Rachel Isadora

(New York, New York 1953 -)


Isadora started dancing as a young girl and went on to study at the School of American Ballet on a scholarship from the Ford Foundation. She studied under New York City Ballet founder and artistic director, George Balanchine, and costume and scenic designer, Rouben Ter-Arutunion.[3] She briefly danced with the Boston Ballet Company, until a foot injury caused her to seek work as a visual artist instead.[1] Her first book published in 1976, Max, is about a boy who realizes that taking ballet can help him become a better baseball player. Max was named an ALA Notable Book. Many of her other works incorporate ballet and dance, most notably the series, Lili at Ballet, Lili on Stage, Lili Backstage, and the Caldecott Honor award-winning Ben's Trumpet, which combines music and dance.[1]

She lived in Africa for almost ten years,[2] and has adapted a number of well-known stories and fairy tales to African settings, including Rapunzel, The Princess and the Pea, Hanzel and Gretel, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Night before Christmas, and The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Isadora's love for visual arts continues as well through her oil paintings. Her solo exhibit in 2016 called "Art of the Dance" featured 25 paintings about classic ballet and modern dance


Max received the 1976 Child Study Association Children's Book of the Year award; Children's Choice award, International Reading Association/Children's Book Council (CBC), 1976; Children's Book Showcase award, CBC, 1977; American Library Association (ALA) notable book citation, and was designated a Reading Rainbow selection
1979 ALA Notable Book citation, for Seeing Is Believing, written by Elizabeth Shub
Ben's Trumpet received a Boston Globe/Horn Book honor book for illustration citation in 1979; Best Book for Spring designation, School Library Journal, 1979; and the Caldecott Honor Book award, 1980
1982 Best Book award, School Library Journal, and ALA notable book citation for The White Stallion, by Elizabeth Shub
1982 Children's Book award, New York Public Library, for City Seen from A to Z
1985 Child Study Association Children's Book of the Year award for I Hear and I See
1986 Child Study Association Children's Book of the Year awards for Flossie and the Fox, by Patricia C. McKissack (which also received a 1987 Horn Book honor list citation) and Cutlass in the Snow, by Elizabeth Shub
1991 ALA Notable Book citation for At the Crossroads
2008 Parent's Choice award for "The Fisherman and His Wife"
2011 Virginia Reader's Choice award for "Hansel and Gretel"
2012 Horn Book award for "Bea at Ballet"
2013 ALA Notable Book award for "Old Mikamba Had a Farm"
2013 100 top Children's Books of the Last 100 Years - New York Public Library includes "Ben's Trumpet"
2015 Kirkus Review - 3 Star Reviews for "I Hear a Pickle"
2016 School Library Journal, Amazon Featured Best Book of Month for January - "I Hear a Pickle"

Work Selection

Alternate Text

After Bakst II

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Faun After Bakst