23 Must-Read Dance Books Barre None

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If you have a dancer or two in the house, find them something fun to read that will spark their interest, whether they love tap, ballet or ballroom.

Encourage little ones to get moving with some fun picture books, and choose something more in-depth for your older dancers. Here are some of our favourite kids' dance-themed books to start with.

You could also check out our selection of books for sports-mad kids and have a go at Oti Mabuse's live ballroom lessons online.

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How do you Dance? by Thyra Heder

Age 2+

An adorable picture book for toddlers, pre-schoolers and just-started-schoolers, which encourages everyone to shake and hop and wiggle and jiggle. Encouraging the joy of dancing, with no right or wrong, everyone who reads it will want to get up and get dancing!

The Tip-Tap Dancing Cat by Joanna Boyle

Age 2-5

What does your cat get up to when you're not home? Oscar loves to dance - and he can do everything from tap and salsa to the foxtrot and freestyle! An adorable, energetic book to get little ones moving.

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Age 2-4

This lovely hardback book without words sees Flora try to practise the dance moves of the graceful Flamingo. The bird gets pretty irritated by the little girl, but eventually, they become friends.

Giraffes Can't Dance

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

Age 3-7

The perfect book for reading aloud, thanks to its rhyming text and colourful full-page illustrations by Guy Parker Rees.

Alana Dancing Star

Alana Dancing Star: Viennese Waltz by Arlene Philips

Illustrator: Pixie Potts

Age 5+

If you're old enough, you'll remember that Arlene Philips was the choreographer for Hot Gossip, the dancers on Top of the Pops. For everyone else, maybe you'll know her as a judge on Strictly. Now she has turned to book writing, with this sweet book with lovely illustrations by Pixie Potts. There's also a cut-out doll to dress and a guide to dancing the waltz.

Dance Is For Everyone

Dance Is For Everyone by Andrea Zuill

Age 4+

In this kids book, dance, ballet and a huge reptile all appear. What would you do if a large green alligator arrived at your ballet class? When Miss Iraina and the students realise they aren't going to get eaten, they let the creature stay...

Tap-Dance Fever  by Pat Brisson and Nancy Cote  

Age 5-7

Young dancers who just can't stop moving will love this tale of Annabelle, who tap dances her way through the kitchen linoleum, the schoolhouse floor and even the road. When the local townsfolk try to stop her Tap Dance Fever they are in for a big surprise!

The Secret of the Tattered Shoes

The Secret of the Tattered Shoes by Jackie Morris

Age 6+

This up-to-date reworking of a classic tale will appeal to parents and children alike. Jackie Morris retells the familiar fairytale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Beautiful illustrations come courtesy of Ehsan Abdollahi.

I Will Dance by Nancy Bo Flood and Julianna Swaney

Age: 4-8

Eva has cerebral palsy, and dreams of dancing. She thinks no one could dance in a wheelchair until she discovers the Young Dance Company. The real-life inclusive company makes her realise that she can follow her dreams like everyone else. An uplifting book for children that champions diversity and inclusivity.

This Is It by Daria Peoples-Rile

Age 4-8

The main character in this story loves to dance, but she is nervous about the theatre audition she is about to do. But then something amazing happens - her shadow comes to life and takes her all over the city, leaping and dancing along the way.  And when she gets back to the theatre, the girl discovers she has a new-found confidence. A lovely story for children taking their first exams or performing in their first shows.

World Elite Dance Academy series by Kimberly Wyatt

Age 8+

Former Pussycat Dolls singer and dancer Kimberly will be familiar to fans of Sky 1's Got To Dance contest. Each book in the series focuses on a different dancer - from  Fashionista Tilly who has never fitted in, to quirky headteacher's son, Andre, who is obsessed with street dance, but his dad is not interested.

The Only Boy in Ballet Class by Denise Gruska and Amy Wummer

Age 5+

Tucker loves to dance but no one else seems impressed with the fact that a boy has taken up ballet. Until one day the boy who does not enjoy sports has to play on the football team - and discovers that his ballet skills can be put to good use. Great for challenging gender stereotypes and opening up discussion at the right level for younger children.

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield

Age 6+

Old-fashioned but one of the classic ballet books. Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil all lived with their eccentric uncle until he disappeared. Now the money has run out but the girls have a grand plan to make money by going on the stage... Published in 1936, children will still find it a good read.

Ballerina in Danger

Ballerina in Danger by Elaine Mayson

Age 7+

Only Isabella can see the Pink House and the people who live there. In this ballet adventure, she must  rescue a ballerina and try to save a special cat. Helping her are Jean Paul and some of the Pink House characters. But will Hagatha the wicked witch destroy her plans?
Buy the book from Elaine Mayson's website HERE.

I, Cosmo

I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak

Age 8+

Cosmo is a dog who loves to dance. But when his family is being broken apart, will he be able to save them? A charming tale that  unusually combines the joy of canine freestyle dance with the heartbreak of divorce.

No Ballet Shoes in Syria

No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton

Age: 8+

This story of friendship tells the tale of Aya, a Syrian asylum seeker, who finds herself in a cold and wet Manchester. She has to look after her mum and brother - but she is also a talented ballet dancer.  Can she follow her passion?

The Audition by Maddie Ziegler

Age 10+

Fans of Dance Moms will be excited to see the first of a trilogy of books by international dance star Maddie Ziegler, who started her career on the show. The story follows 12-year-old dancer Harper, who  has to start all over again at a new dance studio when her family moves. Will she be accepted by the other dancers?

Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan

Age: 12+

Meet the Ladybirds: Bea, Kat, Betty and Pearl were best friends but have drifted apart, and when a new teen talent show is announced it causes even more friction as not everyone will take part. Add in some complications with boyfriends and dance partners and the tension rises. Tweens and teens will relate to the friendship issues, but it's also got plenty of humour - along with energetic lindy hop and aerial moves.

Dance of Shadows

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Age 12+

A dream place at the New York Ballet Academy awaits talented dancer Vanessa Adler, as she hopes to follow in the footsteps of her big sister Margaret. But she has another reason for gaining admission - she wants to find out why Margaret has mysteriously vanished! Ballet and the paranormal combine in this thriller.

Hope in a Ballet Shoe/Ballerina Dreams by Michaela DePrince

Age 13+

The inspiring and heartbreaking tale of  Michaela DePrince, who lost her parents and witnessed terrible atrocities in war-torn Sierra Leone, was adopted by an American couple, and fought to find her place as a black girl in the world of ballet. Today, she is an international ballet star. Ballerina Dreams is a young reader version of Michaela's story.

Ballet Boy by Claire Gruzelier

Age 13+

Jordan Howe is a lanky, black sixteen-year-old who lives on a council estate. He dreams of playing professional basketball but has just started training as a mechanic. But when he sees a male dancer at a project for disadvantaged young people, his life could be about to take a very different turn.

Dance Anatomy by Jacqui Greene Haas  

Age 14+

A fascinating read for older teens who are serious about their dancing. Giving an insight into how the body works to achieve dance moves, using fantastic illustrations, it is a must-read for anyone who wants to get an in-depth understanding of the body's relationship with dance.

Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Elizabeth Kiem

Age 14+

Marina is a privileged, gifted young dancer with Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet at the height of the Cold War. Her mother is a Soviet Artist of the People. But when she suddenly vanishes, Marina and her father have to leave Russia quickly. Defecting to New York, they hope to escape the Russian secret police but end up in a more tangled web of intrigue than the one they left behind. A compelling young adult thriller.

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Naomi MacKay
Mum of one

Mum of one teenage boy, near Leighton Buzzard, Beds. Born and raised in the Home Counties, Naomi has explored much of London, along with Beds, Herts and Bucks, with her son and husband. When she’s not driving to various skateparks around the UK, Naomi loves finding somewhere new to explore or a new activity they can all try.