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Reading Discussion Guides

To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel

About the Book

To Dance is a graphical memoir of Siena Cherson Siegel, a young girl growing up in Puerto Rico who eventually came to New York to study with the School of American Ballet. It captures the passion of the artist, as well as the discipline needed to succeed.

To Dance won a 2007 Robert F. Sibert Book Award honor as one of the best informational books for young people.

Siegel’s book references many popular story ballets (The Nutcracker, Coppelia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Giselle), and famous dancers, including George Balanchine, Suzanne Farrell, Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov. To Dance makes these dances and dancers come to life, but video of them is often available on DVD and/or YouTube, so students can see the ballet in action.

Discussion Questions

  • Do you like this book as a comic/graphic novel? Are the pictures necessary to tell the story, or would the story work just as well without them?
  • Read the book that young Shana reads (Jill Krementz’ A Very Young Dancer) and find similarities and differences in the way the two stories are told.
  • Think of a hobby that you enjoy and research the ways that you could turn that hobby into a job that you enjoy, like young Shana did with dance.
  • Were you surprised at the choice Shana made when she turned 18? Why do you think Shana made that choice?
To Dance

To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel

Siena Cherson Siegel
Age Level:
Middle Grade