Monday, February 22, 2010

The Turning

by Gloria Whelan
Copyright 2006

Our latest read aloud has been a book by Gloria Whelan.  The audience for this book was my two daughters, ages 7 and 10.  The Turning takes place in Russia in 1991 during the country's struggle for democracy.  It is the fictional story of a ballerina, Tonya, who is planning to defect to Paris while on tour with her ballet company.

My ten year old said she enjoyed learning about the life of a ballerina and didn't realize all the necessary preparations leading up to the tour to Paris, like wearing out a pair of toe shoes every day. (I guess this really happens!)

My seven year old rushed to find another book by Gloria Whelan on our last visit to the library.  I guess that is a pretty good gauge of her engagement with the story, though she wasn't too specific about what she liked. She did say that she was a little disappointed there wasn't a wedding before the book ended.

The Turning is found in the teen section of our library but really, the content was very accessible to our younger crowd.  We had a good discussion about Russia, communism and the basics of recent changes there. I think part of the girls' interest in this topic is that their piano teacher came to the U.S. from the Ukraine at the time the Soviet Union dissolved and now they have lots of new questions for her!

We are off to read Angel on the Square (we're on a roll with this author right now). . . .


  1. Never read this one! Looks like a good read though.

  2. I would say the essence of a good children's (and adolescence) literature is how well they combine fact with a fictional story line. It sounds like this book did an excellent job of teaching and entertaining. Another book to add on my ever growing list.