Project Description

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Dancing with Katya

by Dori Chaconas
illustrated by Constance R. Bergum

A moving story of the transforming power of love and the bonds between siblings that even polio cannot weaken.

Anna loves to dance with her beloved sister Katya in the meadow of their family’s Wisconsin farm. But one summer, Katya is overcome by a high fever, and the doctor delivers a grim diagnosis: polio. Although she recovers from the lingering illness, Katya’s legs are left weakened and twisted. Now, Anna carries Katya to the meadow and dances alone for her sister. Together they dream of a time when Katya will be able to join her again. When Mama and Papa announce that Katya must go to a hospital in the city where doctors will try to make her legs strong again. Anna worries: Will the treatment and Katya’s “pioneer spirit” allow her to dance once again?

In an afterword, author Dori Chaconas and illustrator Constance R. Bergum each offer true stories of their families’ personal battles with polio.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-376-4
Publication Date: 2/7/2007
Page Count: 32
Size: 9-1/2 ̎ x 11 ̎
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
AR Level: 3.6
F&P: GRL P, Gr 3, Genre HF
Themes: Farm Life, Polio, Siblings

Reviews

“Lovely realistic watercolors capture the look and feel of early 20th-century Midwestern farm life, as well as the mood and spirit of the two sisters. A warm and inspiring tribute to one sister’s love and the other’s courage.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Personal notes from both the author and illustrator tell how polio affected their families. An explanation of the disease, including details of President Roosevelt’s affliction, is helpful. A sincere, nostalgic effort.” ―School Library Journal

“A picture book of poignancy and power.” ―Southwest Virginia Enterprise

“Lovingly written, and charmingly illustrated in soft watercolors, this picture book is a fitting tribute to all those children who bravely bore the months and years of suffering that polio inflicted on them. It is also a fitting tribute to little dancers who are handicapped and yet who do not give up on their dreams but who persevere and dream on.” —Through the Looking Glass

Awards

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People ―National Council for the Social Studies, Children’s Book Council, 2007

Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities ―IBBY Documentation Centre of Books for Disabled Young People, 2009

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Starred, Primary) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2007

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Charlotte Award (Nominee, Primary list) ―New York State Reading Association, 2008

Show Me Readers Award (Nominee) ―Missouri Association of School Librarians, 2008-2009

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Meet the Author

Dori Chaconas is the author of several picture books, including Pennies in a Jar; Dancing with Katya; Christmas Mouseling; When Cows Come Home for Christmas; and Cork and Fuzz: Short and Tall. She lives in Wisconsin. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Constance R. Bergum has illustrated several children’s books. She holds an MFA in illustration from Marywood University and lives in Montana.