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Dreaming of the Sugar Plum Fairy: A Ballet Booklist

This time of year, signs of the holiday season are everywhere. Decorations and candy have been in stores since Halloween, the radio is starting to play Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and bell-ringers are on every corner collecting charitable donations. But for me I don’t really feel it’s the holiday season until I go to see The Nutcracker. It’s my favorite Christmas tradition. I love ballet, and before I realized I lacked the necessary coordination, grace, and body type, wanted to be a ballet dancer. Though I can’t dance, I still love to watch performances, and yes, read about ballerinas. 

Various Positions by Martha Schabas

When talented, dedicated fourteen-year-old Georgia Slade becomes a student in an elite Toronto ballet academy, her confusing feelings toward one of her teachers lead to disaster.



Bunheads by Sophia Flack

Bunheads book cover image

Hannah Ward, nineteen, revels in the competition, intense rehearsals, and dazzling performances that come with being a member of Manhattan Ballet Company’s corps de ballet, but after meeting handsome musician Jacob she begins to realize there could be more to her life.



Marie, Dancing by Carolyn Meyer

Marie, Dancing book cover imageA fictionalized autobiography of Marie Van Goethem, the impoverished student from the Paris Opéra ballet school who became the model for Edgar Degas’s famous sculpture, “The Little Dancer.”




Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci

Roses are Red book cover imageIn the 1980s, two teenaged ballet dancers–one American, one Russian–spend an unforgettable night in New York City, forming a lasting friendship despite their cultural and political differences.




A Dance of Sisters by Tracey Porter

a dance of sisters book cover imageAlthough almost totally consumed by her ballet training and her obsession with controlling her weight, thirteen-year-old Delia finds time to worry about her strange and rebellious older sister Pearl, who has been sent away to a private school.



Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You by Dorian Cirrone

dancing in red shoes will kill you book cover imageSixteen-year-old Kayla, a ballet dancer with very large breasts, and her sister Paterson, an artist, are both helped and hindered by classmates as they confront sexism, conformity, and censorship at their high school for the arts while still managing to maintain their sense of humor.



When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer

when the stars go blue book cover imageSoledad Reyes decides to dance Carmen as part of a drum and bugle corps competition, not knowing if it will help or harm her chance of becoming a professional ballet dancer but eager to pursue new options, including a romance with the boy who invited her to audition.



The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

the splendor falls book cover imageDark secrets linking two Alabama families and their Welsh ancestors slowly come to light when seventeen-year-old Sylvie, whose promising ballet career has come to a sudden end, spends a month with a cousin she barely knows in her father’s ancestral home.



Whether you favor historical, paranormal, contemporary, realistic, or humorous fiction, there’s a ballet book for you.

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