Cover Image: Tiny Dancer

Tiny Dancer

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Member Reviews

A YA memoir about struggling to find your next step when the ground is pulled out from under you.
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Since she was a young girl on the beach, Siena has dreamed of becoming a professional ballerina. Her dreams take her all the way to NYC where she’s admitted to a prestigious dance academy, but injures her ankle to the point where she never recovers to the dancer she once was. What happens when the dream you’ve lived your whole life for cannot become a reality?
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This was a beautiful graphic novel autobiography that was honest, real and @siena_tinydancer puts it all on the pages for students to relate to. So many good lessons are shared in this book. I have a lot of kids I want to recommend this one too.

CW: eating disorder, ankle injury, divorce battle, body image issues, stress, mental health issues
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This book is beautiful! The art, the writing, the story: all incredible! I participated in dance classes and recitals all my life and I really resonated with many aspects of Siegel's graphic memoir. Whereas there have been graphic memoirs recently that I have felt don't lend themselves to the graphic medium, the movement associated with ballet and the fact that this is integral to the plot of this story just really works for a graphic medium. I think a lot of young people can relate to this book whether they have danced or not because everyone has had a dream.
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Siena has always dreamed of being a ballerina and through hard work and sheer determination, she lands a spot at the famous School of American Ballet. Her dream of becoming a professional ballerina feels so much closer until self-doubt and injury start to make her question otherwise. Suddenly, she's asking herself what is truly the right path for her. 

As much as I enjoyed seeing ballet world through Siena's eyes and in graphic novel format, I didn't fully connect to the story or the character. I did like that the plot wasn't just about ballet. It's really a coming-of-age story of a young woman who thought she knew exactly what she wanted.. until she didn't. So I did appreciate that. But ultimately, due to the format, I didn't think it delved in deep enough for it to resonate with me. Had this been a longer graphic novel (or a book), I think I would've felt otherwise.
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**Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC

I won't lie, I cried while reading this book. While I never was on a professional track for dance, I know what the author meant when she talks about the feeling when she dances. I feel that people will empathize with how she felt when she had to change and adjust her own expectations and dreams. 

Tiny Dancer is about the young adult life of Siena Cherson Siegel and her aspirations to be a professional dancer, but when life throws an injury at her, she must strive to figure out what she wants out of life besides dancing. Such an amazing story that produces real emotion from the reader with illustrations that pull at the heart with how lovely they are.
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I remember reading and really appreciating "To Dance" several years ago, so I was on board for this one. There is a lot of familiar ground here but the intent is definitely different. Less appreciation of dance as art and struggle, more defining oneself outside of a single all-consuming passion.
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This is an emotional, intricate look into the life of a ballerina. The artwork, while simple at times, lends itself well to the story being told. I especially love the page spreads showing some of the intricate dance steps.

The message of the graphic novel is clear and important to anybody who has gone through hardships and disappointments. I like that it ends on a hopeful note.

I think this book would appeal to those interested in dance and ballet.
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Tiny Dancer is a heartfelt story about recovery and growth after something that has seemingly defined your entire life comes to an end. It's a solid story about perseverance and taking the next leap in life.
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Thank you to netgalley for providing an e-galley for review. Tiny Dancer by Siena Cherson Siegel is a graphic memoir that discusses what happens after an injury deviates a ballet dancer from her chosen path. This was a decent tale, there could have been a few transition panels for time frames. That got a little clunky.
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TINY DANCER is a beautiful graphic memoir about a ballet dancer figuring out what comes next after an injury. Full of complex feelings, this memoir explores what happens when the dreams and plans you have for life don’t work out and the adrift feelings that comes with it. Perfect for fans of SPINNING by Tillie Walden!
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A lovely graphic novel that has a great plot and artwork! I will definitely be sharing this with my students as they are in love with great stories!
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I wish the author had waited a couple years before writing a memoir. We don't know where she ends up in relation to dancing so the story feels unfinished. The title doesn't tie into the plot that well other than making a pun and including "dance."
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This graphic novel reminded me of the movie Center Stage. I love entering into the world of professional dance students. I personally was never a dancer, but am captivated by this lifestyle. Siena has always dreamed of being a professional ballet dancer. Her mother moved from Puerto Rico to New York City so that Siena could study at the School of American Ballet. 

As Siena's family life begins to crumble around her, she also experiences an ankle injury that does not receive proper treatment. As she struggles with this physical setback, her mental health also begins to suffer. She had pinned her entire future on the dream of dancing in the New York City Ballet. 

During the second half of the book, Siena begins to piece her life back together and works to identify how the skills that she's learned from ballet can be applicable in other situations. As she studies at university, she also begins to reclaim her love of dance while finally letting go of performing with the NYCB. 

This graphic novel speaks to Siena's tenacity and perseverance. For young adults with even a vague interest in dance, this book will not only provide connections to the world of ballet but also offer a valuable perspective about reexamining goals and bravely taking on new challenges.
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Really liked this story of a young woman who once loved dance, trying to find herself a new path in life when a career ending injury takes away everything she ever worked for.
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I've always loved ballet. I haven't danced in a long time, but I remember how it feels and I have never lost my love for it. As soon as I stumbled across this book all about how dancing shapes and defines a life, I couldn't pass it up. Nor could I put it down once I started reading.

I'm someone who has walked away from several dreams in pursuit of things that would fill my life with joy and purpose, and I quite possibly related to this story a little too hard. It's beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, inspiring and heartbreaking and so much more all at once.

It made me feel something. I'm not sure what yet, but for that reason and so many others, I have to give it a full slate of stars.

This book may have also converted me into a graphic novel fanatic, and I'm not at all mad about it.
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This was a nice graphic novel about Siena Chardon Siegel's childhood into adulthood and the struggles she faced with dance.
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When I first came across Tiny Dancer, I was eager to read it because I too was a ballerina growing up. I was interested to see if I could find myself in the story as I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything about dance before. I really enjoyed the graphics in Tiny Dancer. I was really impressed with the detail and accuracy put into the depiction of ballet. As a former dancer, that kind of attention to detail is really important to me in any kind of depiction of dance regardless of the medium. I did really appreciate the portrayal of the comparative nature of ballet and how it often feeds into negative self thoughts and feelings of inadequacy when set backs keep you from following the same path as your peers. I think any athlete can relate to the feelings of lost potential and uncertainty after an injury as depicted in Tiny Dancer. I would also have like to seen a lot more exploration of the dance culture at large and how it often negatively impacts mental health. In my experience, dance instructors perpetuated unrealistic expectations of body image and perfectionism. They were quick to criticize and only sparingly dealt out words of encouragement or approval. For this reason, Tiny Dancer felt very singular in its story, but as this is a memoir, perhaps this was not as big a part of the author’s experience as it was mine. 

Overall, this is a pretty solid graphic memoir. It’s reminiscent of Spinning by Tillie Walden which similarly chronicles the author’s life through graphics but as an ice skater. If you’ve enjoyed that, I think you would also like Tiny Dancer.

Thank you to NetGalley for the e-arc of Tiny Dancer. All opinions are my own.
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A beautifully honest graphic memoir that follows author Siena Cherson Siegel through both her professional and personal journeys of her life as a dancer. She really dives into the nitty gritty of what it takes to become a professional dancer and how much sacrifice one has to be willing to accept in order to get to where they want to be in life. At the same time, she doesn't shy away from the reality of what can happen when that dream is taken away. The question of "who am I without this?" forces its way to the forefront, especially when in cases like hers, one's entire identity is wrapped up into this one goal or dream, which is then taken away. 

Having her story be an graphic novel really lends itself well to her story in order to better illustrate not just her emotions, but the beauty she saw in ballet. The illustrations are all clean and done entirely in purples and whites, which is fine, but at times certain panels would have benefitted from more pops of color or a change to further drive the point home. A few times some panels and text got convoluted and was difficult to follow, especially when text wasn't always necessary. The sections where it was just illustrations were at times the most effective and emotional, which tapped into what she was feeling the most. 

Overall, it was a great graphic memoir that many people, not only those in dance, can relate to on some level and be drawn to.
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A graphic novel that takes a very realistic look at one dancers journey. 

Sienna has spent her young life striving to earn a place in the spotlight, making many sacrifices along the way. As she nears her goal, an injury forces her to question it all.
Is this what she really wants? How much sacrifice is too much? Does she have what it takes?
This memoir beautifully depicts how life occasionally throws us a curveball to keep in check our dreams vs realities.

What impressed me the most was the choice of purple hues throughout the story. 
A symbol of strength, creativity and ambition, I’d like to believe this was a subtle nod to the character and story alike. 

In every aspect.. beautifully done.

Thank you @NetGalley and @Siena_Tinydancer for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a lovely graphic novel memoir about a young ballet dancer and her journey through dance. It navigates the sacrifices young athletes have to make along with the pressures of meeting high expectations in a field where only a select few make it to the very top.

I think this is a great read for any young adult, but especially someone who dances. It really captures the passion that drives dancers from the beginning, that is never lost even if dance no longer holds the joy it once did.

I did get the feeling there was a bit of a rose colored shine on the storytelling style where I wish we could have gotten a little more real about the struggles she was experiencing, rather than feeling like she was presenting a pretty charmed existence and everything just kind of works out. But I feel like that comes along with the territory when you're reading something aimed at a Young Adult audience.

******Thank you to Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing and Atheneum Books for Young Readers for providing me with the eBook for free via NetGalley for an unbiased review.
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I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I love ballet; did it for a few years when I was younger but only with 1-2 classes a week. I played a tree. It was fun. This graphic novel shows the life of a dancer, the decline in motivation and unhealthy behaviours this career almost forces you to have. It was very engaging and the art was great. I will definitely recommend it to other ballet lovers!
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