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Ballerina Dreams: A True Story Hardcover – October 2, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2—Five adorable little girls are given the opportunity to learn to dance like ballerinas and eventually perform on stage. This is no small accomplishment since the girls have cerebral palsy and other muscle disorders and several wear leg braces. To inspire them, their teacher, who is a dancer and physical therapist, gives each of them a glittery tiara and a wand. Assistance is provided to them, as needed, by helpers between the ages of 11 and 16 who work with them during each class and at the recital. As the children learn the steps, their confidence improves and their muscles grow stronger. Finally on the day of the recital, the excitement of makeup and lovely costumes combines with the magic of performing to the beautiful music from The Nutcracker and Swan Lake as they realize their dreams. This is an inspiring portrayal of determination and love that will foster empathy among young readers. The colorful photographs of this dancing community working toward a common goal accurately and sensitively capture the struggles and joyful enthusiasm of all of the participants.—Carol Schene, formerly at Taunton Public Schools, MA
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“Thompson frames (the girls') story as one of a dream come true . . . and in describing the girls' work with their teacher . . . the author stresses what these girls might have in common with the audience--their excitement, their delight in their tutus and tiaras, their last-minute jitters, their unmistakable pleasure in dancing . . . The insightful presentation encourages readers not only to identify with the dancers, but to draw inspiration from them as well.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“This is an inspiring portrayal of determination and love that will foster empathy among young readers. The colorful photographs of this dancing community working toward a common goal accurately and sensitively capture the struggles and joyful enthusiasm of all of the participants.” ―School Library Journal, starred review
“Ballerina Dreams is a beautifully photographed book . . . what comes across most strongly is the matching joy on all of (the girls') faces as they demonstrate the skills they have honed . . . a lovely gift to aspiring young dancers of all abilities.” ―National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD)
“Inspiring.” ―The Washington Post
“This lovely book focuses on five little girls who long desperately to be ballerinas on stage . . . the overwhelming theme is simply joy. An example of a small idea making things better for a small group of children, this program is truly noteworthy, as is its loving founder.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“The images of openly thrilled performers, all supported from behind by teen helpers, are affecting in the extreme. With adult guidance, this will support character education units about perseverance, and young dancers drawn by the pink jacket (which doesn't hint at the girls' physical challenges) will emerge with a new empathy for those whose outward differences tend to set them apart.” ―Booklist
“[Ballerina Dreams] could go a long way to teach tolerance to today's youth, and remind adults that no dream is out of reach.” ―Oklahoma Gazette
“Get out the Kleenex! Ballerina Dreams by Lauren Thompson is such a charming, heartwarming, bittersweet book that you cannot fail to be moved.” ―Readia: Children's Book Reviews (blog)
“Five little girls with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities share the dream of becoming ballerinas. With their powerful determination and the help of several committed teachers, these little girls get the chance to realize their dreams. …This touching story would be a useful resource in an early childhood educational setting as an example of individuals with different abilities or disabilities, and its message of determination in the face of adversity is one that parents and educators of children of all ages would find useful.” ―Children's Literature
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Top customer reviews
It's a book for people of all ages, and it really focuses on your abilities rather than inabilities and these girls look like they are having the time of their young lives. Joann Ferrara started teaching them ballet four years ago with only five students. She was a physical therapist and wanted to make childrens dreams of becoming ballerinas come true. She's done a terrific job and with the help of handlers for these girls, they perform to standing ovations.
With the holidays coming up, this book will make an excellent gift. It's heartwarming and beautiful and I highly highly recommend it to everyone.
This gave me a chance to talk with my daughter who takes dance classes about how blessed that she is with good health.