Blog Archives

Stenetta Anthony Author Interview

Stenetta Anthony Author Interview

Ella Learns to Dance follows a young elephant girl who dreams of being a ballet dancer even when others discourage her. What was the inspiration for your story?

After hearing a story about a professional ballet dancer and her challenges. She was told she did not have the proper body image to be a ballerina.

What educational aspects were important for you to include in this children’s book?

Some of the ideas suggested in the book are: (always be proud of yourself, teach them to deal with frustrations when learning a new skill and how some children can relate to Ella’s story when friends do not always support their dream).

Are there any emotions or memories from your own life that you put into your characters life?

One memory comes from learning modern dance in high school. Since I never considered myself as a graceful dancer. It was often difficult to learn the dance moves, sometimes not wanting to attend the class.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Ella Learns to Dance is the first book in her series, so I am currently working on the 2nd and 3rd books respectively.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Ella dreams about taking a ballet class, but when her friends tell her elephants don’t dance ballet. She wonders if she will ever learn how to perform her favorite ballet dances. Ella’s story will twirl her way into your heart.

Ella Learns to Dance

Whoever heard of an elephant that does ballet? Ella is an elephant and she loves ballet. When she joins a ballet class she finds out that ballet is harder than she thought. With some perseverance, and a helpful tip, she is well on her way to becoming a graceful ballerina.

Ella Learns to Dance is a charming children’s book following a little elephant as she tries to accomplish her dream of being a ballet dancer. At first her friends make fun of her, which is a little sad, but I think this is something that many children will be able to relate to. Author Stenetta Anthony then shows young readers that they don’t need their friends acceptance in order to pursue their dreams, they just need to believe in themself.

When Ella joins the ballet class the book then shows her struggling, which I thought was another relatable moment for many kids as they often try things and fail the first time. This picture book is a fantastic resource to teach children perseverance, and to accept advice from others.

Ella Learns to Dance is a cute children’s book that will teach kids valuable life lessons and is fun to read. Seeing the cute elephants in the book, especially Ella in her outfit, will ensure kids stay glued to the pages.

ISBN13: 9781685266653

Dancing Deepa

Deepa is a fourth grader who loves to dance. One day the school announces there will be a talent show for anyone that wants to participate. Deepa is afraid that her style of dancing will not be received well and is afraid to show it because it is not like ballet or tap dancing. Deepa’s dance style is from India and is called Bharatanatyam. She is afraid that because she is different, people will not understand or make fun of her. So out of fear, she does not try out. On the day of the talent show, she is amazed by all the different things her classmates can do, and she regrets not sharing her style of dance with them. Her teacher realizes something is wrong, and together, they come up with a plan to share the beautiful dancing style of Bharatanatyam with the class.

Dancing Deepa, by author Suchi Sairam and illustrated by Vidya Vasudevan, is an educational and captivating picture book that is perfect for young children. Parents and teachers will love how different vocabulary words are explained and highlighted in the text. It is a motivational story about overcoming your fears of being different and sharing your culture.

This wonderful children’s book would be perfect for multicultural lessons in school and for lessons on different kinds of dance. The children in this well-written book all show acceptance and excitement when learning about Deepa’s dance style and culture. Dancing Deepa is a charming kids book that shows young readers how important it is to share their passion and culture with others.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B0B2VC1GVP

Buy Now From Amazon

A Fun, Entertaining Book with a Positive Role-Model

Once Upon a Dance Author Interview

Dance Stance, Beginning Ballet for Young Dancers teaches readers, children, and adults, how to improve their posture with tips from an actual ballerina. Why was this an important book to write?

We’re making the books I wished for as a dance teacher and mom. I loved watching things click for my daughter when she’d have a new teacher describe things differently, so giving kids more ways to think about technique as well as a fun, entertaining book with a positive role-model was important. As a teacher with decades’ experience teaching all ages, these highlight some of the most effective descriptions that have helped my students. Weaved in are helpful lessons and tips from a ballerina that we wanted to share.

I love Prisilla the cat, where did the idea to include her come from?

​My illustrator added the kitty cat sidekick – it makes the book so special. We actually did a social media vote for the kitty’s name and got many great ideas—in the final draft, the cat’s name is Ballerina Kittina.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The first book I wrote for this age group was actually all about falling, but I went back and created Dance Stance, thinking that was a better starting point. So Falling into Dance is next up, and then we want to deep dive into turning after that.

One of the messages from Dance Stance is that ballet doesn’t have to be life-consuming. I quit cold turkey when I was fourteen because I didn’t know how to take just a few classes – it felt like it had to be all (40 hours a week) or nothing, and I’ve talked to so many people who had similar experiences, some who returned to dance years later wishing they never stopped.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Eka and the Elephants arrives in a few weeks. It’s part of the Dance-It-Out! series for kids ages 4-7.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

Aspiring dancers adore the clever mix of wit, wisdom, anecdotes, and how-to instruction from a professional ballerina. Throughout the award-winning debut of ballet inspiration, young readers explore posture while standing, on tiptoes, and on one leg. A tutu-wearing kitty sidekick joins Ballerina Konora and friends, adding humor and lighthearted encouragement.
Brought to you by the mother-daugther team of Once Upon a Dance, with over 20 awards for their Dance-It-Out! and Dancing Shapes series for younger audiences. Dance Stance debuts their trilogy for kids ages 8+.

Dance Stance: Beginning Ballet for Young Dancers with Ballerina Konora

Ballet begins with learning how to stand. That sounds much easier than it actually is. From knowing the proper foot placement to being fully aware of one’s own spine, finding the right stance is not only essential but promotes good health. A proper stance, as the author points out, isn’t only for dancers. People of all ages can benefit from learning how to stand correctly. Broken down into simple steps with beautiful illustrations, the author and illustrator have handed readers everything they need to know to literally take the first step into ballet.

Dance Stance, Beginning Ballet for Young Dancers, by Once Upon a Dance and illustrated by Stella Maris Mongodi, is an incredibly informative book that will be useful to every reader whether they dance or not. The illustrations lend themselves perfectly to the narrative and provide comical moments throughout the book. It is worth noting that this book appears to be for younger readers, but the vocabulary and sentence structure is more appropriate for upper elementary and beyond.

I was especially impressed with the snippets of advice from a ballerina placed strategically throughout the book. These notes are right on target with the narrative and give readers an insight into the discipline a ballerina must maintain. I am not a dancer, but I appreciated these sections of the book; they served to add to the authors’ message.

Dance Stance, Beginning Ballet for Young Dancers, by Once Upon a Dance (Ballerina Konora and Teacher Terrel) and illustrated by Stella Maris Mongodi, is a short read that I enjoyed and recommend it to anyone curious about becoming a ballerina or improving their own posture. This book would make the perfect gift for anyone who is thinking of studying ballet. It is full of fantastic advice for readers of all ages.

Pages: 63 | ASIN: B09ZGHW76H

Buy Now From Amazon

Dance Adventures

Once Upon a Dance Author Interview

Danika’s Dancing Day shows children how to turn ordinary activities into fun dances. How can parents fit this book into their larger dance instruction?

Danika’s Dancing Day is suggested for near the end of the Dance-It-Out! series. Moving through all of the books in the series and even into the dance series for older kids: Dancing Shapes, and then Ballet Inspiration and Choreography Concepts (debuting this spring) would further kids’ body awareness and dance knowledge. I’ve had parents tell me that they turn other stories into dance adventures after sharing the series, so kids can get even more general movement, body awareness, coordination, and balance practice. And of course, the books can be a springboard to formal dance classes.

What is a critical first step for children in dance?

In my opinion, joy is paramount. Having fun and enjoying movement come pretty naturally to young children, so if we approach dance as a playful bonding experience, they’ll almost always love it.

The thing I’ve seen kids develop in just a couple weeks of dance classes is in their sense of self—understanding their physical edges in space and how to move safely around others people and things is an important component of both dance class and life.

What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that was different from the other books in the series?

This story builds on previous concepts and is intended for a slightly older audience. We name several of the movements mentioned in earlier books and build on movements. For example, we explore kitty tails from the floor in Sadoni Squirrel, practice standing on one foot (arabesque) in The Cat with the Crooked Tail, learn a jump with detailed instructions in Mira Monkey, and in Danika—combine all of these with bigger jumps and a named sauté arabesque.

This is book 12 of the Dance-It-Out! Collection of Creative Movement Stories. Do you have plans to write more books in the series, or are you working on a different project?

We have 3 upcoming Dance-It-Out! books assigned to illustrators: Eka Adopts an Elephant, The Grumpy Goat, and Frankie’s Wish. Our latest series of how-to ballet books for kids 8+ debuts with Dance Stance this spring.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website | Instagram | Twitter

Two Ballerinas dance on the pages of this charming story of ballet passion.

“Overflowing with enthusiasm for ballet, this book is a celebration of all those who live with dance in their souls. Effervescent images of both Danika and Ballerina Konora will inspire children to mirror their movements both while reading the story and after it ends”. (—Mary Lanni, Librarian Reviewer)

Danika loves ballet. She translates each ordinary aspect of her life into a remarkable dance performance. Ballerina Konora (a professional ballerina) joins the fun with how-to instructions and photos for kids who want to dance along with Danika, Penelope the cat, and their animal friends.

This is book 12 of the Dance-It-Out! Collection of Creative Movement Stories, a series with numerous awards including PenCraft Award First Place, Mom’s Choice Gold Award, and Royal Dragonfly First Place. While each book is an independent story, Danika’s Dancing Day builds on concepts introduced in earlier stories, and it’s ideal for dance students or kids 5+. The series is a bit above typical language level as the stories are often enjoyed with a caregiver or teacher.

We Want Kids to Embody Joy, Breath, And Imagination

Once Upon A Dance Author Interview

Andi’s Valentine Tree follows a child that wants nothing more than to dance, they befriend a tree that helps teach their classmates about kindness. What was the inspiration for your story?

The stories in this series (Andi’s Valentine Tree is book 13) are all developed around kids’ favorite stories when I taught children’s dance classes. The kids lit up when it was story time and asked for the same stories over and over again. It was funny because I’d work so hard to create something original for them and they’d be like, “Please, can you tell the [last-week’s] story.” Witnessing their joy in creating movement while using their imagination and being the star of their own show is my inspiration for the series.

I love that your series teaches dance along with the story. How do you approach this process, do you decide on the moves first, or do you write the story outline and fill in the dance moves after?

So far, the writing process has always initiated with some curriculum aspect from my dance classes, In the case of Andi’s Valentine Tree, the tree wanting someone to dance was one way we reviewed ballet vocabulary. So I started there and built the plot up around that idea.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

For each of our stories, we want kids to embody joy, breath, and imagination as well as dance and movement. We appreciate kind characters that can be positive role models. Each book encourages kids to use the stories in a way that works for them, their bodies, and their space. Of course, in this story, the importance of bystanders showing support in difficult situations, celebrating individuality, and the value of forgiveness are themes I was happy to incorporate.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Danika’s Dancing Day was just released. There are a few Dance-It-Out! stories with illustrators that should be out by summer. We are wrapping up the debut in a new series for kids 8+, which will hopefully be out in March.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Andi loves ballet and friends at the studio, but school is a different story. A squirrel named Lou and a remarkable tree provide much-needed comfort. Then something magical makes life even better. A touching story celebrating the beauty of nature, embracing one’s own passions, and forgiveness.
Ballerina Konora joins the pages with dance photos and suggestions for movement exploration. Three books in one: readers can enjoy the story, act out the tale in their own way, or try Konora’s suggested activities, designed by an award-winning ballet teacher to develop body awareness and movement knowledge. Each Dance-It-Out! story is a kids’ dance performance for the imagination stage. Andi’s Valentine Tree builds on previous Dance-It-Out! material and is ideal for ages 6+, dance students, or as a sequel to other stories.

Danika’s Dancing Day

This educational children’s book serves to instruct children on dancing while also delivering a very sweet story. I think it’s cute that Korona creates and demonstrates dance steps for every illustration and story plot whether or not it’s part of a dance. For example, when Danika has had all the fun she can have, she decides to lay down and take a nap. Korona shows readers how to do a sitting spin on the floor before demonstrating how to curl up for a nap.

The illustrations are beautiful and very realistic. Danika’s dress, while dancing with the vacuum, is gorgeous with an almost opalescent glow. All the illustrations are as bright and colorful throughout the book. I especially love the little woodland animals in the backyard. The illustrator has put a great amount of detail into the nature scenes, and every time I look, I spot something new: a bird, chipmunk, a dragonfly, cute little things I love picking out from the landscape.

There are extra dance instructions at the bottom of the page that provide extra content, and value, to the book but I found it hard to understand sometimes. I think that a good audience for this book is children between the ages of five and seven; kids who are likely highly energetic. This is why I think this book is best read with an adult who can read the instructional material that is provided. But older children will easily be able to take the time to learn the steps.

The dance instructions use dance terminology and are accompanied by visuals as well. The story is adorable, and young readers will enjoy the story as parents help them work on their dancing.

The illustration of Danika’s mother is beautiful and wholesome. This book is absolutely charming, and I love how the book serves the double purpose of instructing little kids on how to dance. It makes me wonder if I would have loved dancing more if I read a book like this when I was a kid. I was not lucky enough to have an encouraging dance teacher; however, this book is full of positive, fun-loving vibes and delivers such a beautiful message.

Pages: 38 | ISBN: 1955555133

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: