Perfect Picture Books: I Dreamed I Was A Ballerina

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have a mother who loves the arts. Everything from paintings to sculpture to music. We saw shows on and off Broadway, attended the Children's Orchestra series of the NY Philharmonic, and took a trip into Manhattan for the premier of the movie Pete's Dragon. I suppose that at some point the movie would have made it to NJ, but why wait, right?
So, when  I had my daughter it should have been no surprise that this book was a gift from my mother to my daughter. It's a wonderful continuation of something she started with me and my sister and will hopefully continue with for one more generation. And so, on that note, I present this week's Perfect Picture Book:

Title: I Dreamed I Was A Ballerina
Written by: Anna Pavlova
Illustrated with art by: Edgar Degas

Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 2001
Suitable for: Ages 3 and up
Themes/Topics: Dancing, Dreams, Ballet, Art
Opening: From the book: Vivid are my earliest recollections, which take me back to the time when I was living in a little apartment with my mother in the city.
Brief Synopsis: This beautiful story tells of the night when ballerina, Anna Pavlova, saw her first ballet and vowed to become a ballerina and dance the part of Beauty in Sleeping Beauty one day on that very same stage. The entire book uses paintings and sketches by Degas to illustrate the story and it's just beautiful.
Links to resources: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; What's better than a trip to the museum to see the art in real life? New York City Ballet; same is true here.
Why I chose this book: Aside from the beautiful paintings, I love hearing from Anna Pavlova as the poor child of a single mother and how she was so inspired by seeing Sleeping Beauty that it determined her future. Her dreams came true through hard work and dedication, which serves as a model for any child with a dream.


  1. I love pbs about artists! Thanks for sharing This one Tracy.

  2. This looks beautiful, Tracy. Is it non-fiction? Autobiography? It looks like it is. Wonderful! Thanks so much for adding this treasure to our list. I totally want to read it! :)

  3. When I saw that the book was by Anna Pavlova, it just sent a tingle up my spine. Who better to write of the possibilities in a dream? Lovely. Thank you.

    I would encourage you to submit this post link to Kerry Aradhya's May Read and Romp Roundup, where she lists links to books about dance. Here's the link to her blog:

  4. Wow - two artists in one book! Looks beautiful.

  5. Looks gorgeous!

    And PS: left you an award on my blog :)

  6. Sounds like such a beautiful book, and I always love it when real-life ballerinas can translate their art to the page. Would you mind if I highlight this book on my blog's new feature--the Read & Romp Roundup? It would fit in perfectly!

    1. Hi Kerry, go ahead and use it- I'm honored! :)

  7. Your mom makes me think of my mom, Tracy. She took us to the orchestra, broadway shows and art museums. I almost dismissed this book out-of-hand (I have two boys), but when I realized it was an autobiography illustrated with Degas pictures, I changed my tune. I guess it pays to be open minded.

  8. Beautiful cover. Sounds like an important book that encourages children to pursue what they are passionate about. Nice selection.

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  11. I love books that encourage young children to dream and work towards realizing their goals! This one is PERFECT! Thank you for sharing a bit about your childhood as well, Tracy. :)

  12. My son loves to dance (he's two, but enjoys it so). I'm always looking for books about dancing and following your dreams. Thanks for this recommendation.

  13. I love the art of Degas. Great choice this week!

  14. This looks beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for adding it to the list.

  15. Love your blog! Awarding you with the Kreativ Blogger Award! Come on over to mine to see the details!


  16. I love this book! When I retire I have no idea what to do with my giant teacher book shelf of books!
    Happy 3 Day Weekend!

  17. I have two granddaughters I have to put this on on my list. I'm so glad to have stopped by and read about this book, it looks wonderful.

    Thanks so much Tracy.


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