Thank you to @KidLitExchange for sharing a review copy of this book with me. All opinions are my own.
Sometimes you have to read books twice to really get them. That was the case for me with Daria Peoples-Riley’s new book, This is It. The story seems simple enough, a young girl has a dance audition and is trying to prepare herself. What I didn’t see in the first round, because I simply wasn’t paying enough attention, is that the young dancer was quite nervous about her audition and her shadow is getting her prepared and telling her that she is ready for this.
Almost everything that we do, in childhood and adult life, requires a certain amount of bravery. When you have worked hard at a specific thing, such as dance, big auditions can be even more daunting. Self-doubt can easily creep in and trip us up, literally and figuratively. What is special about this book is that while the dancer is nervous about her audition, deep down, she knows that she has talent and is special, so it is her own shadow that brings that knowledge to the forefront rather than someone else.
The book utilizes very simple text, but the message is clear – you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. Stand tall with that knowledge, listen to your heart, give it everything you’ve got, and find joy. This might not resonate with those who haven’t yearned for the stage via an artistic athletic endeavor (gymnastics seems like a stage to me too), but it is a very powerful message.