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My Mama Had a Dancing Heart
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My Mama Had a Dancing Heart

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  366 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
A ballet dancer recalls how she and her mother would welcome each season with a dance outdoors.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Scholastic Inc. (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30)
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Julie Fischer
Sep 30, 2016 Julie Fischer rated it it was amazing
I read this to my second and third classes and they loved it. The author writes which rhythm that the children would ask me to read it over and over again. This made it one of those books that they would pull off the shelf themselves and read it easily themselves.
Alise Durkota
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart is a poetic memoir about a young girls mother and the adventures that they had together as the seasons changed. She provides great example of craft as she creates adjectives using hyphens. This could be used as an example for students as they learn to read as writers and glean ideas from other authors. It also rhymes and could be used to practice rhyming. I suppose that if a stuent had a loss, it would provide a way for a teacher to interject some comfort to the stude ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
Gorgeous, whimsical, free-spirited artistry accompanies this lyrically expressive verse. Enjoyed being immersed in the care-less utopia of the mother-daughter relationship. Made me want to cultivate a "dancing heart".
Nov 05, 2016 Christie rated it it was amazing
This book is about a ballet dancer who's mom helped foster her love of dance through welcoming each season with dance. Her mom always found away to spend time with her daughter through dance and they loved to celebrate everything with dance even the changing of the seasons.

The characteristics of this book show that it is a quality picture book because the reader can see: Illustrations extend and/or support the written text (setting, plot, characterization, theme, tone, mood, style). Illustratio
May 31, 2015 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: kid-stuff
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart is a touching and joyous narrative poem about a mother-daughter relationship. The narrator of the book reflects upon a childhood spent enjoying, laughing, and dancing with her mother through every season of the year. In spring, the pair enjoys dancing in the rain and “sassafras tea with lemon curls floating.” In summer, they dance across the beach, with kites and balloons tied to their wrists. In autumn, they dance in the leaves, and in winter, they make snow angels a ...more
English 212
Jun 15, 2015 English 212 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paige-2015
This book is beautifully written. It tells of the four season and what a daughter and mother did in each one. It followed a pattern of dancing in a certain season, followed by an activity they did and a drink that she associated with it. For spring they drank sassafras tea and read poems. In summer they would drink lemonade and make piles of seashells they collected. In autumn they drank spiced tea and pressed leaves, and in winter they drank cocoa and made snowflakes. It all revolves around dan ...more
Feb 09, 2017 Jessie rated it really liked it
Shelves: dance
This conveys setting and season so well. The words and traditions match the different seasons (and Colon's illustrations go along beautifully).

The voice of the girl's mother here is really strong. This is about seasons and joy, but it's also about tradition and love and what our families pass on to us.
Sometimes you just need to cut loose. That is what brought me to this book. Feeling a need to read aloud to my students, I just grabbed this off the bookshelf. I read it cold. Teachers aren't supposed to do that, but I'm shaking up my routines. :)

This was better than my initial reaction was. The rhythmic nature of the text takes the reader on a woman's reminiscence of her youth. Her mother had a "dancing heart" and led her to joyous adventures. Balanced in tales of the four seasons, this story p
Scott Houston
Oct 29, 2012 Scott Houston rated it really liked it
When I read this text it was touching to see the lessons the narrator's mother taught her being upheld despite her passing on. I would use this book in classroom instruction to ask students some of the lessons or experiences they have had with their parents, with the end goal being to ask them what those lessons and experiences have done for their life. I would recommend this book for classroom instruction because it models initiative in students, in that the main character became a great dancer ...more
McKenna Crimmins
Jan 22, 2015 McKenna Crimmins rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because the writing was very descriptive and included a lot of detail about how each new season the mom and daughter would go outside and celebrate the changing of the new seasons. The pictures were very happy and made me think of a calm yet excited state of mind. The story made me realize how important it is to have a close relationship with family and how much impact each day with your loved ones has. I thought this book was entertaining and should be read more often ...more
Tori Biles
Feb 22, 2015 Tori Biles rated it really liked it
This is an inspirational story of a daughter and her mother. It showed the positive influence this girl's mother had on her life and how she took that influence and made a life out of it. It stars and ends in the same way, which I think is a good way for children to see what the author was trying to get across. I think kids will like the fun and flowing illustrations that fill practically the whole page. I also think that it would get them, maybe more older children, thinking on their mothers an ...more
Meghan Brigan
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart is a beautiful story of a mother instilling the love of dance in her daughter. Every season mother and daughter would dance to celebrate the changes taking place in nature. The combination of words are catchy and fun. This book is for children age four and up. It is a traditional story of a mom who had a grand impact on her daughters life. The rthym of the words makes me want to dance. It also makes me think of all the traits my mother gave me.
Ann Marie
Feb 12, 2009 Ann Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching-books
The language in this book is vivid and wonderfully specific. I used it to teach a writing lesson today that encouraged students to use alliteration, hyphenated adjectives (i.e. toe-tapping), and strong verbs in their own writing pieces. It's a solid book that merits repeated readings. I placed it in my "Read Alouds" bin in class and I think it will be a title that the students enjoy revisiting.
Sep 04, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, storybook
What a 'delicious' type of book; I enjoyed rolling the lyrical words around in my mouth. The spirit of the seasons, the spirits of the girl and her mother, the spirit of the love and kinship between them were all illustrated wonderfully in this book in both the words and in the expressive pictures. I felt a little sad, however, as the mother is referred to in the past tense. I was left hoping that the mother did at least get to see her daughter soar on the stage...
The words in this book are beautiful! I can see this book being used for so many thing in the classroom. The book creates strong mental images that could be used for visualization. I can also see this book being used as a model for a mini lesson on using descriptive verbs to strengthen students' writing. It's also a great read aloud book and I can't wait to read it in my own classroom. This book would be great for the make-a-scene strategy as well.
Heather Rodriguez
Dec 15, 2008 Heather Rodriguez rated it it was amazing
The beautiful language of the book was useful in teaching word choice to my fourth graders. The sequencing and parallelism was also significant. However, I enjoyed it even more as a daughter and a mother; it was a poetic reminder of the strength and influence our relationships can have when they're open, genuine, and sincere. The artistry of the book reinforces that time and experiences together create the background knowledge and security that are forever meaningful to our kids.
Shelbi Bishop
Nov 28, 2011 Shelbi Bishop rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
With the wonderful writing in this book, Libba Moore Gray paints a wonderful mind picture about the seasons.

With this book, you could do a choral read by providing copies of the text to the students. Then the students could write down their favorite line of the text on to a sentence strip (limiting their choice to a maximum of about 15 words) and then use the words to create a poem. You could also incorporate movement into the activity by having the students put movements to the poem.
Courtney Sharpton
Katie Wood Ray talks about this book so highly in her book that I had to read it. I loved it! I had a personal connection with the book, however I loved the work craft Gray uses here. It is really beautiful and unexpected and I will definitely use this in my classroom to encourage students to think of new ways to words things.
Nov 01, 2014 Lynn rated it it was amazing
The text carries me to the five stars, although I'm not particularly drawn to the illustrations. Many wonderful phrases: "...when the waves would come plash-splashing..." and "...a tip-tapping song-singing finger-snapping kind of day..." that take us from the childhood to the adult who has become a dancer. Lovely.
Anna Baker
Beautiful imagery about the changing seasons. An excellent example to show when learning about sensory details and poetry. I love the excitement of the changing seasons, and may capitalize on excitement by having my students write a poem about leaving the old season and entering the new season at each season change. This would be a great book to read to get ideas going.
May 18, 2009 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Beautiful illustrations, word rhythm and conversation book. It was recommended to me and I subsequently purchased it as a gift to a classroom: a classroom whose children's lives don't include cultural events such as ballet. I particularly like that it shows the connection between a type of dance and the rhythms of life.
Kandice Buck
Oct 15, 2015 Kandice Buck rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life-lessons
This is about a mother and daughter who dance through the seasons. It is a great book to teach about the different seasons. Children would learn the seasons while looking at the beautiful illustrations
Apr 27, 2011 Angela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The word choices in this book are wonderful! I could think of a million ways to use this book in a classroom. I especially think it would be great to discuss descriptive verbs! I really loved this story! It may be one to have in the classroom library, but also my own!
Jan 09, 2008 Susie rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-lit
A beautifully illustrated book. I received it from my husband for Mother's Day. It is a children's book but I think anyone that appreciates art and poetry would enjoy this book. It is joyful and sentimental.
Oct 07, 2009 Nicole added it
It is a tradition in my family for my mom to give this book to us when we get married. I can't tell you how much this book means to me because of my mother. It talks about how to deal with life and express yourself through dancing.
Jun 26, 2013 Kayla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A ballet dancer recalls how she and her mother would welcome each season with a dance outdoors. All the flash backs would make me feel warm inside and think of all the good times I had with my family as a child. It did make me sad that the girls mother is no longer around but a great book overall.
Carol Royce Owen
Nov 08, 2012 Carol Royce Owen rated it really liked it
Beautiful imagery as the young girl describes the days when she and her mama would dance out into the world, celebrating the beauty of the seasons, and how the mama passed that love of dancing down to her young daughter.
Nov 07, 2008 Natalie rated it it was ok
"My mama had a dancing heart and she shared that heart with me".... it's such a beautiful line and the book has such warm illustrations, and there's a ballerina and everything, but somehow it just fell flat for me.
Sarah Truluck
Aug 24, 2015 Sarah Truluck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book because in the end, it talked about how her mom influenced her to dance and her memories of them dancing together. It was sweet. I chose this book, because I used to dance on stage so I can relate to her passion for dance.
Jul 11, 2016 Laura rated it it was amazing
delightful. just re-read it :)
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