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Ballerina Dreams

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  66 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Once upon a time there were five little girls who shared a dream. They wanted to be ballerinas and dance on stage like their sisters and cousins and friends.

But it would be hard for these girls to make their dream come true. They had cerebral palsy or other physical disabilities, which meant their muscles didn’t move the way they wanted them to. Some wore leg braces. Some
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Feiwel & Friends
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Ballerina Dreams, by Joann Ferrara, is an inspiring and moving story about dreams, determination, and love. This true story documents, through both photographs and words, five little girls’ dreams to become ballerinas and to dance onstage. What makes this story so unusual and heartwarming, is that all five of these little girls have cerebral palsy or some other physical handicap. The girls' ballet teacher, Joann Ferrara, is also a physical therapist. Joann states that, "It's important to focus ...more
This book is an excellent book showing to a minorities struggle. This book follows five little girls with cerebral palsy or other muscle disorders in their dream to become prima ballerinas for a day. Many people look over culture of people who have genetic disorder. They however are a minority in culture today and have a different perspective on the world around them. For them, many of the smallest tasks are very difficult and limited. In this story the five girls who have worked all year to ove ...more
Ballerina Dreams is a true story about a dance studio that has a program for children with Cerebral Palsy and other physical disabilities. The program was started by Joann Ferrara, who teaches the classes. The story follows the class of five girls who are in the program and range from ages three to seven. It starts by telling about the class and how it is structured like a ballet class only each child has a volunteer helper who can guide the movements of the child. The story ends with the final ...more
Hayley Larson
This was a very inspirational true story of a ex-ballet dancer turned physical therapist who opened a ballet class for young students with Cerebral Palsy. It was very different than many children's books that I have read in that it wasn't really a story with characters or plot, but rather briefly described a few of the students and their dreams. It told a bit about the dance class and what they do there. It was so interesting to hear about how parents of children with this disease would tell the ...more
Cheyen Schenck
This culture is not one of a specific race, ethnicity, or where they came from. This book is about young people with Cerebral Palsy that want to be ballerinas. The physical characteristics are seen in their braces, walkers, and chairs in the photographs and descriptions.Being able to combine her skills of ballet and physical therapy, the instructor shows how she is able to help these little girls achieve their dreams. She has put together a program that has blossoms into a dance class for kids j ...more
Carlos Gastelum
Thompson, L. (2007) Ballerina dreams: a true story. New York, NY: Holtzbrink.

Ballerina Dreams, is a great autobiography book about 5 girls who share the same dream of becoming ballerinas. But in the book it is hard for them to make this come true because they all live with physical disabilities, cerebral palsy and other problems that don’t allow their muscles to move the way they want them to. The author provides pictures of these girls during practice as they tackle on one of their biggest cha
This is a beautiful, well-written and well-photographed nonfiction story of five little girls with cerebral palsy or brachial palsy, who want to become ballerinas. Dance training improves their physical abilities, and the photos show how healing it was for their spirits.
Mackenzie Midles
Ballerina Dreams is based on a true story of five little girls who dreamed of dancing in a ballet recital: Nicole, Shekinah, Veronica, Abbey and Monica. The only thing holding them back was their handicap, cerebral palsy, but this did not matter to Joann Ferrara. Ferrara is a physical therapist who has a ballet studio in Queens, New York specifically designed for children with cerebral palsy or any muscular disease.
Ballerina Dreams goes behind the scenes with pictures and text on how the girls
Avery Maxwell
I love this book. Honestly, it was the most moving story of ballerinas I have ever read and I found myself cheering these five little girls on as the struggled to learn ballet with cerebral palsy weighing them down. This book, a picture book written about five young girls with cerebral palsy, was moving and emotional. I applaud their teacher for being a stand-up human being and taking on this difficult task of teaching these girls ballet when no one else would. My heart melted when some of the g ...more
Bailey Carlson
This is such an incredible story about five little girls with cerebral palsy that want to be ballerinas. The story starts with a picture of each of the girls with their name next to it which sort of sets up the story. The girls attend ballet class which is something they look forward to all week long. They wear their leotards, tutus and slippers, and have their helpers with them during class. The class being discussed in the book is their rehearsal for the recital that is the following day. The ...more
Miranda Jones
This book wasn’t very detailed about the culture of the five young dancers. They all have faced such hardships with having cerebral palsy, yet the book doesn’t really go into depth about these hardships. The author does a good job of explaining the dance recital they put on, but I would have liked to have gotten to know the girls. This book didn’t contain much dialogue, except the few quotes written between Joann and the girls. I would have liked for the author to have gone into detail about the ...more
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Anayssa Pulido
This is a story about five little girls who always dreamed of becoming ballerinas and performing on stage. The majority have Cerebral Palsy along with other physical disabilities which don’t allow them to have full control over their muscles and bones in certain parts of their bodies. However, with the help of their dedicated teacher and other helpers, they work hard every week with determination to someday perform onstage and they make their dreams come true. The whole story takes place in the ...more
Lindsey Watson
This book is so unique and inspiring. The book is about 5 little girls with cerebral palsy which is a condition when the brain and muscles aren’t able to communicate well. The five girls are in physical therapy and all dream of being ballerina’s but unfortunately in a typical ballet class they are unable to accommodate for someone with cerebral palsy due to the fact that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with the healthy children. So the physical therapist decided to offer her own ballet class as ...more
This is the story of five little girls, each with a special need or disability, who dream of becoming ballerinas. They work and practice hard right up to the day of their first recital. Ballerina Dreams is a truly inspiring and very touching story that will teach your child to achieve their dreams no matter what difficulties they will face in life.
This book was truly inspiring to me. The struggles and triumphs of the young girls sends the message that if you work hard you can always reach your dreams. The girls in this story suffer from cerebral palsy and because of these muscle disorders the odds of dancing were against them. Each week these girls look forward to their ballet class and finally after much hard work they are able to put on a recital. One of the things I liked the most was how authentic the characters were. You got attached ...more
Kacie Fincher
The book Ballerina Dreams shares the experience of five little girls who suffer from muscular disorders such as cerebral palsy. All they ever wanted were to be beautiful ballerinas who twirled and danced upon a stage. However, their bodies would not allow them to move the way they wanted them to. Until they met Joann, they didn’t think that dancing was a possibility. She showed them that it just took a little determination to make their dreams come true. After weeks of practice the girls finally ...more
Kelly Tannhauser
This is a story about five young girls who dream of becoming ballerinas but most of the have Cerebral Palsy accompanied with other physical disabilities which prevent them from having full control of their bodies. Though with the help and dedication of their teacher and others they work very hard every week with the pursuit to perform on stage one day to fulfill their dreams. The images in this book are photographs because it was about a true story. It is a very inspiration book though it might ...more
538pm_jacqueline Lyles
Ballerina Dreams is a story for anyone that has ever had a dream. This inspiring true story of five beautiful little girls that all have Cerebral Palsy or other physical disabilities that makes learning ballerina a little harder. With the help of a dedicated teacher, several assistance and five hardworking little girls their dreams of doing ballet will come true. The theme of this story is pure joy and triumph. Through pictures and narrative this story comes alive and I absolutely loved it! This ...more
Hali French
Ballerina Dreams is a true story based on five little girls from age 3 to 7, they all share the dream of being ballerinas. These girls each have cerebral palsy or other physical disabilities. Some of the girls are not able to move their body the way they want to because their muscles won’t allow them to. However despite their struggles each week they attended lessons. They each had their own personal helper to help hold them up since some use wheelchairs and walkers. After weeks of practice the ...more
April Helms
Jun 10, 2008 April Helms rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all ages
A very sweet and inspiring book. It is a photographic essay, with brief descriptions throughout, of five little girls who are getting ready for their first ballet recital. Their expressions as they don the pretty pink tutus, and put on their tiaras and wave their wands while giggling as only little girls can is priceless enough. What makes these five even more special is that each of them has cerebral palsy or another neuromuscular disorder that makes movement more difficult. The little girls ta ...more
Holly Nelson
In this picture book is a story about five little girls who all shared the same dream which was to be a ballerina. The only obstacle in their way was that they all had cerebral palsy or other physical disabilities. I think this would be a great book to have in my future classroom. It show's the struggle that kids go through everyday who have some sort of physical disability. Students could see that just because someone is different doesn't mean they can't accomplish their own goals. I would use ...more
Jeana Wert
I absolutely loved this book. This would be a great book to read to young children so they see no matter who you are and no matter if you have a disability you can do whatever you put your mind to. It was so cute how worried the girls were about forgetting their steps or dropping their wands. It was special knowing it was a true story because now i wonder what the girls are up to and if they have continued dancing. I also liked that the pictures in the book are actual pictures, like the cover.
A touching book about 5 little girls who have cerebral palsy and who want to be ballerinas. It follows their steps from rehearsing and practicing, to makeup and costumes, to performing for their family and friends. All of them have very hard obstacles to overcome. For example, one little girl had no strength in her left arm and it took her months to be able to hold it over her head. Definitely a tear-jerker!
Sixty photographs packed with joy, beauty and palpable excitement tell the inspiring, true story of five beautiful girls and the determination that made their dancing dreams come true.

Listen to our chat about Ballerina Dreams on our Children's Book Podcast here.
I picked up this book casually because it had a cute cover, but I was soon touched by the true-story of these litle girls. They all have cerebral palsy or other muscle disorders and this group has helpers who assist these girls so they can dance ballet. I almost cried, it was so sweet, seeing these girls all dressed up for their recital. Very cute, and I was inspired!
I am one of Joann's former dancers. I "graduated" from the program in 2010 and am now a college student. I know all the girls featured in this book and I think it's a great tool to teach kids about disability. Please support the program by going to It is a wonderful program that changed my life!
Holly Chapman
This is a truly inspiring book about five girls who dreamed about becoming ballerina's. They all had cerebral palsy or other muscle disorders. Against all odds, they became ballerina's and performed in the Nutcracker. I would use this book at any grade level because it's about chasing your dreams against all odds.
Jen Varela
My 11yr old daughter really loved this book. I picked it up because it's a subject that she is interested in, helping children with disabilities. It's the true story of 5 children with different abilities getting to do a ballet recital just like other children they know get to do.
N_maryellen Rosenblum
I loved this book for several reasons. The photographs depicted the girls and their exceptionalities realistically without any sugar-coating. It showed the different way a recital can look and never made me, the reader, feel pity just joy for the girls.
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