Saturday, November 29, 2014

Read & Romp Roundup: Sept/Oct 2014

Welcome to the September/October Read & Romp Roundup! And since it's actually November, this post also gives me an opportunity to highlight one of my favorite online celebrations -- Picture Book Month! The Picture Book Month blog is full of posts from children's book authors and illustrators who have been sharing all month long why picture books are important to them. It's a very inspiring read, and one I am feeling thankful for this time of year!


Just in time for the cold weather, Darshana at Flowering Minds reviews the new picture book Flora and the Penguin -- the sequel to the popular Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle. Her post includes a delightful trailer for this lift-the-flap book about friendship, told through beautiful ice dancing scenes with the two main characters.


At Wild Things Yoga, Kathleen shares some yoga ideas to go with Manfish: A Story of  Jacque Cousteau by Jennifer Berne and Eric Puybaret. She uses the book to talk about the concept of Ahimsa (non-violence) and try out some fun yoga poses related to the sea!


At Mother Daughter & Son Book Reviews, Renee and her son highlight the new picture book Twelve Dancing Unicorns by Alissa Heyman and Justin Gerard -- a variation of Twelve Dancing Princesses but with unicorns instead! Renee says the book is "an absolutely enchanting tale weaving the themes of magic, love, and friendship" with artwork that is "among the best I've seen in picture books."


Book to Boogie is a monthly series of the Library as Incubator Project in which guest bloggers pair picture books with movement activities for story time. The September post was on Quick as a Cricket by Audrey and Don Wood. The October post was on Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball by Vicki Churchill and Charles Fuge.


Debbie at American Indians in Children's Literature features Girls Dance, Boys Fiddle by Carole Lindstrom and Kimberley McKay. The main character is a girl named Metisse who would rather play the fiddle than dance, even though most people in her community expect girls to dance. Metisse is part of an Aboriginal group known as the Métis people, who live in parts of Canada and the Northern United States. According to Debbie, you can find elements of Métis culture on every page! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Join the Sept/Oct Read & Romp Roundup!


The mornings are getting darker, the days are getting shorter, and fall is in the air -- at least here in the states. So it must be time for the September/October Read & Romp Roundup! If you have a recent (or even not so recent) blog post that involves picture books or children's poetry AND dance, yoga, or another form of movement, leave your link in a comment on this post. Or, you can reach me on Facebook or Twitter to let me know about your link. I'll round up all the links and post them together soon. Looking forward to hearing from you! 

Submissions are open through Monday, October 27, 2014. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Read, Create, Dance: Crafterina's New Video!

Today's a special day for our friend Vanessa Salgado -- dancer, dance educator, visual artist, and creator extraordinaire. Vanessa is the mastermind behind a unique character and children's book called Crafterina, which is a storybook, craft book, and dance lesson all rolled into one. Today is special because it marks the launch of Crafterina's first YouTube video about the book. Take a look!


I had the pleasure of interviewing Vanessa last year to talk about how Crafterina came to be and how crafts and dance go hand in hand. You can read that interview here. And, to supplement the book, Vanessa has created an Etsy site where you can purchase a wide range of additional dance-themed crafts. Her back-to-school paper dolls and pumpkin Halloween mask are popular ones for this time of year. Congratulations, Vanessa, on all your success!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Giveaway: Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance!


When I first saw the cover of Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif, I knew it was a picture book I wanted to get my hands on. And when I finally did, I wasn't disappointed. The cover, which I loved from the start, doesn't even do justice to the illustrations inside. Created in muted tones with pencil and digital coloring, they are truly gorgeous! 

Dedicated "to all those who live with all their heart," Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance is a child's journey of overcoming inhibitions to be herself and do what she loves, no matter who might be watching. 

Frances Dean loves to dance. In fact, she loves to dance AND dance (as the title of the book implies.) She especially loves to dance outside, where she can feel the wind and hear the birds around her -- as long as no one is watching, that is. But with the help of her animal friends and another little girl with a big talent, Frances slowly but surely overcomes her self-consciousness. In fact, by the end of the book, she loves to dance and dance AND dance in front of everyone!


Overcoming inhibitions to pursue your passion is an important life lesson, and one that often takes years to learn. I still remember when I was in college, covering up my computer screen any time someone came in the room, for fear that he or she might read what I was writing. Now, many years later, I'm willing to show my writing to just about anyone, eager for feedback and comfortable with criticism. But boy did it take a long time. 

Little Frances Dean, having already overcome similar fears, is well on her way to a happy and healthy life. Although Frances Dean's passion is dance, her story is universal and could be applied to other passions such as music, art, and sports. I hope she can inspire lots of other little girls and boys to follow in her footsteps!

I'm giving away a copy of Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance! Simply leave a comment on this post to enter. Feel free to share your passion, or share a story about overcoming your inhibitions, in your comment. The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. 

You can learn more about author/illustrator Birgitta Sif at http://www.birgittasif.com or in a recent interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. And finally, thanks to Random House for sending me a review copy of this book. I ended up buying my own copy as well, so receiving the review copy allowed me to host this giveaway. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Read & Romp Roundup: July/August 2014

I just realized that August was the four-year anniversary of Picture Books & Pirouettes. When I was starting the blog back in 2010, someone asked me if there were really enough dance-related picture books to keep the blog going. I had done my research, and I knew that the answer was yes. But, as time has gone on, even I have been amazed by the sheer number of movement-related books out there -- those that contain movement, those that inspire movement, and those that do both. And they just keep coming!

If you check out the left-hand column of the blog, you will see some new releases, some books that have been on the shelves for a little while, and some others that will be published in the next few months. The July/August Read & Romp Roundup also highlights many of these titles -- a true testament to this special niche in children's literature. Thanks for helping Picture Books & Pirouettes keep going strong!



At Playing by the Book, Zoe hosted a summer picture book party that included reading, dancing, and creative cooking and crafts. One of the books she featured was Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance, which inspired Zoe and her daughters to dance with abandon, just like Frances Dean learns to do in the book!


Thanks to Cathy Ballou Mealy, I also found a lovely review of Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance on the blog The Illustrated Forest. The author of the post sums up this beautiful book by Birgitta Sif so eloquently in the first few lines of the post that I hope it entices you to read the rest. "Birgitta Sif writes books for people like us; she takes characters that are introverted and makes them brave; she makes them heroes in their own way, and if you are a little shy that is truly uplifting."


Kathleen at Wild Things Yoga shares a yoga lesson plan, perfect for first and second graders, to go with the picture book I Wonder by Annaka Harris and John Rowe. Following a discussion of the book and what her students wonder about in general, Kathleen explores the concept of wondering using movement. For example, "I wonder what would happen if we try to balance on our hands?" and "I wonder what would happen if we try to put our head to our knees?" Fun!


At Picture-Book-a-Day, Amy shares one of her monthly picture book roundups, where she reviews four recent picture books. Two of the books -- Father's Chinese Opera by Rich Lo and I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison and Frank Morrison -- contain lots of movement. And if you're looking for movement ideas to go with I Got the Rhythm, Amy's got you covered! She features the book, along with movement ideas for preschool story time, in the August Book to Boogie post at the Library as Incubator Project.


The July Book to Boogie post at the Library as Incubator Project features the picture book Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, and Ted Rand. Written by dance educator Maria Hanley, the enthusiastic post provides plenty of ideas for getting babies and toddlers moving with different body parts!


Thanks to Darshana Khiani, I found out about the blog All Done Monkey, which recently featured a board book about dances from India! Dances of India is the first in a series of four books created by two mothers who wanted to increase the availability of multicultural books for small children. With the help of two characters named Maya and Leela, the book takes readers on a journey across India, introducing four classical dances from distinct regions of the country.


I had the pleasure of meeting well-known author and illustrator Jules Feiffer at a children's writing conference a few years ago and was delighted when I stumbled across a video of him discussing his new picture book Rupert Can Dance. The MacMillan Children's Publishing Group hosts the wonderful one-minute video, during which Mr. Feiffer talks about his inspiration for the book.


I recently discovered the blog The Brown Bookshelf, which "is designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers." In July, the site highlighted two picture books about young girls inspired to dance. The first -- Firebird -- is written by Misty Copeland, who as a soloist for the American Ballet Theater was the first Black woman to star in the Firebird ballet. The second -- A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream -- is about a little girl who becomes inspired by the first Black prima ballerina, Janet Collins.


And last but not least, I discovered a post on The Book Chook featuring a new picture book out of Australia called Little Piggy's Got No Moves. Written by the husband and wife team of Phillip Gwynne and Eliza McCann with illustrations by Tom Jellett, the book celebrates the uniqueness of every child through a story about Little Piggy, who learns that he really can dance, even though no one thought piggies could groove. Check it out!
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