Books Into the Wild: Artists and Rebels Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Ballet that Caused a Riot “When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky”

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.


This is another picturebook that I just happened to discover from our public library shelves, thanks to our current reading theme.

img_7234When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot

Written and Illustrated by: Lauren Stringer
Published by: Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013 ISBN: 0547907257 (ISBN13: 9780547907253).
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Igor Stravinsky was a Russian composer of modern music during the early 1900s. I like how he was described to hear an orchestra in his head as he creates his music “all by himself.”


Vaslav Nijinsky, on the other hand, was considered one of the greatest dancers of the 20th century and known all over Russia. Their meeting somehow ignited a different spark, as they both served as each others’ muses, inspiring them to reach different heights in their artistic collaboration.


This is one of those rare picturebooks with a clear cadence, a bouncy beat, a pounding rhythm as Stringer aimed to capture the “pom-di-di-pom” and the “tippy-tip-toed” reality of these two artists whose meeting allowed them to redefine art as they knew it then.


I also particularly enjoyed how their collaboration has caused such a ruckus with some people either loathing or loving their new show The Rite of Spring, so much so that there were “fistfights in the aisles” and the police had to be called in. The ending of the ballet was met with “both vigorous applause and vigorous protests” as was seen in the Author’s Note. Now this ballet, I would have loved to see – clearly it’s a wild one.


And thanks to Youtube, I found this whole concert clip which you can now enjoy. Have fun!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Ballet that Caused a Riot “When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky”

  1. How fun that there’s a picture book about it! My daughter has a “My Grandpa Beat Up Your Grandpa at the Rite of Spring Premiere” t-shirt.


  2. This “sounds” and “looks” terrific. I wonder how many ballet students know the story? Thanks, Myra.


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