Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess: These Shoes Are Made for Dancing -- a Multicultural Children's Book Day Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever had one of those bad days? You know when you think the world is against you? We all have them--even kids. Today I get to share with you a book for young readers that deals with just that! It is the fourth book in the Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess Series. The book is These Shoes Are Made for Dancing by Deedee Cummings and illustrated by Charlene Mosley. The series is recommended for ages 4 to 8. (To see my reviews of some more of Deedee Cummings' books, click here.)

From the Publisher:

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess--These Shoes Are Made For Dancing is the fourth book in a five-book #OWNVOICES series that follows the story of a little brown girl who loves musical theatre and never lets anything get in the way of her dreams. In These Shoes Are Made For Dancing, Kayla faces feelings of self-doubt and loss while finding new ways to remind herself of what is real and important in life. This feisty little dancer is determined to carve her own path as she continues to fall in love with the world of performing arts. The Kayla series was inspired by the author's daughter and Broadway actress, Kayla Pecchioni and is being produced as a musical. Parents and Teachers: Deedee Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field, and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings strives to lessen the stigma surrounding children and adults suffering in silence from mental health issues. As a family therapist, many of her tried-and-true therapy techniques are skillfully woven into this story to show young readers gentle ways to cope and find inner peace.

From Me:

First, I love how Deedee gives the young readers ways to cope with those bad days. I also love how Kayla's mother is not willing to put up with her daughter not being given the same opportunities as the other kids in the dance class. The messages in this book are strong and important for every child. The book is well written and tells the story as well as relating it to everyday life for anyone. 

The story shares about Kayla beginning to dance. Her teacher is tough, and she feels a bit out of place since she is the only dancer where the nude tights don't match her skin. She works hard but does not seem to get many chances. One day her mother asks to speak to the instructor privately. Kayla hears the conversation, and her mother is discussing the unfair treatment of Kayla. The mother takes Kayla away that day and tells her to always let her know when she is being treated so unfairly. Kayla questions this since she has been told not to whine or tattle. Her mother explains the difference between a real injustice and whine and tattling. They find a new place for dance lessons, and it is much better.

In the beginning of the book Kayla goes to see a Broadway show with her grandmother. It shares how special the trip is to Kayla. Kayla keeps the ticket stub and daydreams of the day when she needs to cheer herself up. At the end of the book is a craft activity to make an anchor and happy memories box. I made one for Hazel. We had an old wooden box that I got years ago and haven't used. I printed out photos of Hazel, and what I thought would be happy memories for her. I asked her to sort them so she would pick her favorites. I glued them to the box.

Now she can put things that are happy memories inside the box. If you don't have a fancy wooden box, a shoe box will work. Or a simple wooden box from a craft store could be painted. Here is a box Hazel made when she was young at a birthday party.

Once the box has items in it, when Hazel is having a bad day, she can look inside or even just look at the photos on the outside. These happy memories are anchors to help her remember the better times! The book does a wonderful job with explaining how to help oneself out of a bad day as well as explaining inequities. I actually had Hazel read it because I knew it would resonate with her.  I hope you will check it out. 

About Multicultural Children's Book Day:

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22) is in its 9th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

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Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party! Be sure and follow MCBD and Make A Way Media on Twitter!

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