Graphic Novel Review: tiny dancer by Siena Cherson Siegel and Mark Siegel

tiny dancer by Siena Cherson Siegel and Mark Siegel. Background assistance by Abe Erskine. Atheneum, 2021. 9781481486668. 264pp.

Siena grew up in Puerto Rico, where her father had an architectural firm. Her ballet teachers thought she showed great promise, and she focused on it after her brother left for boarding school in the states. After she was accepted to the School of American Ballet in New York, she and her mother moved there. (Problems with her parents’ marriage were part of the reason as well.) What follows is a coming of age story full of dreams, romance, self doubt, and lots of inspiring dance practices and performances. It all starts to fall apart when Siena rolls her ankle one day in practice, about halfway through the book. Minor spoiler: she does mostly recover from the injury, but ultimately decides to leave the school and take a different life path.

This autobiographic YA graphic novel completely stands on its own, but also continues Cherson Siegel’s life story from the Siegels’ enthusiastic kids graphic novel To Dance. (There’s a nice callback to To Dance early in the book, when she’s dancing on the beach in Peurto Rico while walking with her dad.)



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