Is your little one crazy about ballet and dreaming about becoming the next Darcey Bussell? Are your teens desperately missing their dance classes during lockdown?
Fill the tutu-shaped hole in their life with these beautiful ballet books withholding an uplifting dance theme, whatever their age. Grab their slippers, put on the Swan Lake soundtrack and get them to practice their best twirls and demi-pliés before diving into these brilliant books about ballerinas and dancers for all ages...
Looking for more dance inspiration? Take a look at our brilliant guide to the best family dance videos around.
Angelina Ballerina - Dancing Day by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig
Prepare for a double-dose of cuteness in this brand new board book featuring an old favourite (you might remember her from the TV series). As her name suggests, Angelina Ballerina is a mouse with a passion for pirouetting, and she and her furry friends live in the cosy country town of Chipping Cheddar. In this tale, she gets to meet a real-life prima ballerina at the theatre. The lovely drawings really add to this picture book’s quaint charm. Look out for Angelina's equally adorable other adventures for young children - many also available as board books.
Usborne Little Sticker Dolly Dressing Ballerina by Fiona Watt and Lizzie Mackay
Fact: pre-schoolers can’t resist a new sticker book. And Usborne do some of the best around. This book, featuring 250 stickers, will provide hours of fun for mini ballerinas - the pages show scenes from Swan Lake, Coppelia and Cinderella, amongst others, and will help get kids into the amazing stories, characters and costumes behind them.
Plus the beautifully illustrated stickers can be reused time and time again - a boon for parents seeking home-based crafts that don’t run out of steam after fifteen minutes. A great gift for young children at the beginning of their journey to the barre.
Rudolf Nureyev: Little People, Big Dreams by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
This cute-but-educational picture book proves, if proof is needed, that ballet definitely isn’t just for girls. It tells, in simple words, the tale of the incredible life of the world-famous Russian ballet dancer, alongside gorgeous illustrations. Apparently, Nureyev didn’t start formally training until he was 17 - who knew? Ideal for aspiring Billy Elliots everywhere.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the popular Little People, Big Dreams range - these beautiful hardcover books offer potted biographies of role models. The first batch covered female icons like artist Frida Kahlo and designer Coco Chanel; now they’ve expanded to include David Bowie, David Attenborough and many more. Plus you'll find the new board book version out this summer.
KS1: Age 5-7
Delphie And The Magic Ballet Shoes by Darcey Bussell
Yes, the cover of this paperback is super sparkly and pink. But it's one for everyone - who better than national treasure Darcey Bussell to pen a series of magical books for wannabe ballerinas? Dream alongside Delphie as she dons her ballet slippers and is transported into the realm of Enchantia. If you love this book, there are lots more Delphie stories to escape into. A great way for primary school children to improve their reading.
Ella Bella Ballerina And Swan Lake by James Mayhew
This is another lovely series of books for young children who adore ballet, and want to learn more about the stories behind them. Here, Ella Bella gets sucked inside the magical story of Swan Lake. Exquisite drawings add another dimension, and there's an added page of ballerina facts. If you like it, try the rest of the highly rated series and expand your knowledge of Cinderella, the Nutcracker and more.
Usborne Illustrated Ballet Stories by Various Authors
Ballet is about more than stunning dancing and music. Most have fantastic stories that draw on folk and fairy tales, with sweeping emotional highs and lows. Which little kid doesn’t love the dramatic tale of the Nutcracker or Sleeping Beauty, especially if they attend a ballet class?
This special book is a brilliant way to discover the stories behind twelve favourites, including Giselle and The Firebird. You can also see video clips online to bring things to life. One to treasure at home for years to come.
KS2: Age 8-11
No Ballet Shoes In Syria by Catherine Bruton
Seeking a satisfying read about dance that's a bit deeper? This bestselling book tells the tale of 11-year-old Aya, who’s arrived in Britain from war-torn Syria. When she joins a local dancing class, a teacher spots her exceptional talent – but will Aya be able to stay in Britain and make a home with her family? It's both sad and hopeful – teaching us how therapeutic dancing can be, whatever else life throws at you. No wonder the average customer review gives a huge thumbs up.
Peril En Pointe by Helen Lipscombe
We love the irresistible concept of this book, which merges two of our favourite things - mystery stories and dance. The story follows 12-year-old Milly who longs to become a dancer just like her mum, but then her mum disappears. Before long she's enrolled at the Swan House School - basically, a ballet school for spies – and the plot thickens. This might be a good match for Enid Blyton fans, so search in your local book store.
Billie’s Big Audition – World Elite Dance Academy by Kimberly Wyatt
This book was co-written by Kimberly Wyatt of girl group Pussy Cat Dolls, who knows a thing or two about being a successful dancer. Our heroine, 12-year-old Billie, dreams of being a ballet star but her home life is tough. When she scores an audition at a famous dance school, will her nerves survive the pressure? Inspiring for any child who suffers stage fright, but is determined to dance anyway.
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
One of the best kids' dance books ever published - you may well have enjoyed this timeless novel growing up yourself. First published back in 1936, it’s still a must-read for ballet-mad kids (or, indeed, just about anyone). It tells the tale of the three adopted Fossils sisters, and their trials and tribulations training as dancers. We remember loving Petrova, Pauline and baby Posy as if they were our own sisters. Cosy up under the duvet together for a trip down memory lane.
My Dance Journal by Megan Bower
Journaling is the ideal lockdown project for bored or restless teens - and this inspirational book is designed with dance lovers in mind. Inside, you'll find dance timetables, pages for designing costumes, goal setting and much more. A great motivator if they've recently fallen into a slump of too much sleep and screen time.
This could be a great way for your teen to get some structure day by day and keep new goals on track, list their favourite free YouTube dance tutorials, or just map out the moves for that perfect fifteen-second TikTok routine. If they’re attending online classes, they can record their progress too.
A Company Of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
Finding new books about dance for teens that aren't super-twee is tough. But this ripping yarn is ideal - it combines romance and dancing in a fantastic adventure by award-winning author Eve Ibbotson. Teen Harriet Morton escapes her everyday humdrum life and joins a troupe of dancers based in the Amazon. An escapist plot for readers with the ballet bug - one bound to leave them on a high.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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