A Season-Dancing, Heart-Opening Retro Review of My Mama Had a Dancing Heart — by Rosanne L. Kurstedt

I finally worked up the courage to write something for the Nerdy Book Club. My retro-review is out in the world today.

Nerdy Book Club

My Mama Had a Dancing Heart (Orchard Books, 1995) by Libba Moore Gray and illustrated by Raúl Colón is a fun-loving, hand-clapping, heart-happy book that never gets old.

Libba Moore Gray effortlessly tells the story of a mother and her daughter through season-specific dances. Her use of noun-verb and verb-verb phrases adds rhythm and musicality to the story. From the word choice, to the repetition, to the illustrations this book captivates readers from the very first page.

The line, “My momma had a dancing heart and she shared that heart with me,” opens and closes the book. I’m a big fan of stories that begin and end the same. If done well that is—and Libba Moore Gray does it spectacularly. The closing sentence carries so much more weight, so much more meaning than the first. Each time I read the last sentence, I relive the characters’ journey and…

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