Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Jose! Born to Dance: The Story of Jose Limon

Jose! Born to Dance: The Story of Jose Limon

Susanna Reich
Illustrator:  Raul Colon 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 9
Simon and Schuster, 2005   ISBN: 978-0689865763

Jose was born in Mexico and as soon as he was able to draw his family knew that the boy was artistic. When he was just seven Jose and his family had to leave their war-torn country. Civil war drove them across the border into the United States and they started a new life there. At first it was hard for Jose because his English was not as good as the other children in his school, but Jose was determined that soon he too would be able to speak English as well as everyone else.

This determination stood him in good stead for he would need it in the years ahead. Eager to find a place in the artistic community the young man went to New York. He became despondent when he found that he could not find his niche, his place, and then he went to watch a dance concert. Jose was so moved and invigorated by what he saw that he decided there and then that he would train to become a dancer.

Jose became a world famous dancer and choreographer and he did just what he planned to go – he gave a gift to the world.

Extraordinarily subtle and graceful artwork in muted colors perfectly captures the important events which shaped Jose Limon’s life. A simple yet meaningful text describes how Jose struggled to find his place in the world and the words will serve as encouragement and support for other young people who dream of creating beautiful things when they grow up.