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Ahni and her Dancing Secret: Book Review

Editorial Staff

Written by a member or members of the Editorial Team.
Editorial Staff

A simple story with a heart. This is the story of a little girl, Ahni, who dreams of becoming a prima ballerina.

Nervous yet excited about her first day at dance school, she holds her head up high and unfazed by the other kids’ graceful moves, dances her confident “dance”, only to be snickered at by the more advanced students. The instructor, Madam Sabina, comes to her rescue and shares with her the secrets to achieving what one desires. Thanks to Madam Sabina’s inspiring words and her own hard work, Ahni transforms from a novice to a confident dancer.

What I liked: The story has a gentleness to it that is instantaneously felt. As you flip the pages, reading the words and observing the illustrations, you flow with Ahni’s feelings, like you actually are in her dancing shoes, experiencing what she is, too. Madam Sabina’s kindness toward her students depicted in her ability to talk to Ahni in words she would understand is the kind of role modeling we need to see from non-parent adults in kids’ lives. The writing flows easily and the rhymes do not feel forced. The illustrations are beautiful.


I also liked that Ahni’s race does not figure anywhere in the book except through the illustrations. I like this subtlety. Mainstream books where the main characters simply happen to be of color, matter-of-factly, send powerful messages to their readers. It is extremely empowering for young readers of color to see the lead character in a book look like them.

What I did not like: Nothing, really.

In conclusion, this is a simple story occurring in a unique context with lessons that can be learned to last a lifetime. The content is well written and the illustrations enhance the message and meaning of the written words.

Click to buy Ahni And Her Dancing Secret by Shereen Rahming and illustrated by Jeff Vernon (affiliate link).

Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes. 

The author, Shereen Rahming, also wrote a powerful piece on how she raises her African-American kids for theParentVoice,. Read it here

If you are an author, illustrator, or publisher and would like us to review your book, send a copy to: 

the Parent Voice,
1750 Lundy Ave. #613176
San Jose, CA 95131

the author

Written by a member or members of the Editorial Team.

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Séverine Perronnet

I love books with diversity, in which characters are busy being just humans doing their stuff. This is how diversity is normalized ion the best possible way.
And, it is quite difficult to find books about ballerinas who are not blond with blue eyes, somehow.

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