John’s Turn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kate Berube

Published by Candlewick

Summary:  Every Friday there’s an assembly in the cafeteria: announcements, sometimes a guest, and then one student performs.  It’s called “Sharing Gifts.”  On this particular Friday, John is signed up to dance.  He’s quiet at breakfast, and everyone knows why: he’s nervous.  John changes into his ballet clothes during announcements.  The music begins, the kids quiet down, and John starts dancing, tentatively at first but then with more confidence.  He spins, leaps, and finishes with a bow.  There’s a moment of silence, and then the whole school applauds wildly.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  This simple story really captures John’s courage and the joy he feels when his performance is done.  It’s a perfect little slice-of-life tale of school, and the illustrations beautifully portray John’s dance moves.

Cons: We never find out who’s narrating the story

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