Book Review: Jose, Born to Dance

Reading Level

Ages 4-8

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America the great Melting Pot produced one of the world's great dancers, Jose Limon. Born in Mexico and educated in the United States, Limon found his artistic calling at a rather late age but more than made up for it with hard work and determined expression. He arrived in New York and became famous for his dance and his dance steps (what some people call choreography). He left behind a legacy and a Dance Company that is still known around the world.

The latest book by Susanna Reich, herself a former professional dancer, is the story of Jose Limon, of how the little boy who so missed his mother grew up to be a powerful, inspired dancer who dedicated his dances to his mother's memory. It is a wonderful book, expertly illustrated by Raul Colon, himself the product of a dance family.

The drawings complement the story, which follows young Jose from war-torn Mexico to Los Angeles and finally to New York. Along the way, Jose learns life lessons and gains vital insight into what excites him the most. He had a talent for drawing, but it was dance that fired him up the most.

Each anecdote in Jose's growing-up life has a purpose, as the reader discovers near the end of the book, when the author wonderfully includes each episode as an inspiration for Jose's dancing and determination.

Good writing, good illustrations, good example of one man's desire to pursue his dream and succeed—this is a great book.

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