Have you ever heard the phrase "in the groove?" Well, Valerie Bolling’s book, Let’s Dance will have you getting your groove on! The illustrations are beyond beautiful. The rhyme rolls off the tongue, and the verbs are vivacious!
There are so many wonderful classroom connections. Aside from all of the amazing movement vocabulary, each illustration features dances from around the world.
pull out those maps and plant a few pins on all the different countries represented. Teacher friends, you could even Watch youtube videos of the various dances. I am inspired to conduct a whirly-twirly research project, I bet your children will be too!
I had a chance to chat with the author behind this brilliance. And I can tell you, she inspires me in more than just my dance moves!
Alright Valerie, let’s start off with my favorite question. if you could be any kind of donut, what would you be?
That’s definitely the most interesting question anyone has asked me, Ciara. Another blogger asked, “If you could be any animal, what would you be?” However, your question tops that! I honestly don’t know what to pick because I’m not a fan of donuts; I prefer other sweets – homemade cakes and cookies – brownies, too. I guess I’d pick chocolate. Since I like brownies and rich chocolate cake, a chocolate donut is the closest I can get to those favorites.
Ha! I’m so glad I get the quirkiest question award! I love all things sweet too! So, if you want to be a brownie, you be a brownie!
This book gets you moving and grooving! What inspired you to write it?
Who doesn’t like to dance? I know some don’t, but most people I know enjoy it– especially young, uninhibited children. Turn on music and watch them go! Babies who can barely walk will sway and/or raise their hands.
My nieces love to dance. When they were two and four, they even danced while brushing their teeth. Now at ages soon-to-be six and eight, they still love to dance! They certainly provided inspiration for this book.
Kids are the best. I love watching mine. (They have no rhythm and two left feet just like their mama. There’s lots of crashing and falling, but we have a good time.)
What was your favorite part of the writing process?
I actually like revision. It’s the challenge of getting it right. In the case of Let’s Dance!, it was finding the best rhyming words and making sure the scansion was tight. There’s a sense of satisfaction each time the story gets closer and closer to being query-ready.
That is a very positive way to look at a tough part of the process. Love it! As authors, we all want to inspire kids. What do you hope kids will take from your stories?
I want people to find joy in my books. I want Let’s Dance!, and my subsequent books, to achieve the hallmark of a good picture book: begging to be read again and again. I also want my books to serve as models for celebrating diversity–featuring those who may not regularly appear in stories. I want all children to see themselves in my books and to see, also, those who may be not like them.
See, everyone? Isn’t she wonderful? Check out her book, I promise it will have you dancing for joy!
Valerie Bolling has been an educator for over 25 years and a writer since age 4. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, Teachers College and currently works as an Instructional Coach with middle and high school teachers.
In addition to writing picture books, Valerie writes a Monthly Memo for teachers that she publishes on Twitter, and she has been published in The National Writing Project’s Quarterly (“The Family Writing Project Builds a Learning Community in Connecticut”) and NESCBWI News (“Microaggressions Don’t Feel ‘Micro’”). Recently, she had a poem accepted for publication by Cricket Media.
Valerie is a member of NCTE, SCBWI, the NESCBWI Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Authors Guild, the WNDB Mentorship Program, #12X12PB, 2020 Diverse Debuts, 20/20 Vision Picture Books, and a picture book critique group.
Valerie and her husband live in Connecticut and enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, going to the theater, and dancing.
Silly story about a clueless fish. Use sentences to teach excellent sentences, visualizing, and figurative language! #reading #writing #guidedreading