Sunday, May 19, 2019

Giveaway: Dear Ballerina by Monica Wellington!

I'm hosting a giveaway for the new picture book Dear Ballerina, written and illustrated by the generous and talented Monica Wellington and published by Holiday House. But that's not all! Monica's daughter Lydia Wellington is a member of the New York City Ballet, and the winner of the giveaway will also receive a signed pair of Lydia's pointe shoes -- perfect for a special ballet-themed story time! Leave a comment at the end of this post by 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, June 8, 2019, to enter. Please leave contact information if I won't otherwise know how to reach you. 

My two girls are growing up so quickly, and I've been thinking a lot about mentors and role models lately. The girls are both in middle school, and I'm always hoping that new, inspiring people will enter their lives to encourage them and support them in pursuing their still-developing interests and talents. Dear Ballerina struck a chord with me, as I see it playing a similar role of inspiring and encouraging children -- in this case, young girls who are fond of ballet.

The book starts as a simple letter that a little ballerina might write to an older ballerina who had trained at the same dance studio. You can see the opening spread below, along with some of Monica's earlier sketches of the spread.

The text continues from the perspective of the little girl, as she explains how much she loves to dance, how she is preparing for a performance, and how she dreams of following in the older ballerina's footsteps. It is clear from the writing and pictures throughout the book that the young dancer truly idolizes the older ballerina.

When Monica's daughter Lydia was studying ballet as a child, she also used to write letters to ballerinas she admired. Today, the tables are turned, and Lydia frequently receives letters from ballerinas who admire her. In fact, Monica said that's what sparked the idea for this book!

Dear Ballerina ends with a short reply from the older ballerina to the young ballerina, encouraging her to follow her dreams and enjoy every moment of it. At the New York City Ballet, there's a tradition for the professional dancers to send their used pointe shoes to the children who send them letters. It's not unheard of for a professional ballerina to go through 100 or more pairs of pointe shoes a season, so giving away shoes -- as Lydia and the other dancers do -- seems like a great way to reduce waste and make many young dancers giddy with excitement. Below are a few of the letters Lydia has received lately, both asking for and thanking her for her point shoes!

Don't forget to leave a comment on this post, and you could win a copy of Dear Ballerina and receive a pair of Lydia's pointe shoes as well. Also check out this interview with Monica about My Ballet Journal -- a charming journal and coloring book she also created with inspiration from her daughter Lydia. 


  1. Would love to have this book for my daughter and students! <3

    1. Hi, Leah. I tried to find you before to let you know you won the book but I guess I didn't try replying to this email. If you're out there and get this, let me know how to contact you and I can send the book and pointe shoes!!

  2. This would be a fun storytime thanks! Julie juliesrice at gmail


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