Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes

Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes brings culture, inspiration, dance, heart and a beautiful story for children. A must read story! – Momma Braga


A girl explores her love of dancing and her cultural identity in a lively picture book with echoes of the real-life collaboration between Bharatanatyam icon Rukmini Devi Arundale and ballerina Anna Pavlova.

Paro comes from a dancing family. At home, she dances Bharatanatyam with her mom, and now she’s excited to learn ballet. But what if she can’t dance like the other kids in her class? Ballerinas move like fairies, while Bharatanatyam dances seem like queens. Paro can’t be both…can she?


Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes brings light to Bharatanatyam which is a dance that encompasses music, rhythm and expression to the classical Indian dance. It was beautiful to see it represented in this story.

We absolutely loved how it intertwined with Ballet in Paro’s journey in finding what makes her extra special. This was about self-discovery for Paro as she wanted to find her place in her ballet class. Her mother helped her see how truly special she is with her knowledge of Bharatanatyam, it made her a great ballerina.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 stars out of 5! This book brings culture, inspiration, dance and heart to the forefront. It truly embraced the journey of empowerment for Paro as she saw that she was a Fairy Queen in dance. We loved that! The extras in the book are amazing too as the author included: Behind the Scenes, origins of the name of Bharatanatyam and Ballet; and how you can make your own ghungroo (anklets used in the dance). Those extras make this book more unique and fun for children!

If you would like to purchase a copy of this great book, click here.

About the Author and Illustrator

Mahak Jain writes for young people and adults. Her picture book Maya (illustrated by Elly MacKay) was a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a CBC Books Best Book of the Year, and a winner of the 2017 South Asia Book Award. Mahak lives in Toronto, ON.

Anu Chouhan is an illustrator from Burnaby, BC. A trained animator and character designer, Anu often combines her love of Bollywood, anime, and global fashion into her art. She enjoys creating art that celebrates diversity and empowerment.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange of an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

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