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Books About Dance and Ballet

best childrens books about dance and ballet

Best Children’s Books About Dance and Ballet

From ballet to ballroom and disco to street dance, this list showcases the best children’s books about dance and ballet.

Vibrant and engaging picturebooks will have younger readers dancing along to tales of movement and rhythm, while non-fiction fans will delight at stories of real-life dancers.

This dance and ballet booklist also includes a wealth of dance-themed chapter books which tackle topics like friendship, teamwork and courage alongside rehearsals, costumes and talent shows.

Throw in some aliens, witches and dancing fruit, and you’ve got the best list of children’s books about dance!

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Picturebooks about dance and ballet

Clare Foges
 & Al Murphy
At night when you are sleeping There's a party in your house, It's a pumping, jumping, funky bash When all the lights go out . . . When the sun goes down, the Kitchen Disco starts up - and all the fruit in the fruit bowl come out to play. There are lemons who break-dance, tangerines who twirl and some very over-excited apples. Kitchen Disco is a zany and hilarious rhyming picture book for young children, featuring a stunning holographic foil spread in the middle of the book.
Katherine Woodfine
 & Lizzy Stewart
This gorgeously designed retelling of The Nutcracker will make the perfect Christmas present for ballet fans everywhere!In snow white covered St. Petersburg , young dancer Stana 's dreams have finally come true - she has been chosen to play the lead role in Tchaikovsky's new ballet, The Nutcracker . But with all eyes looking at her, can Stana overcome her nerves and dance like she's never danced before?From the author of the bestselling The Sinclair Mysteries , Katherine Woodfine , and Waterstone's Book Prize winner, Lizzy Stewart , this sumptuous and magical retelling of The Nutcracker will transport you on a journey fay beyond the page.
Holly Sterling

Ballet Kids is a lovely story written by Holly Sterling. As a parent of a child who attends ballet lessons, each page really resonated, and I know my daughter will also love this story.

The book introduces us to Thomas as the main character as well as a range of his friends who go to the same ballet school. Technical dance vocabulary is introduced in a child-friendly way and images on both the front and back pages reinforce the ballet terminology with images. The story builds up to a performance of The Nutcracker by all the children with each page describing the dance moves and outfits needed for their final show.

It is a very inclusive story that breaks down gender stereotypes and the perfect story for any young child who loves to dance.

Joseph Coelho
 & Fiona Lumbers
Discover the joy of dancing and the importance of family, whatever your culture, ability or style with Luna! When Luna dances, she feels like the world's volume turns up, like all colours brighten, like sunlight sparkles behind every cloud. But when she takes her dance exam she ducks, dives, spins and... falls. Luna thinks she can't be a real dancer now. Can Luna's family convince her otherwise? From the team that brought us Luna Loves Library Day, Luna Loves Art, and Luna Loves World Book Day, celebrate every culture and every style of dance with Luna, featuring a glorious fold out carnival page.
Anna Kemp
 & Sara Ogilvie

This is a popular picture book with a message about the right to follow individual choices even when it means opting to be different from others. Biff is not like ordinary dogs. Instead of chasing sticks and scratching his fleas, Biff likes moonlight, music and walking on tiptoes. Biff does not see himself as a dog but as a ballerina. Can he follow his dreams despite the way others see him? Dogs Don’t Do Ballet is an important story about allowing ourselves and others the freedom to express individual liberty.

Oti Mabuse
 & Samara Hardy
Strictly Come Dancing star Oti Mabuse's debut picture book, now in paperback!It’s time for Oti’s dance class! Join Oti in her dance studio and learn “The Bird Jive” in ten easy steps.There are lots of children in Oti’s dance class – and lots of feelings, too. Meet Fikile in her sparkly new shoes and Naira who is SUPER excited to get started! Gan is feeling a little worried about joining in whilst Martin can’t wait to show his parents what he can do! But in the middle of their dance routine, an unexpected visitor disrupts the class. Not to fear, Oti is here! Soon they are back on track, getting ready for the performance of their lives.Written by Strictly Come Dancing superstar Oti Mabuse, this debut picture book will dance into the hands of families who have loved watching Oti on-screen.Watch a step-by-step dance tutorial and listen to "The Bird Jive" when you scan the QR code in the book!
Katharine Holabird
 & Helen Craig
In an encore performance, Angelina Ballerina returns in this refreshed picture book from acclaimed author Katharine Holabird and celebrated artist Helen Craig!Angelina is a pretty little mouse who wants nothing more than to be a ballerina. She dances all the time—at home, at school, even in her dreams! In fact, she’s so busy dancing that she forgets all about the other things she’s supposed to do, like cleaning her room and joining her family for breakfast!Her parents don’t know what to do—especially after her arabesques in the kitchen knock over the milk! Then one day they come up with an idea that will change Angelina’s life forever…With Katharine Holabird’s lively writing and Helen Craig’s charming illustrations, the original story, now refreshed and re-released, will continue keeping a whole new generation of young ballerinas leaping with delight.
Adele Geras
 & Shelagh McNicholas
Little ballerinas will love this delightful story about budding ballerina, Tutu Tilly.Tilly loves going to ballet every Tuesday. From the moment Miss Anne claps her hands to start the class, Tilly does her best to become a beautiful ballerina. But will Tilly be ready in time for the big show?The first book in the charming Tutu Tilly series from award-winning author, Adele Geras.

Short chapter books about dance and ballet

Jean Ure
Chapter book

Born to Dance, a story by Jean Ure, is part of a series of three books known as the Dance Trilogy. For fans of dance or ballet, this is an ideal book. It also explores themes of friendship and aspirations.

The story is based on the main character, Maddy, and her developing friendship with a new girl at her school – Caitlyn. Maddy is convinced that Caitlyn is a ballet dancer too but Caitlyn denies it. The story then follows Maddy as she discovers Caitlyn is a dancer and how their friendship develops as a result of it.

The characters in the book are relatable and children will enjoy reading this tale and seeing how the friendship between the two characters is formed over a common bond.

Swapna Reddy
 & Binny Talib
Chapter book
Learning to ballet dance is harder than Millie expected. The other dancers in the class aren't very nice to her either. But just when she's thinking that maybe ballet isn't for her after all, Millie meets the ballet bunnies! They live hidden in the ballet school, using what they find to make their home-ballet shoes for beds, upside down cups for tables-and secretly take the ballet classes with the humans. Maybe the ballet bunnies can help Millie master some news ballet skills after all!
Jean Ure
 & Charlie Alder
Chapter book

Star for a Day is a heartwarming dance-themed story for independent readers in Key Stage 2. Following two contrasting sisters auditioning for a TV talent show, it explores themes of jealousy and relationships while imparting an important lesson about staying true to oneself. The book is accessible, with a straightforward narrative that effortlessly engages young readers. Through well-developed characters, children will empathise with the sisters’ journey and the challenges they face.

Emma Finlayson-Palmer
 & Heidi Cannon
Chapter book

This is a great introduction to short chapter books, particularly for children with an interest in magic, gymnastics and dance.

This fast-paced, illustrated chapter book is the first book in the Autumn Moonbeam series. It is a magical tale about a young witch who dreams of being part of the Sparkledale Dance Academy. She learns that Magical dance is not just about the moves, but about creating magical images, sounds and feelings to embellish each step. Autumn sees the world in a unique way and readers will be charmed by her from the start of the series.

The narrative is full of humour and is set in an adorably witchy world. The illustrations are enchanting and full of detail, helping young readers to enjoy the story and world further. A recommended must-read for any young child who enjoys fun, witches, magic, dance and humour.

For keen readers, another Autumn book called ‘Spooky Sleepover’ is also available.

Darcey Bussell
Chapter book
Prima Ballerina Darcey Bussell takes you on a captivating journey to a faraway land of ballet and magic, the wonderful world of Enchantia! The first of a sparkly new series for all young girls who dream of being a ballerina, or simply love to dance…Delphie’s greatest dream is to become a ballerina, and she can't quite believe it when she is invited to join the new ballet school. But there's more to Madame Zarakova's than it at first seems and with the help of some very special ballet shoes, Delphie finds herself spinning into a whole new world…

Yasmine Naghdi,Chitra Soundar
 & Paula Franco
Chapter book

The first in a new inclusive series by Principal Ballerina Yasmine Naghdi and well-known children’s author Chitra Soundar.

Yara wants to become a professional ballerina. Her parents had signed her up for ballet classes at Shimmer and Shine and they even put on a show – but Yara learns that it couldn’t come at the cost of her school lessons.

Yara gets distracted with ballet practising for her lead in Sleeping Beauty. When she forgets to complete her homework or concentrate on her classwork, Miss Diamond and her mum explain that schoolwork is equally important to pursue a career in ballet. Yara’s passion for ballet at first distracts her from school work especially because she gets the lead part in a performance that had so much at stake. But with the help of her friends and timely advice from her teachers and her parents, Yara realises that it’s important to balance both without giving up one or the other.

We also see this through the experiences of her friends, Indu and Dante, too. Indu is not learning ballet because she wants to be a professional dancer. Her hobby might always remain a hobby, but that’s ok too. Dante on the other hand has two passions – football and ballet – while also focussing on his studies and he does make it seem easy to balance them.

This illustrated chapter book will appeal to Lower KS2 children who love dance.


Longer chapter books about dance and ballet

Noel Streatfeild
Chapter book

One of the greatest books of all time. I reread the story of Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil taking to the stage regularly. I love escaping into the warm, gentle world of these characters, the way you get to really enjoy backstage life, and how it celebrates young women with talent and ambition. (Ages 8-12)

Ashley Banjo & Jordan Banjo
Chapter book
An action-packed, laugh-out-loud, high-energy story for boys and girls featuring adults taken over by aliens and a brave group of kids who must work together as a team to stop them! From TV personalities and Diversity street dance superstars, brothers Ashley and Jordan Banjo. Brothers Trey and Jax spend after-school hours rehearsing with their street dance collective the Fly High Crew, until the evening they see a green beam of light flash out of the sky and are thrown into an out-of-this-world adventure! Aliens have landed and are mind-controlling all the teachers and adults: can the Fly High Crew work together as a team and save the day? Written in collaboration with Alexandra Sheppard. Full of fantastic art by Dionna Gary Bunn.
Catherine Bruton
Chapter book

A superb read. This is a gripping and thought-provoking story exploring the experience of an eleven-year-old girl fleeing conflict in Syria. Aya’s tale is told with such compassion that takes the reader on a real empathy journey. No Ballet Shoes in Syria is an important story that is beautifully told with warmth and compassion.

Maisie Chan

A beautiful tale of love, determination and hope. Follow the adventures of Lizzie, her grandfather, Wai Gong, and her friends as they are determined to make it to the Tower Ballroom for afternoon tea – a gift from Lizzie’s late grandmother.

The characters represent a diverse community in Scotland all of whom are overcoming their own struggles and it soon becomes evident that Wai Gong needs more support than twelve-year-old Lizzie can provide.

This is an enjoyable and heart-warming read for Years 5 and 6. At times humourous and at others, deeply emotional, this dance-themed tale will warm your heart as you delve into the relationships between the different characters and discover how powerful kindness and a good support network can be.

Camilla Chester
Chapter book

Leo wants to talk but he can’t. He has all the words but fear means they won’t come out. When Risha moves in next door, he’s worried that when his new friend finds out his secret he’ll be left alone again. But when he learns her secret, he hopes to help her and make her a permanent friend,

This book sensitively explains selective mutism for young (and older) readers. Told beautifully over a hot summer, we are let into the world of a young KS2 boy who is often treated as though he’s not there. He really wants to participate in school activities and make friends, but anxiety stops him. As the story progresses, we’re taken on a journey as Leo takes steps to achieve his future dream of dancing in The Lion King. However, if his selective mutism stops him from dancing in the summer dance show how can he ever dance on the West End Stage?

As readers, children can develop empathy for others who may find it difficult to speak in front of them, and the end of the book gives tips to support classmates. The story explains some of the frustrations that classmates of those with selective mutism might feel, and how to be supportive. It also gives a voice to those who might feel that, particularly in the classroom, they have none.

As a teacher this was an excellent read, giving an insight into how pupils with selective mutism might navigate the world around them and giving tips on how you might support a child in your class to give them the same opportunities as others. It would be great for use in PSHE lessons exploring empathy.

Non-fiction books about dance and ballet

Michaela DePrince
 & Ella Okstad
Chapter book Non-fiction
One windy day, a magazine blew down the road. I reached out and caught it. A pretty picture of a woman was on the front cover of the magazine. She wore a short pink dress that stuck out around her in a circle. She looked very happy.At the age of three, Michaela DePrince found a photo of a ballerina that changed her life. She was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone at the time, but was soon adopted by a family and brought to America. Michaela never forgot the photo of the dancer she once saw, and decided to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true. She has been dancing ever since, and after a spell as a principal dancer in New York, now dances for the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.Beautifully and gently illustrated by Ella Okstad, Ballerina Dreams is the younger-reader edition of Michaela DePrince's highly moving memoir, Hope in a Ballet Shoe.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Eleonora Arosio
New in the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Rudolf Nureyev, one of the greatest male ballet dancers of all time.Rudolf fell in love with dance as a child. But he was not allowed to go to ballet school until he was 17. There, he had to make up for lost time and hone his skills to compete with the other dancers. As a professional, he dazzled audiences with sensational performances and star power. He went on to become a world-renowned choreographer and master of perfection in dance. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the dancer's life.Little People, BIG DREAMS is a bestselling biography series for kids that explores the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.This empowering series of books offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardback and paperback versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. With rewritten text for older children, the treasuries each bring together a multitude of dreamers in a single volume. You can also collect a selection of the books by theme in boxed gift sets. Activity books and a journal provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children.Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!
Sir Alistair Spalding
 & Jason Raish

Welcome to the Arts: Dance is a beautifully presented large format, dip-in, dip-out non-fiction book about the world of dance.

The book takes the reader on a guided tour of dance; from choreography, set design and costumes to different ‘stages’ of dance, including theatre, folk, social and movie dances.

Each section gives a well-researched description of the element of dance, describing its history or technical elements – such as the five positions in ballet. Each page includes beautiful ‘Now Showing’ images, often taken from famous photographs of dancers performing such as Darcey Bussell in The Nutcracker or The Nicholas Brothers (famous tap dancers) in Sun Valley Serenade.

While the most well-known dance styles are covered – ballet, ballroom and Latin, it is the lesser-known dances that most capture the imagination. Morris dancing, Khon (a traditional Thai dance), Adumu (the Maasai jumping dance) all feature, as well as a range of modern, popular dances such as disco and hip-hop.

The reader can learn about famous dancers around the world from the past and present, from Rudolf Nureyev (ballet) to Martha Graham (contemporary), from Antonio Gades (flamenco) to Fred Astaire (popular dance), learning how they became famous, what they were known for and their impact on the world of dance.

The book is a loving tribute to the world of dance, curated by Sir Alistair Spalding and Jason Rush through the Sadler’s Wells Theatre. It would be a welcome addition to any KS2 library and I think there is many a dance-loving child who would pour over the pages time and time again.

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Sue Downing
Non-fiction Picturebook
In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the true story of ballet dancer Anna Pavlova.Little Anna fell in love with ballet after watching a performance with her mother. At the age of just nine-years-old, she auditioned for the famous Imperial Ballet! But… she was rejected.The set-back didn’t stop Anna – she auditioned again a year later and was accepted into the company. Although ballet was her passion, it didn’t always come easily to her, and she worked fiercely to become the best.After her training was complete, she performed across Russia and later formed her own company with which she toured the world. The story of Anna Pavlova, one of the greatest dancers to have ever lived, teaches us that with hard work, our talents can take us wherever we want to go.This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the star’s life.
Darcey Bussell
Does the poise, grace, and beauty of a prima ballerina take your breath away? Ever dreamt of landing that perfect pirouette?Covering everything from basic positions to the finesse of a pas de deux, this inspiring book will help your child pursue the elegant dance form of ballet. Perfect your port de bras and learn how to dance adagio and allegro. You will even find out the best way to look after your ballet shoes and ensure your make up is just right for your first night on stage.Using gorgeous photos of ballet dancers and easy-to-follow instructions, one of the world's finest ballet dancers Dame Darcey Busell will teach you various poses, jumps, and exercises, as well as advanced moves and pointework.You will also discover folk and character dancing and read about the great choreographers and composers throughout ballet's history.The Ballet Book beautifully illustrates the world of ballet with captivating notes on classical techniques, the evolution of the dance form, the world's greatest dancers, and a fascinating look on what goes on behind the scene.Budding ballet dancers, this one's for you!

Tim Lihoreau,Philip Noyce
 & Sally Agar

The Very Young Person’s guide to Ballet Music is an informative book created by Classic FM. The book, written by Tim Lihoreau and Phillip Noyce, introduces a story that explains what ballet is at the same time as describing different music and stories that ballet accompanies.

Throughout the book, key vocabulary is explained and additional fact boxes provide extra detail about each piece of music. Each page explains the story and classic music featured, these include The Nutcracker, The Firebird and Swan Lake.

All the pages have a range of details all beautifully illustrated by Sally Agar that complement the story. The most special feature of this book is that on each page is a button you can press so you can hear the music that is being described. This is a unique aspect that makes it stand out from other books about dance.

There are also additional pages at the back that detail ballet positions and give information about composters, legendary choreographers and performers, plus a mouse (named Matilda) hidden within the pages for children to find for fun.

This book is informative, engaging and fun and would be perfect for anyone learning about classical music or ballet as a dance form.

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