Swan: the Life and Dance of Anna Pavolva may just be the most beautiful book I have read this year. Laurel Snyder's graceful words dance over Julie Morstad's stunning art stage. Like the dances of Anna Pavlova, the reader is brought to emotional lows and highs as Anna's life unfolds.
This is clearly a story that is personal to Laurel Snyder and you can hear it in her writing. Laurel's words, which dance across the page, are light in one moment and carry weight in another. We catch our breath and we sigh, just as watching a ballet.
Through Morstad's striking and evocative yet graceful and light illustrations (might I say transcendent art?), we begin to understand Anna Pavlova's life and adopt this daughter of a laundress as one of our own. Rarely does a picture book hold such heart-rending power. We readers are privileged to join this dance.
Swan: the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a book that must be on your book shelves, but even more, Swan should be a read aloud because all students should have the opportunity to know this book. It will spark important conversations around resilience and bravery. it will also spark conversations about hard work and following one's passion.
The world is big.
Anna is small.
The snow is
and all around.
But one night . . .
One night, her mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. Anna finds a beauty inside herself that she cannot contain.
So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova.