Education, Family Life, Stages

Dance Into the Library

There’s usually at least one budding performer in every family, and what better way to inspire their love of the stage (or help quell their fears) than with a book about their craft! Check out these great titles from the New Orleans Public Library to grow their passion for dance, music, acting, and more.

Dive into the fascinating history of one of our city’s iconic instruments with your little ones in Lesa Cline and James E. Ransome’s The Story of the Saxophone. Starting in 1840s Belgium, the once shunned invention makes its way across Europe, into Mexico, before finally landing in a New Orleans pawn shop where it first became the symbol of jazz we know today.

For your family’s tiny dancer, try out This is Tap! Savion Glover Finds His Funk by Selene Castrovilla and Laura Freeman or Finding My Dance by Ria Thundercloud and Kalila J. Fuller. Both tell the true stories of two dancers –– one Black and the other Indigenous – and how their love of dance brought them closer to their heritage, history, and culture.

Middle Grade
Jabari Asim’s approachable Child’s Introduction to Jazz: the Musicians, Culture, and Roots of the World’s Coolest Music is a fun, interactive way to get young readers interested in their city’s most famous genre. From swing and Dixieland to the blues and bebop, Asim takes audiences back in time to meet Jazz icons, while also hearing some really cool sounds via download links sprinkled throughout the book.

Show your aspiring dancer that not all ballerinas have to look the same with Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy by Misty Copeland and Salena Barnes. Copeland, the first Black American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, shares stories of trailblazing dancers of color who made her own success possible.

In Kayla Miller’s endearing graphic novel, Click, readers follow Olive’s journey to self-discovery as she navigates the changing social dynamics of her fifth grade class as she desperately searches for friends to perform within a school variety show. Not wanting to be alone on stage, Olive gets a crash course in friendship, family, and how to take the stage in the most important role of all.

K-pop-loving teens are sure to fall for the fan-favorite tropes littering Lyla Lee’s YA romcom, Flip the Script, which follows rising K-drama star Hana as she lands a role in the next hot show and has to navigate the industry while trying not to fall for her on-screen rival IRL. Readers can also armchair travel to South Korea alongside Hana as she takes them through popular spots.

Music lovers of all genres are sure to be inspired by Ashley Walker and Maureen Charles’ Music Mavens: 15 Women of Note in the Industry. From composing and songwriting, performing and conducting, audio engineering, producing, and rock photography, this biographical collection reveals how these extraordinary women turned their passions into platforms and how they use their power to uplift others.

This article was originally published in August 2023.

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