Dancing with Daddy By Anitra Rowe Schulte Illustrated by Ziyue Chen

Back of Book:

Elsie can’t wait to go to her first father-daughter dance. She picked out the perfect dress and has been practicing swirling and swaying in her wheelchair. Elsie’s heart pirouettes as she prepares for her special night. With gestures, smiles, and words from a book filled with pictures, she shares her excitement with her family. But when a winter storm comes, she wonders if she’ll get the chance to spin and dance her way to a dream come true.

My Review:

I received a copy of this picture book from Two Lions Press and Blue Slip Media in exchange for an honest review. 

I am thrilled to be a part of the book tour for this story.

Dancing With Daddy by Anitra Rowe Schulte is a loving tribute to the author’s own daughter and a celebration of the lives of very special children and their families who strive to make every moment special. The note in the front of the story introduces readers to what Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome is, and why Anitra wrote her book. 

 The story follows Elsie, a young girl with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, who is excited about her first father-daughter dance. She is so excited to wear a beautiful dress, dance, and eat sweet frosting. When a storm comes in, Elsie is worried that the snow will ruin her evening. The end of the story is enduring and will bring a smile to every reader’s face. The illustrations by Ziyue Chen capture Elsie’s emotions throughout the story beautifully! I love that her disability and needs are integrated into the story including the craniofacial dimensions of children with this syndrome, tube feeding, use of a PODD book, and the wheelchair. The story allows readers to see that children with disabilities are children very much like themselves, who should be treated with respect, and inclusion. This is a perfect book for the classroom or at home. 

Ages 5 and up

40 Pages 


★“Refreshingly, Elsie’s disability is seamlessly presented as simply another aspect of family life…As she swings and sways in her father’s arms, her forehead against his, their love is palpable; Chen’s illustrations fairly glow with affection…A heartwarming portrayal of a family embracing disability.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[Anitra] Rowe Schulte uses accessible, rhythmic language…conveying Elsie’s thoughts in pink- and red-colored text. Light-filled digital illustrations by [Ziyue] Chen make use of differing angles and dynamic shots, emphasizing the love the family has for one another.” ―Publishers Weekly

“This sweet story is a great addition to any diverse and inclusive library.” ―TODAY

Anitra Rowe Schulte has worked as a journalist for The Kansas City Star and the Sun-Times News Group, as a staff writer for Chicago Public Schools, and as a publicist. She is the mother of three beautiful girls, one of whom has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and is the inspiration for Elsie in this book. She lives in the Chicago area, and this is her first picture book. Learn more about her at www.anitraroweschulte.com and follow her at @anitraschulte on Twitter.

Ziyue Chen is the Deaf illustrator of a number of children’s books, including Mela and the Elephant by Dow Phumiruk, How Women Won the Vote by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and Rocket-Bye Baby: A Spaceflight Lullaby by Danna Smith. She lives with her loved ones in Singapore. Find out more at www.ziyuechen.com or follow her @ziyuechen on Instagram.

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