My students have been obsessed with free verse novels the past year. It is hard not to be when some of the greatest books are being published in this format. So when I was gifted a copy of A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman and noticed that this was not only a book written in free verse, but also represented a cultural view that most of my students have not been exposed I knew I had to read it. So I fell into the pages of the story of Veda and her dreams of becoming a dancer. Wrapped in the beautiful world of India, I found myself reaching for my iPad as I read wanting to understood more fully all of the culture that was being shared in the pages.
It was a beautiful reading experience and one that I am thrilled I can pass on to my students. One that I know will catch many of them too as they cheer for Veda and find connections between themselves and the story unfolding before them. For too long my classroom library has not had enough multicultural diversity in its text, this books a small step toward rectifying that, and a beautiful one at that. I highly recommend this book for 4th or 5th and up.
Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who’s grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers. Then Veda meets Govinda, a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with the world around her, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her.