International Dance Day - Story Snug
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International Dance Day

Happy International Dance Day 2024!

This year International Dance Day is celebrated on April 29th. International Dance Day was created in 1982 to celebrate dance and the way that it can bring people from all walks of life, cultures and political affiliations together through a common language – the language of dance.

Many children love dancing whether it’s informally around the living room or in a more structured dance class. We’ve enjoyed all these books about dancing which include ballet, Irish dancing, performance dancing, tap dancing and informal dancing to express yourself. When I was teaching reception / key stage one I would often put music on for a few minutes and let children dance. Many were shy at first but as the school year progressed they became more confident about expressing themselves through dance.


Picture Books
Dogs Don’t do Ballet

by Anna Kemp & Sara Ogilvie

Dogs Don't Do Ballet - Story Snug

We love Biff, a small, plump pug with big dreams. He wants to be a ballerina but is met with the constant refrain ‘Dogs Don’t Do Ballet’.

This is a feelgood story for wannabe dancers and artists everywhere which shows children that it’s important to follow your dreams. Despite constantly hearing ‘Dogs Don’t Do Ballet’ Biff is determined to prove everybody wrong and seizes the opportunity to perform when a prima ballerina slips on stage…


Sir Dancealot

by Timothy Chapman & Keith Robinson

Sir Dancealot is a knight who doesn’t fight in a traditional way. He dances. His track record is pretty impressive and he’s feared all over the land. But then he is challenged by a dragon who has learnt to dance…

Has Sir Dancealot finally met his match? Or can he find a way to beat the dragon?

We love the energy in this rhyming picture book. It’s fun to read aloud and will appeal to all readers that love dragons and dancing!

Sir Dancealot - Story Snug


giraffes can’t dance

by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees

Giraffes Can't Dance - Story Snug

Giraffes Can’t Dance is a wonderfully uplifting story of friendship and learning to be yourself. It encompasses the themes of friendship and acknowledges the fact that it’s great to be different and are not afraid to dance to our own tune.

A cricket is the only creature who helps Gerald the giraffe when he’s struggling and down. But the animals who tease him when he is clumsy and out of rhythm are quick to ask for advice when his dancing improves.


Autumn Moonbeam Dance Magic!

by Emma Finlayson-Palmer & Heidi Cannon

Autumn loves watching dance shows on the Spell-a-vision but the thought of performing in front of others gives her moths in her stomach. That all changes when her friend Leif brings an audition flyer into school…

Dancing dreams are intertwined with friendships, rivalry and feelings of self doubt. Autumn Moonbeam Dance Magic sparkles with truly original characters, spell binding dance moves and has a likeable heroine whose road to achieving her goal is peppered with magic and mishaps.

Autumn Moonbeam Dance Magic - Story Snug


Milly McCarthy and the Irish Dancing Disaster

by Leona Forde & Karen Harte

Milly McCarthy and the Irish Dancing Disaster - Story Snug

When Abbie Horgan brings her Irish dancing medal to school, Milly decides that she wants to become a World Champion Irish dancer. After convincing Dad to pay for lessons Milly competes in her first class feis (competition).

Our daughter is a competitive Irish dancer and we laughed out loud as we read Milly’s dancing experiences which lead to her taking part in an important competition. There are so many amusing incidences – the bun wig debacle, the too big shoes and the sick next to the stage (which really does happen). We love the dress illustrations and hope that dance teacher Ms O’Brien’s therapy helps!



by Noel Streafeild & Ruth Gervis. Cover by Victor Ambrus

My first memory of Ballet Shoes is watching it on a Sunday evening as a child. I was completely drawn into the story of the Fossil sisters, three orphans growing up in London in the 1930s. This is the cover of the book that I read afterwards. Rereading the story again as an adult was also wonderful, it’s lost none of its original magic.

Pauline, Petrova and Posy start classes at The Children’s Academy of Dancing and Stage Training and we follow their progress as they learn how to dance, act and take language lessons. Lack of money means that there is no money for luxuries but once they are twelve they are able to earn money for performances to help with household expenses.

Ballet Shoes - Story Snug


no ballet shoes in syria

by Catherine Bruton

No Ballet Shoes in Syria - Story Snug

Eleven year old Aya has fled war torn Syria with her mother and baby brother. While visiting a community centre Aya hears ballet music. She’s welcomed into the class by teacher, Miss Helena, and through dancing she makes friends who support her as she adapts to her new life in the UK.

Aya’s story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Her mother is traumatised by her experiences and much of the responsibility for the family falls on Aya who seeks solace in dancing and a new friendship. The story also gave us a fascinating insight into the experiences, challenges and difficulties faced by families who have been forced to flee from their home countries and resettle in new and unfamiliar lands.


Do you have a favourite book that would recommend for reading on International Dance Day?

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10 responses to “International Dance Day”

  1. Ruth avatar

    Giraffe’s Can’t Dance is a big hit with the kids at the preschool where I work!

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a really timeless story isn’t it 🙂

  2. Lisa | Handmade in Israel avatar

    What a great collection! I remember reading ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’ to my boys. Happy International Dance Day.

    1. Catherine avatar

      Giraffes Can’t Dance is a huge favourite here too. We had the audio book which included the most amazing calypso music!

  3. stickymudandbellylaughs avatar

    What a lovely round-up! Giraffes Can’t Dance is an absolute favourite of ours. My boys loved that book when they were younger. Happy #InternationalDanceDay 🙂

    1. Catherine avatar

      I used to be able to recite Giraffes Can’t Dance off by heart!

  4. Donna Weidner avatar
    Donna Weidner


    1. Catherine avatar

      Happy #InternationalDanceDay 🙂

  5. Kim Carberry avatar

    I didn’t know there was such a thing as International Dance Day. How wonderful! I love the sound of these books.

    1. Catherine avatar

      I think it’s fabulous to have a day to celebrate dancing 🙂