Alicia Alonso Dances On

Albert Whitman. (She Made History). Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807514542.
K-Gr 3–The inspirational life of ballerina Alicia Alonso is shared with young readers in this lovingly illustrated beginning biography. Readers are introduced to Alicia in Cuba in 1929, when she was a young girl chasing her dream of becoming a ballerina. Dance schools were extremely rare in Cuba, and soon Alicia had learned all she could and had to travel to New York to continue to pursue her dream. Alicia practiced for hours every day, but just when she was achieving her goal, she contracted an illness that threatened to take her eyesight. After a series of operations, it seemed Alicia’s dream was further and further away. But through strength and incredible perseverance, Alicia not only became a prima ballerina, but also a prima ballerina assoluta, and traveled the world sharing an incredible gift that grew stronger even as she struggled with her sight. Short paragraphs and vibrant illustrations bring to life Alicia’s dream and make this a perfect book to share with young readers, whether as an individual read or reading together. The illustrations excellently depict Alicia’s dedication as well as the difficulties with her eyesight and will inspire readers to chase their dreams amid challenges and struggles.
VERDICT Highly recommended for biography collections and nonfiction picture book collections for children.

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