This poetic and uplifting picture book illustrated by the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines follows a young girl born with cerebral palsy as she pursues her dream of becoming a dancer.
Like many young girls, Eva longs to dance. But unlike many would-be dancers, Eva has cerebral palsy. She doesn’t know what dance looks like for someone who uses a wheelchair.
Then Eva learns of a place that has created a class for dancers of all abilities. Her first movements in the studio are tentative, but with the encouragement of her instructor and fellow students, Eva becomes more confident. Eva knows she’s found a place where she belongs. At last her dream of dancing has come true.
Nancy Bo Flood has a PhD in experimental psychology and child development and is the author of several books including I Will Dance, Warriors in the Crossfire, and Soldier Sister, Fly Home. She lives in Colorado. Visit her at NancyBoFlood.com.
Julianna Swaney is the illustrator of #1 New York Times bestselling We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines and several other picture books. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at JuliannaSwaney.com.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 26, 2020)
Length: 48 pages
Grades: P - 3
Ages: 4 - 8
Lexile ® AD520L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
* "Eva’s narration brims with elation as together they “create space, / create shape, / create dance,” culminating in a triumphant performance. . . A gorgeous, immersive celebration of dancing and the grace within all bodies."
– Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review
“I Will Dance” puts us in this child’s chair, in her tiny yearning body and in her mind, which is mobile and alive. …It’s not that she wants to dance, it’s that she will. … We see the power and harmony that builds from dancing bodies in Julianna Swaney’s illustrations, which glide across the page lending innocence to lightness, effervescence to urgency. “I Will Dance” rides on the sensation of movement; it’s simple yet sophisticated."
– NY Times Book Review
"Flood’s text avoids sentimentality and taps into a longing that many youngsters have shared, and the description of the girl’s participation in the dance classes and eventual performance lyrically conveys the sublime possibilities of art."
Awards and Honors
Kansas NEA Reading Circle List PrimaryTitle
Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
Colorado Book Award
Picture This Recommendation List
Florida Literacy Association Children's Book Award Nominee