This rhythmic picture book showcases dances from all over the world and features children of diverse backgrounds and abilities tapping, spinning, and boogying away!
In this book, young readers can read while clapping and snapping with Flamenco dancers, twirling alongside ballerinas, and learning to dance the cha-cha! There are all kinds of dances to explore. Educational backmatter gives a toddler-friendly introduction to the history of each dance. Kids will want to leap, dip, and zip along with the dances on the page, and parents will enjoy the sly transition to counting dancing sheep that makes this read a perfect right-before-naptime ritual.
Valerie Bolling has been an educator for over 25 years and a writer since age 4. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, Teachers College and currently works as an Instructional Coach. Ms. Bolling and her husband live in Connecticut and enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, going to the theater ... and dancing.
What Inspired You to Write Let's Dance?
Everyone – or most people – love to dance! Turn on music and watch people – especially young, uninhibited children – start to move. Hips swaying, hands in the air. Pure joy!
This book was inspired by that joy and by my nieces, Zorah and Anyah, who love to dance. Thus, I decided to write a fun, rhyming story, celebrating the universality of dance. Dance is a language we all speak, even though we have different “accents.” To illustrate the variety of "accents," I wanted to ensure that the book displayed an inclusive representation of children: gender, race, ability. My goal was to show children from all walks – or dances – of life: a boy in a wheelchair, a girl in hijab, a child in a tutu whose gender is indiscernible. I wanted my story to showcase dance in a way that honors diversity – and that leaves no doubt that dancing is indeed for everyone!
My editor, Jes Negrón of Boyds Mills & Kane, expanded upon my vision for diversity and inclusiveness by recognizing that some of my words described cultural dances. Where I saw “Tappity-tap/Fingers snap” as tap dance, she imagined flamenco from Spain. I envisioned the electric slide for “Glide and slide/Side to side,” but Jes suggested long sleeve dancing from China.
I am thrilled that this cultural representation has been highlighted in Let’s Dance! Readers can dance across the globe!
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