Ballerina Books for Kids Who Love Ballet

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Do you know any young ballerinas who would love to read books about ballet?

My kids both loved everything pink and ballet. And they used to wear their leotards and tutus everywhere, every day, long before they even took lessons.

My oldest continued dancing until high school until her body’s hypermobility led to knee surgery and no more dancing. But one of the ways I motivated her to read was to give her biographies and autobiographies of ballerinas like the ones at the end of this list.

It’s wonderful to enrich our children’s love for dance with books that celebrate and teach more about dancing. These will do just that!

Ballerina Books for Kids Who Love Ballet

Ballerina Books for Kids Who Love Ballet
You’re Tutu Cute
 by Sandra Magsamen
ages 2 – 6
Lift the flap to finish the questions in this girly, pink and ballet loving bear book. If you are a twirly, dancing girl, this colorful book calls you “tutu cute.”

Bea at Ballet
by Rachel Isadora
ages 2 – 6
Bea and her friend Sam go to ballet class. Learn what they wear and the basic positions and movements they do in class.

I’m a Ballerina
by Sue Fliess, illustrations by Joey Chou
ages 2 – 6
With rhyming text and pretty illustrations, follow along as a little girl goes to ballet class then gets to perform on stage in a recital. Adorable in every way.

Dear Ballerina
by Monica Wellington
ages 2 – 6
Calling all ballerinas! This book is a letter of admiration from a young ballerina to a professional one. She dreams of being a strong, beautiful ballerina. She’s excited when she wears a costume the bigger dancer used to wear and that they can be in a show together. Sweet, pink-flavored illustrations in Wellington’s signature style.

Miss Lina’s Ballerinas
by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by Christine Davenier
ages 2 – 6
Gentle rhyming text tells the story of Miss Lina’s eight dangers who dance in class and all around town. Until, a new girl disrupts their perfect act. They’ll learn about making new friends and teamwork while dancing ballet. A sweet story!

Angelina Ballerina
by Katharine Holabird, illustrated by Helen Craig
ages 2 – 6
Angelina doesn’t just dance all through her day but she also dreams of being a ballerina at night, too. Her focus on ballet makes her neglect everything else but her parents know just what to do– ballet classes.

Ballerina Books for Kids Who Love Ballet
Emma and Julia Love Ballet
by Barbara McClintock
ages 2 – 6
This is a well-written and illustrated parallel story (top of the page is one, the bottom of the page is the other) that shows two dancers on a performance day — one big and a professional dancer, and the other little and still learning. Both work very hard and love ballet. It culminates in Julia’s performance on stage with Emma watching. Very sweet.

Ballerina Books for Kids Who Love Ballet
Tallulah’s Tutu
by Marilyn Singer
ages 2 – 6
Tallulah just knew she could be a great ballerina, if only she had a tutu. So she starts ballet class. When she does not receive a tutu, she quits. But everywhere she goes, things keep reminding her of ballet. Her neighbor’s basset hound always stands in second position. The kitchen clock performs perfect ronds de jambe. And Tallulah can’t seem to stop doing ballet, either. A park bench makes a perfect barre, and what better way to pet the dog than with a graceful plié?

by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey
ages 4 – 9
You don’t have to love ballet to love the captivating story of pursuing a goal, working hard, and cooperating with a friend. Misty is excited to learn her studio will be dancing the ballet Coppelia and she wants to get the role of Coppelia. As she works hard in practice, she and her friend Cat help each other prepare.  At the auditions, her friend gets the part of Coppelia. Even so, Misty is happy with her part of Swanilda. After the show, Misty and her bunhead friends take a final bow, proud of what they accomplished. Transcendent illustrations!

The Nutcracker
by Fiona Watt
ages 4 – 8
Clara is given a nutcracker doll for Christmas — and it starts a magical adventure into the Land of Sweets.

Swan - children's books about ballet
Swan The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova
by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad
ages 4 – 8
Anna sees her first ballet on a snowy winter’s day. She longs to join ballet school, waiting years until she finally is accepted. And she works hard starting from poverty and becomes a celebrated, lovely swan ballerina. She travels the world to show everyone the beauty of music and dance. Her story is beautifully told with exquisite illustrations in muted colors.

picture books about ballet
Swan Lake
illustrated by Valeria Docampo
ages 4 – 8
Filled with lush illustrations and a clear, captivating storyline, this is a lovely retelling of the famous Swan Lake ballet story.

Tonatiuh shares the story of a dedicated ballet dancer who discovers the beauty of folkloric dances from the different regions of Mexico. She learns them all, sharing them with the world in performances by her dance company, El Ballet Folklórico. Gorgeous folkloric illustrations enhance each page’s details; I love these so much I want to frame them all. This is a wonderful tribute to one of my favorite performing companies and the dancer visionary who made it all happen.
ballet books for kids
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
ages 4 – 8
Sassy, nicknamed for her mouth, is tall with big feet but she doesn’t let that stop her from working toward her dream of being a ballerina.

Moo Moo in a Tutu
by Tim Miller
ages 2 – 6
Moo Moo wants to be a ballerina. His friend, Quackers, is a bit concerned since Moo Moo hasn’t ever had lessons but is a very supportive friend. Can you predict how this will go? I predict you will crack up! Love the speech bubbles and cartoon-style illustrations, too.

Matilda in the Middle: a Bunny Ballet Story
by Cori Doerrfeld
ages 4 – 8
It’s not easy being the middle child — especially with so many other brothers and sisters who are always so busy and in the way. Will they be too busy to see her dance in her big ballet performance? Of course not! A lovely book for kids who sometimes feel invisible.

Ballet Cat The Totally Secret Secret
by Bob Shea
ages 5 – 7
Sparkles, the horse, and Ballet Cat try to decide what to do–but Sparkles isn’t having fun, and he’s worried Ballet Cat won’t like it if he tells her he doesn’t want to play ballet. As it turns out, he has nothing to worry about because his friend, Ballet Cat, just wants to play with him. I would have liked a bit more humor, not so much predictability. However, I love the illustrations and comic-style dialogue bubbles.

Ultimate Sticker Books: Ballet
by DK
ages 6 – 12
Fill in the shadowed silhouettes with the 60+ reusable stickers and read all about a dancer’s life.

Ballet Stars
by Joan Holub, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
ages 5 – 7
Easy rhymes for new readers tell the story of ballet class, rehearsal, and a performance.

Katerina Ballerina
by Tiler Peck and Kyle Harris, illustrated by Sumiti Collina
ages 7 – 10
An earnest young girl loves ballet but since her dad can’t afford lessons, she watches YouTube videos and practices in her room. After a disastrous talent shows Katerina’s dad her bravery, Katrina’s dad stretches the budget for lessons. It’s not a great start though– she shows up in a red swimming suit and homemade tutu! But she makes a friend who helps her learn ballet terms and adjust to formal classes. As Katrina becomes more serious in her dancing, a competition reminds Katrina that she needs to balance both working hard and enjoying dancing.

Sugar Plum Ballerinas by Whoopi Goldberg and Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Maryn Roos
ages 7 – 10
First in the series of ballerina stories, this is about a 9-year old new girl, Alex, whose mom forces her to take ballet. Which she’s terrible at. Even still, friendships grow as Alex perseveres in her dancing. But will her stage fright end everything she’s worked for?
Books for Kids Who Love Ballet
Shai and Emmie Star in Dancy Pants!
by Quvenzhane Wallis with Nancy Ohlin, illustrated by Sharee Miller
ages 7 – 10
While not specifically about ballet but dance so I thought I’d include it because it’s about dancing…Shai and her two friends are preparing for a dance contest. Regrettably, Shai makes an impulsive bet with a rival team. Because of the bet, she’s pushing her friends harder than ever to be perfect. But her friends are irritated and things aren’t looking good for the competition when Shai sprains her ankle. Time for her to learn what is and isn’t important. Relatable with an appealing plot and characters. (Written by the movie star of Annie.)

A Girl Named Misty: The True Story of Misty Copeland
by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Melissa Manwill
ages 7 – 10
Dancers will be inspired to read Misty Copeland’s story about starting dance later than most kids and working hard to eventually become the first African American female principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. Filled with colorful illustrations, this well-written book will help you fall in love with Misty.

The Ballet Book
by Darcey Bussell
ages 8 – 12
Beautiful photographs and informational texts teach kids all about ballet from the basic positions to arabesques to point shoes and choreography. An essential guide.

Ballet Scratch and Sketch
by Mara Conlon, illustrated by Martha Day Zschock
Use the drawings as examples to sketch your own ballet drawings.

Ballet Shoes
by Noel Streatfeild
ages 8 – 12
Raised as sisters, these three orphans want to help their new family with money so they join a performance school to learn skills to make money. Follow the lives of each girl as they follow their passions, work hard, and support each other.
ballerina autobiography
Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina
by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince
ages 13+
An orphan who was thought never to be adopted due to her skin condition, Michaela was adopted from an orphanage in West Africa. Even at the orphanage, she wanted to be a ballerina — and her determination and hard work (growth mindset!) paid off. Her hard work paid off. Now she’s the youngest principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
ballerina autobiography
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
ages 13+
Misty Copeland doesn’t even start taking ballet until she’s a teenager — and it was at a community center, not a prestigious dance studio. Follow her struggles as she finds her passion and works hard to achieve her dreams.
ballet books for kids of all ages
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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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