For the animal lover: Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae with illustrations by Guy Parker-Rees; 32 pages; Cartwheel Books Before he can confidently make his way to the dance floor of the Jungle Dance, Gerald the giraffe needs encouragement—and musical accompaniment, it turns out—from a friendly cricket. Preschoolers will love the rhyming text!
For the brothers in the studio lobby: Max by Rachel Isadora; 32 pages; Aladdin This dance book for elementary-age kids has an unusual protagonist: Max, a baseball fan who joins his sister’s dance class one Saturday morning on a whim. Don’t be surprised if the brothers of your female students sidle up to hear you read this one.
For the anti-tutu dancer: Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace with illustrations by LeUyen Pham; 40 pages; Disney-Hyperion Ballet newbie Vampirina finds she has a few extra dance challenges as a vampire: She can only take night class; the mirror doesn’t show her reflection; sometimes she turns into a bat. Young dancers who aren’t into the frilly side of ballet will love Vampirina’s pluckiness.
For the older student: A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey Student by Valerie Gladstone with photos by Jose Ivey; 48 pages; Henry Holt and Co. Your more serious preteen students will identify with 13-year-old Iman Bright, a dancer at The Ailey School in New York City, who must balance her dance training with academics and violin lessons. Ivey’s photographs offer rich detail, too.