Book Review of Alicia Alonso Takes the Stage by Rebel Girls

Alicia Alonso Takes the Stage is a historical fiction middle-grade chapter book about the life of the famous professional Cuban ballerina, Alicia Alonso. Alicia fell in love with dance since she was a little girl taking her first dancing lessons in Spain. She knew she wanted to become a professional ballerina after trying ballet shoes during a class with Nikolai Yavarosky at the Pro Arte Musical building in Cuba. Alicia was so sure of her dreams that she moved from Cuba to New York City, United States, to pursue a ballet career. Critics praised her by 1939. However, serious eyesight problems threatened her treasured ballet career. How did Alicia Alonso become a world-renowned prima ballerina despite her disabilities?

Alicia Alonso Takes the Stage is a wonderful story of resiliency. Alicia loved ballet with her entire being, so she pushed through her eyesight conditions to achieve her dreams and much more. Her grit is inspiring and an excellent example for kids, particularly those interested in a dance career.

Nancy Ohlin’s writing is concise and age-appropriate. It is obvious she did historical research to do justice to Alicia Alonso’s life. I was glad the chapter book had Spanish because Alicia Alonso was Cuban, and her first language was Spanish. I would only suggest that the next time Ohlin includes Spanish words, phrases, and sentences, she gets an editor accredited in Spanish to review them.

Unfortunately, the Spanish used in the book has errors. An example is: “Olé, Mama!” It should be: “¡Olé, Mamá!” Monolingual English readers might not notice these errors, but fully bilingual readers like me will take note.

I loved the color pallet the illustrator, Josefina Preumayr, chose for the chapters’ illustrations. But, I would have liked the images to reflect more the looks of the real Alicia Alonso.

Pages 102-103, Alicia Alonso Takes the Stage

Overall, Alicia Alonso Takes the Stage is a great chapter book for kids, between the ages of 9 and 12, who love ballet and dance. It is also a phenomenal life story that can serve as an inspiration to kids with disabilities, so they remember anything is possible.

Note that Alicia Alonso Takes the Stage is book number four in the Rebel Girls, Chapter Book series. The other chapter books in the series are Ada Lovelace Cracks the Code, Madam C.J. Walker Builds a Business, Junko Tabei Masters the Mountains, and Dr. Wangari Maathai Plants a Forest. All of these historical fiction chapter books by Rebel Girls are excellent for middle-grade girls. School libraries and libraries would benefit highly from having these on their shelves.


I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

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