Bunheads was my first experience with a Misty Copeland picture book. I love watching her dance, so I was happy to get a digital copy of this ARC. This story is based on Misty's first-time experience with ballet class. The teacher tells them the story of Coppelia (which they will be performing), and then they learn the steps and eventually perform by the end of the book.
Lupe Wong Won't Dance is Donna Barba Higuera's debut middle-grade novel. Her protagonist Lupe is a Mexican-Chinese girl who loves baseball. Her Chinese father died several years ago, so she lives with her Mexican mom and her brother Paolo. However, both her abuela and her Chinese grandparents are very present in their lives. Lupe is excited to get all A's this year because her uncle has promised her a meeting with baseball star Fu Li Hernandez, who's Chinacan/Mexinese like her if she does. But all of a sudden, there's a new development in her gym class: Coach wants them to do square dancing instead of like, actual sports. And guess what? Lupe does not dance.
Although I have zero professional dance experience, I love middle-grade books about dance! Sadly, though, new middle-grade books about dance are far and few in between. However, in this list of best middle-grade books about dance, I hunted down a few other excellent recommendations. Not all the books here are about ballet -- some feature hip-hop, square dancing, and even one about a Mexican dance. The books all feature dancing as a central theme, and protagonists who either love dancing or at least come to appreciate it by the end.