Project Description


Dancing with Katya

by Dori Chaconas
illustrated by Constance R. Bergum

A moving, dramatic story of the transforming power of love and the strong 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 during the summer in which Katya turns five she is suddenly overcome by a high fever. The doctor delivers a grim diagnosis: polio. Although she recovers from the lingering illness, Katya’s legs are left weakened and twisted. Anna carries her to the meadow in a wheelbarrow now, and dances alone for her sister. Together they dream of a time when Katya will be able to join her in their ballerina game.

Then Mama and Papa announce that Katya must leave home and go to a hospital in the city where doctors will try to make her legs strong again. Anna misses her sister and worries: will the treatment and Katya’s “pioneer spirit” allow her to dance once again?

In an afterword, the author and illustrator each tell the true stories of their families’ battles with polio.

Hardcover: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-376-4
Total Pages: 32
Size: 9 1/2 x 11
Language: English
Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 106565
AR Reading Level: 3.6
AR Points: 0.5

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: P
F&P Grade: 3


“A warm and inspiring tribute to one sister’s love and the other’s courage.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“A sincere, nostalgic effort.” ―School Library Journal

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


Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People ―NCSS/CBC 2007

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (starred, primary) ―Kansas National Education Association 2007

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

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Schneider Family Book Award (finalist) ―ALA 2007

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.