorb it all!

  5. Love this! I'm going to check out the tour right now!

  6. Thanks, Maria. It might take you a while to wade through what is out there, but there are so many wonderful stories about the power of reading...and so much more!


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