I remember very clearly being a little girl and watching The Nutcracker ballet on PBS. I begged my mother to sign me up for dance lessons, and a few years later I was dancing in the ballet I loved so much as a child.
I have such fond memories of this special story, and it remains one of my favorite holiday traditions. Here in the Indianapolis area, seeing the Central Indiana Dance Ensemble (CIDE) perform The Nutcracker has become a yearly family event. CIDE is the longest running pre-professional dance company in Central Indiana, and they are amazing.
These young dancers work so hard, and they put on a spectacular production. I also love the way they take their production out into the community and perform at various local events. They truly capture the holiday spirit!
These books are some of my favorite Nutcracker-inspired works. If you love The Nutcracker, you’ll love these fun stories!
7 Children’s Books Inspired by The Nutcracker Ballet
The Nutcracker: A BabyLit Dancing Primer by Jennifer Adams — The BabyLit Series is one of my favorite gifts for young readers! This adorable board book uses the characters from The Nutcracker to teach little ones about movement and dance.
The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffman and Maurice Sendak — Hoffman’s classic story pairs beautifully with illustrations from the legendary Sendak, best known for Where the Wild Things Are. Sendak’s unique and beautiful pictures make this book a true work of art.
Tallulah’s Nutcracker by Marilyn Singer — Tallulah’s dream comes true when she is cast in a production of The Nutcracker. She’s cast as one of the mice, but she works hard and gives her best effort during rehearsals. When she makes a mistake on opening night, she’s discouraged until some older dancers share their own stumbles on stage. This is a great book about working hard and never giving up!
The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow — This gorgeous book re-tells The Nutcracker story with a jazzy feel. This version of the story is set during the Harlem Renaissance and is a great example of how a wonderful story can transcend time, place, and culture.
The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet and Valeria Docamp — I absolutely adore this book! The illustrations are dramatic and sweeping, and fit perfectly with the story. The perfect blend of classic and modern, this version of The Nutcracker is the perfect holiday read-aloud.
The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers — This book might be the most “traditional” version on the list, but that doesn’t make it any less special. Jeffers’ engaging story and illustrations will draw in young readers and transport them to another time. Even before my son could read, he loved looking through the pictures in this book and telling me about the story.
The Nutcracker Mice by Kristin Kladstrup — This fun chapter book (great for grades 2-5) tells the story of a mouse named Esmeralda. Esmeralda is excited to be cast in the Russian Mouse Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker…until she realizes that mice are the villains in the story!
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