A memoir by Siena Cherson Siegel and Art work by Mark Siegel
Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon and Schuster
Ages 8 -14
Pic Src : Amazon
For our dance loving little girl, we had decided to gift this book for her birthday last year. What a treat it turned out to be ! Not only has the book been read so many times by her, it has impressed us adults too. A heart felt memoir brought to life in the most beautiful way.
The story starts with a six year old Siena who lives in Puerto Rico and loves to dance anywhere, anytime. But when she is discovered as having flat feet, the doctor vehemently says that dance classes would never help her. But her mother does just that. To Siena's delight, she enrolls her in ballet classes. From then on it is the story of her love for dance, the back and forth shuttling between Puerto Rico and Boston, the endless practice sessions, the eventual shift to the US, being mesmerised by the Bolshoi Ballet's lead ballerina Maya Plisetskaya which leads her to decide that she wants to be a ballerina too.
As she grows, her time spent in dance classes only increase. The grueling practice sessions give a remarkable insight on what it takes to be a great ballerina. It is very important for the children to see that behind any great work of art, lies years and years of hard work, disappointment and lot of sacrifices. She also talks about the dancers who are a source of great inspiration in her life. The home environment for Siena is not very conducive, as her father is not present in her life most of the time. Dance becomes her refuge, as she tries to cope with her parents' frequent bitter quarrels and their separation.
Mark Siegel's illustrations rendered in water colour and ink, capture the situations and feelings perfectly.
There is a beautiful line in the books, which says "Dancing fills a space in me" and I could not agree more. Dancers can perfectly relate to this book and for the non-dancers,it is a lovely journey to understand a dancer's life.