- Grade Level: 4 - 6
- Paperback: 236 pages
- Publisher: iUniverse Publishing (July 7, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1462018718
- ISBN-13: 978-1462018710
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #793,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dancing on the Inside Paperback – July 7, 2011
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"The journey Strathy takes readers on as Jenny finds friendship, along with her real talent, and learns how to make her own dreams come true, is emotionally gripping, and the ballet world the author takes readers into is authentic and exciting..." - Jocelyn Reekie, CM Magazine
"Dancing On the Inside is a fine and very much recommended read for younger readers who may be facing stage fright themselves." - Midwest Book Review
... a story that is enchanting, fast paced and definitely inspiring." - Fran Lewis, BookPleasures.com
"A story that is motivational as well as inspiring, this book is great for anyone who struggles with shyness or self doubt." - Brenda C. for Readers Favorite
"I really love "Dancing on the Inside" because I love to dance and I love ballet. It is a very interesting book and I think girls my age to at least thirteen would like this book. This is fun to read and some ballet moves they do in the book, you just have to look up!" - Madeline McElroy (age 10) for Reader Views (1/12)
From the Author
I wrote this book in hope it would inspire shy girls to have the courage to pursue their own dreams.
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If I were a middle-school-aged child, I would have fallen in love with this book immediately. It has a sense of tragedy to it that ends in triumph and self-empowerment, which would inspire any little girl reading this story. Since I am an adult reading a middle-grade novel, my review is going to be somewhat different.
First of all, Jenny's paralyzing anxiety is a little much. Granted there are genetically-transferred anxieties passed from parents to children. However ... Jenny's anxiety was a little over-the-top for my taste. And the fact that the adults somewhat coddled her by allowing her to stay in the class seemed a bit far-fetched. Although, if I had Jenny's mother, perhaps I'd be a little like Jenny. Her mother is extremely negative and unsupportive. It grated on my nerves to see how she talked to Jenny.
I loved Ara, Jenny's friend. She was free-spirited and wonderful. She did a wonderful job helping Jenny to try and get over her anxiety. There were a couple times that she made Jenny mad by going a little too far with her "help," but I thought she did the right thing.
As an adult, I had a couple issues with scenes in this book. I thought Jenny's actions were a little extreme and her mother too negative. I thought the ballet teachers a little too accommodating. When I allow my younger inner-self to take over, I found this book to be exciting and imaginative. I don't remember the last time a novel had my two selves arguing with each other. As long as you allow your younger self to have control, Dancing on the Inside is well worth the time to read.
Glen Strathy provides us with a great story about an incredibly 12-year-old Jenny who wants to be a ballerina, but is too afraid to dance in front of people in Dancing on the Inside. Having just moved to a new town and new school, she no longer knows where she fits in. We follow Jenny through a year of attending ballet class and all the anxiety and fear that many of us (12 years old, or not) feel when embarking on something new. She wants to dance more than anything in the world, but her fear of doing so in front of people holds her back from her dream.
It is her fear, though, that leads her down a slightly different path that may ultimately be more satisfying than her original dream of dancing. With support from her new friend Ara, who is the complete opposite of Jenny, they realize that there are qualities in each of them from which the other can learn. When their new ballet instructor, Kat, becomes aware of a plan that the two are hatching, she also lends her support, realizing the talent and motivation in each of them.
Often, when a child expresses a new interest, adults are apt to brush it aside as being `a phase.' Generally, they are right. However, Dancing on the Inside, is a story about allowing children to explore their interests- even if they don't last- because they may learn something new about themselves along the way. It is about understanding and letting children know that it is alright to have dreams and to explore them, and that it is alright if the interest passes. We often forget that children do not already know who they are and they need to explore the world to figure it out. Jenny and Ara remind us of how tough, emotionally, it can be for kids to face their fears.
Strathy not only gives us an inspirational story about fulfilling childhood dreams, but explores the anxiety and fear that can come with that exploration. Jenny not only proves to herself, but to her friends and family as well, that her goals are attainable, even if those goals change along the way. Dancing on the Inside gives us a great story about achieving goals and learning about oneself through hard work, focus, and dedication. It is a refreshingly realistic, simple and relatable story amidst so much fantasy that children are given today. It is a great reminder about the time in our lives that adults often see as simple, is the most difficult when you are going through it.