Favorite books for dance making with younger students
My all time favorite is Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell because you can interact with the text (it’s a flip book; the children have to guess the animals) and they can travel through the space as different animals. I tend to stop after each animal so the children can dance them, then call them back to the book for the next page.
Another fun interactive book, that gives sound and footprint hint to help children guess the next animal is Animal Tracks by Dee Dee Duffy. Fun for moving more specifically like animals: bounding, pacing, diagonal walking, etc. (Google that!)
Everyone likes to dance We’re going on a bear hunt. We like the one illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.
I just found a book called The Magic Hat by Mem Fox that looks like a winner.
The Mitten, illustrated by Jan Brett, is fun for relationship lessons. Everyone gets very near in the mitten, which we design on the floor with yarn (or with people on the boundaries).
There’s a cool one for pathways called The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer that I learned about from Beth Melin-Nelson at the Level I training for American Orff Schulwerk last summer in Dallas.
For older students (7 and up)
Diane Siebert’s books: Mojave, Truck Song, Heartland –are rhythmic poem books that lend themselves to choreography and can used with older children too.
Ditto for Thomas Locker’s book Water Dance.
What are you dancing?
Below are some great dance books that I recommend for the the dancer(s) in your lives.
1. I am a Dancer – by Pat Lowery Collins (ages 3-8) – A wonderful imaginative story about how we are dancers wherever we go! Really nice illustrations as well.
2. The Animal Boogie – by Debbie Harter (ages 3-6) – A rhyming text presents animals as they dance their way around the jungles. This books also includes a sing-a-long CD!
3. Giraffes Can’t Dance – by Giles Andrede (ages 3-8) – A wonderful story set in the jungle! This book has a great message for all of us!
4. Let’s Dance – by George Ancona (ages 4-8) – This book shows the joy of dance with children and adults from many countries who leap, turn, and boogie. Stunning photographs!
5. Marie in Fourth Position – by Amy Littlesugar (ages 6-10) – This is the story of Degas’s little dancer. After Marie models for the artist and sculptor Edgar Degas, Marie feels transformed into a butterfly and becomes known all over the world as “The Little Dancer”.
6. Tanya and Emily in a Dance for Two – by Patricia Lee Gauch (ages 4-8) – When Tanya, the smallest and wiggliest girl in her ballet class, makes friends with a talented newcomer, they both learn something. A wonderful book with ballet terminology.
7. Ailey Spirit – The Journal of an American Dance Company – (ages 12+) – An incredible book with eye-opening photographs illuminates the performance and artistic quality of this well known dance company.
8. Basic Principles of Classical Ballet – (ages 12+) – This is the one book I carried around with me throughout college. A nice little book for serious ballet students that has stood the test of time! A real nice reference book.
9. Modern Tap Dictionary – by Glenn Shipley (ages 10+) – A wonderful little book for tap students. Great explanation of steps and terminology. Another oldie, but goodie!
These books can be found on Amazon.com and/or at Barnes & Noble.
Books that are fun for summer and swimming.
Used this one today with Head Start (3 to 5 year olds) and then played “C’mon and Swim” recorded by Bobby Freeman to do the moves from the book. Totally fun!
Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathan London (ISBN 0-670-8551-0)