6 New Children’s Books to Inspire Dance On and Off the Page
These six new releases—perfect for preschool and early elementary dance classrooms—are no exception.
By JILL RANDALL
March 4, 2021
Picture books can offer so much to students, families and teachers alike. Whether inspiring a new dance project or educating about a famous dancer or dance style, books can deepen childrens’ love of dance and expand their imaginations.
I Can Make a Water Dance
Written and illustrated by Karen Diaz Ensanian
Snow, rain, rivers and geysers. Water takes so many forms and can inspire so many different ways to move. Longtime dance educator Karen Diaz Ensanian wrote and illustrated this playful book to explore the water cycle in classes with elementary-age students. Or, if you teach at a K–8 school, consider a multi-age project bringing together both lower school and middle school students.
“Karen Diaz Ensanian has created a beautiful book that will delight readers of all ages. Captivating illustrations are superimposed with photographs of young dancers leaping and twirling through all the stages of the water cycle. Each lushly painted page has an accompanying poem and movement question that is sure to inspire young and old to create their own dances as they learn about precipitation, condensation, evaporation and more! I highly recommend this book for schools, libraries and homes. Movement is the key to learning!”
Anne Green Gilbert, Author Creative Dance for All Ages and BrainDance
Founder, Creative Dance Center and Kaleidoscope Dance Company, Seattle
“[I Can Make a Water Dance creates]…beauty and opportunity to facilitate wonder and dance making with children…it would be a gem for all children and educators.”
Erin Lally, Director Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) New York City
Message: Hi there, I wanted to check out your book on your website and I think it is such an amazing idea. It is a new and refreshing idea to make dance more accessible... Congratulations! Oddly enough, my Saturday dance group JUST started the water cycle last week as part of a 'Perfect Planet' project (BBC nature documentary)!! Anyway, it is great to see your work. Thanks.
Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2021
I teach creative dance to children. This book is fabulous - The descriptive language in the text will facilitate rich explorations and the question at the end of each page is an invitation for discovery by the children/dancers. The images of the children dancing right in the paintings taps into the wonder and imagination of young minds. I love how the end of the book provides a section with all of the body shapes and descriptive words in one place and also provides a very clear and simple step by step structure for creating a dance on your own - this will be so helpful to families and teachers who may not be dance specialists. For those dance educators who teach with the language of LMA, it’s all there! Highly recommended!
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2021
As a dance educator who has taught a water cycle dance for many years, I so enjoyed the playful text, the textured illustrations, and the incredible images of children dancing in this book. It is a "refreshing" exploration for all and inspired my process moving forward.
Teachers who are not Dance Educators will also benefit from the science, literacy, and creative suggestions provided in the book. Dance invites all, engages all, and moves people forward in life and learning...the cycle never ends!
Dr. Karen Campbell Kuebler
Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2021
I immediately purchased this book when it came out for I am always looking for books that inspire children to express themselves through dance. As a dance/movement psychotherapist working with children with a variety of concerns from anxiety to medical illness, I need dance books that are open-ended that encourage self-expression and movement modification, rather than teaching specific dance moves. Not always an easy find. This book is terrific. The beautifully drawn images, and photos of children in a variety of imaginative dance poses and the clear simple text was just perfect! It provided inspiration for both me and the children I shared it with, encouraging them to get up and move and even dance in their beds. Thanks Karen!
Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2021
This book is perfection! If you are interested in movement as a parent or educator, this book will be a very special addition to your library. It uses creative movement to follow the path of the water cycle. It will inspire imaginations and bodies and inform on science while connecting to the natural world! As a movement specialist, I’m so excited to use it with a group because I already know how captivated they will be!
Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2021
What a wonderful book by a devoted and skilled teacher. The author reveals her methods for teaching children to learn to control their bodies and movements. She does so in a creative, fun way that engages not only their bodies, but also their minds. When you realize what your child is actually doing, it is amazing. As a parent, it is also nice to have another fun family activity that the children love and doesn't leave your home in disarray!
Reviewed in the United States on February 19, 2021
Not only is the book beautifully written and conceived, it is beautifully illustrated as well. A gorgeous book for all ages but especially those curious developing young minds to whom it will so perfectly appeal.
Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2021
This is a beautiful book combining photographs and paintings by the author. It tells the story of the water cycle - that water changes form but can never be diminished or destroyed, a reassuring reality for both children and adults.
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2021
Wonderful, inspirational, and beautiful book for parents, educators and, frankly, adults. Highly recommend.
Reviewed in the United States on April 1, 2021
Everything about this book is superb. It is charming and a wonderful way to connect 'water' with children...great for dance teachers and early childhood educators. A MUST for your classroom libraries.
Thank you @icanmakeadance for sending this book to us! We are so excited for a book that celebrates creative dance and gives an entry point in to making dance out of ideas and the world around you! The pictures of the children are so wonderful and the gorgeous illustrations make the book a work of art. This book is a must have for any dance educator, parent, or school. It is delicious launching point for so many activities.