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Books: Ballet Books Biography for 9-12 year olds

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Moms and Dads. I was on Amazon checking out how my book was doing, and noticed another ballet book -- a biography of the Canadian dancer Chan Hon Goh -- that was listed as "for 9 to 12 year olds."


So if you're looking for a Christmas gift for someone in that age group, you might want to take a look.



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Yes, thanks for the "heads up" on both of these books! I wonder if the age range on the Chan Hon Goh one is apt to put people off that feel their reading skills are above this level? I hope not..maybe I'll find it in a local bookstore just to give it a thorough once over before I buy it through the Amazon site on Ballet Talk.

Alexandra, your book - on the other hand- sounds fascinating to the most literate of readers!

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I wondered that too, BW -- it's hard to tell from the blurb on Amazon, but I don't think this is just a picture book. There was a bio of Darcey Bussell a few years ago that was also aimed at young readers, but a lot of grownups bought it.


I must say that my book, although it's mostly a critical biography, does contain some material about Kronstam's personal life that I would not have been allowed to read before the age of 14. Now, that was 100 years ago, and times have changed, I know, but I wouldn't give it to anyone under 14 unless they were very sophisticated -- it's nothing salacious, and I don't dwell on it, but there are Things Mentioned that a 10 year old should not read, IMHO.

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This reminds me that over twenty years ago, I read a book called "Worlds Apart: the Autobiography of a Dancer from Brooklyn," by Robert Maiorano, then a soloist with NYCB. To this day, I consider it among the best ballet memoirs I've ever read. Some time after reading it, I learned the publisher had classified it as a YA book, that is, for "young adults" and indeed the Library of Congress data identifies it as "Juvenile Literature." I'm grateful I hadn't known that. So I would advise adults, young or old to ignore such publishing designations. Personally, I plan to get the book. Chan Hon Goh, after all, is prima ballerina of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet.

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Guest OttawaMom

Thanks Alexandra for letting us know ... not only does my daughter love ballet, but she loves reading too. Also, daughter danced in the Nutcracker with Ms. Chan last year (Chan Han Goh shared the Sugar Plum Fairy role amongst the other principals dancers from NBOC), so my daughter is a true fan of hers. It will make a wonderful Christmas gift!

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Guest Kevin Ng

I didn't realise that Amazon lists Goh's book as written for the kids. This may be because it's short in length at 160 pages. There were some insights from Goh on her roles which I think are of interest to older readers, and also of interest is her relating of the Cultural Revolution in China. I've certainly learnt a thing or two after reading her book.

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  • Administrators

Thanks for the tip on the book! Chan Hon Goh is one of my younger daughter's favourite dancers...I'll have to try to get the book for her!

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I bought Chan Hon Goh's autobiography today. I haven't had a chance to read the whole thing yet but I have skimmed different parts of it. It is very readable and has plenty of very good photos. I would say that young dancers as well as adults will enjoy the book. I bought the book at Chapters.......it was in the kids section, not the "new biographies" section which I did think was odd. I guess I should stop reading and put it away so my daughter isn't getting a "used" Christmas present:D

Now my only problem is to try and figure out how I can get it autographed for her.

To Mom2......Peanut will love it!




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  • Administrators

Have now bought the book, and I think that it will be great for my daughter.


Older dancers would enjoy it too, especially those who are familiar with Chan Hon Goh.


If you figure out a way to get an autograph apart from standing at the Hummingbird stage door, let me know!

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Guest Paquita

For autographs, it is likely that there will be a book signing at the Hummingbird sometime soon. They've had Kain and Augustyn signing their books in the past, I figure Chan will probably do the same. If you go to her performances, sometimes she signs autographs during intermission. Some dancers rarely come out for signings, but Chan does so quite often. Or you could go to the Open House in March 2003, and even get one of her pointe shoes signed!

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Young dancers will certainly enjoy this book, and I agree with Kevin Ng -- so will adult balletomanes. There are insights into her roles, her family, and colleagues. I didn't know much about Chan Hon Goh, other than her appearances with the Farrell company. But I gained a new appreciation of her, the National Ballet of Canada, and of the Goh family's place in ballet. And it's a very good-looking book besides. (There are even photos of Chan with Suzanne.)

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  • 2 months later...

I know it's a little bit late for Christmas, but I just got a review copy of this, and it's a very nice book. It is aimed at children, but it doesn't talk down to them, and I enjoyed reading it.


Goh is as quiet a person as she is a dancer, but the dedication comes through very clearly. It's an honest book -- she doesn't mince the difficulties in a dance career, but you can still tell she loves it. Her parents were dancers and it was their bad luck that their careers coincided with the Cultural Revolution. Goh had to adjust to living in a foreign country at a very young age, had weight problems -- many things that young dancers face.


But it records, very gently and modestly, her triumphs and talks about her work.


I'd give this to any young dancer. It's a positive review of dance, but, as noted above, an honest one. And I agree with Kevin and FF -- you don't need to be between 9 and 12 to enjoy it and get something from it.

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