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Andrea Zuill's Picture Book Dance is for Everyone Has a Lesson in Diversity for Young Children

Updated on July 19, 2017
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Dance is for Everyone Has a Lesson for Accepting Differences

Andrea Zuill's Dance is for Everyone is a fun read-aloud for young children that teaches a lesson in learning that the world is a diverse place and differences are to be treasured.

Mrs. Iraina's ballet class gets a huge surprise one day when an alligator shows up to participate in the class. The alligator fits in very nicely and demonstrates that she can follow along with the lessons. The girls name it Tanya in honor of a famous ballerina. The girls are challenged in the small space that they practice in because after all, an alligator is very large. Their ballet teacher has an idea to create a special dance for Tanya that would showcase her special talent in using her swishy tail. The new dance would be called "The Legend of the Swamp Queen." The dance would be the opening for the upcoming recital. The night for the performance comes and the special dance for Tanya is a huge success. Tanya does not show up for class one day and the girls wonder about her disappearance. They receive a special invitation one day and when they go out to the forest, Tanya is there with other animal friends to perform her dance.

Andrea Zuill's colorful illustrations fill each page with cartoon-like characters. This comical story will have young readers laughing at the antics of an alligator in a ballet class.

Dance is for Everyone was published by Sterling Children's Books and is recommended for ages 4-7. It has an ISBN of 978-1-4549-2114-1.

Hilarious Picture Book Teaches That Diversity Can Be Fun

A surprise student for the ballet class
A surprise student for the ballet class
Tanya the alligator fits into the class despite her size
Tanya the alligator fits into the class despite her size

Meet the Author and Illustrator

Andrea Zuill is an artist who created art for galleries for many years. She now creates charming books for children. She finds joy in using her talent as an artist to illustrate her books. She is also the author of Wolf Camp.

Zuill's Comical and Colorful Illustrations Add to Her Fun Read Aloud

Tanya the alligator gets her own special dance
Tanya the alligator gets her own special dance
Tanya introduces dance to a group of her diverse animal friends in the forest
Tanya introduces dance to a group of her diverse animal friends in the forest

Lessons in Diversity for Young Children

Children notice differences at an early age. They begin to notice physical differences in family members and peers at the early ages of 2-3 years. They notice differences in hair color, skin color, and size. Parents can use these differences as a springboard for learning about other differences and learning to accept others and their differences. Parents can also use familiar examples of food, toys, and clothing articles to begin teaching diversity. Young children can relate to ideas in differences by using familiar objects.

Parents often believe that young children cannot understand the concept of diversity in their world. Children readily understand the concepts of fairness and right vs. wrong in their activities with family and peers. Parents have the responsibility to encourage young children to notice differences in a respectful way. Parents can look for opportunities to model respectful behavior when encountering others who are different. Opportunities for making friends of different races and backgrounds are everywhere in our society today. Listen to what your children say when they encounter someone who is not like them, and encourage them to notice both differences and ways in which people are the same. Critical thinking skills also play a part in learning to accept differences and the diversity in our world.

There is a wealth of children's books to aid in learning about diversity. Zuill's Dance is for Everyone is one example of a fun read-aloud that children can easily relate to. Open a discussion after reading and have children brainstorm ideas about how the alligator is different from the girls and how the students are also similar to Tanya the alligator. What did the ballet teacher do to help Tanya become a respected member of the class? Did Tanya use what she had learned about acceptance to help her other friends in the forest? What were the girls' first feelings about having the alligator in the class? What was the outcome of giving Tanya her own special dance? How did Tanya feel about being given her own special dance and being accepted by the other dancers?

Diversity Adds to the Quality of Life

How are you helping your children with the lessons of acceptance of diversity in our world?

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