Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes

Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes

by Mahak Jain
illustrated by Anu Chouhan
Annick Press, 2022
ISBN 9781773216157 (hc)
$22.95, 33 pp, ages 6 – 10

Inclusive and engaging, this book highlights the challenges children face when taking risks and trying something new. When Paro begins ballet lessons, her mother, her ballet teacher, and two new dance friends are encouraging, supportive, and even a little silly. Readers follow Paro from her first ballet class through practising at home as she struggles to change her dance skills learned from her mother—a Bharatanatyam dancer—to the ballet style. Frustration and defeat fill Paro’s thoughts until her mother shows her that she doesn’t need to change but rather blend her dancing styles. Illustrated with a creative balance of colour and culture, this book is captivating from beginning to end! The final three pages are non-fiction, focusing on the author’s inspiration, some history of the two dance styles, and ways to craft anklets so readers can make the same sounds dancing that Paro and her mother do.

Classroom Connections: Great for reading aloud, for cultural discussions, as a springboard for studying dance, and as a library addition. Reading Comprehension Strategies: Making Predictions, Asking Questions, Making Connections, Transforming.

Review by Amanda Forbes.

This review is featured in Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Fall 2022 issue.

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