Vampirina Ballerina

Written by:Anne Marie Pace

Illustrated by:LeUyen Pham

Before Reading

When thinking about ballerinas, vampires aren't exactly the first thing that come to mind but in this charming story, Vampirina is determined to learn how to dance gracefully just like every other student in her ballet class (despite their skeptical looks). Take a moment to look over the cover with your little one before beginning the story. Talk about the author and illustrator, and what each contributes to the story. Say "The author, Countess Anne Marie Pace, was the one who came up with the story and the words in the book. The illustrator, Mistress of the Night, LeUyen Pham, created all of the beautiful pictures to go along with Pace's story!" Then continue on flipping through the book and asking some preliminary questions before you dive in! Ask questions like:

What do you notice on the cover?

How do you think Vampirina is different from other ballerinas?

What do you think will happen in this story?

{Flip to an illustration} What do you see in this picture? What do you think is happening in this part of the story?


Activate Prior Knowledge

What does your child know about vampires? That they have fangs? They can turn into bats? They have no reflection? There are many characteristics that people attribute to vampires so see what your child already thinks. Does s/he know any other stories about vampires? What about ballerinas? Does s/he know any ballet moves? Have him/her bust out a couple of moves before you get started to get loose and warmed up.

As You Read

Build Language

There is some ballet lingo like "arabesque" and "fifth position" that your little one may or may not be familiar with (you may not be either) but you can look them up here if you're feeling curious and your little one wants to try them out as you read. Getting moving as you read can keep your child engaged and acting as an active participant in the reading.



Monitor Comprehension

Discuss different aspects in the story including character motivations and how different parts of the story are related. Ask questions like "Why do you think Vampirina is going to an evening class? Do you remember your first day of __________? How did you feel? How do you think Vampirina is feeling on her first day of ballet class?" Also be sure to point different things out in the illustrations. For example, when Vampirina is practicing in her home, you can see all of the different rooms she practices in and how all of her family members help her as she goes so talk to your child about what s/he sees in these illustrations.

After Reading

Make Connections

Help your child look at the story as a whole once you've completed your read-through by asking/discussing questions like:

Did you like that story? What happened in it?

How do the girls in Vampirina's dance class feel about her in the beginning of the story? How do you know this? What about at the end? Why?

How does her family help her practice?


Discuss the following quote as well:

"A true ballerina is always on pointe"- Madame

Talk about how s/he has to work hard at everything they do so that they can get better, just like Vampirina. It may be helpful to highlight an instance in your life when you worked hard and were able to persevere because of it.

Extending the Story

Magical Creature Matchup


If vampires can be ballerinas, who says other magical beings can't do other fun things as well! Take this list of magical beings and fun roles and mix and match them as you please. It could be something silly like a dragon firefighter or a piano playing unicorn! Have your child illustrate what each of these pairings would look like and then discuss how each being would be good or bad at each task! You can even come up with your own story if you'd like, and try incorporating new vocabulary words as you go along. You can obviously add to this list if you'd like but here are just a few ideas to get you started!

Magical Beings









Soccer player


Hair stylist




Check This Out

Anne Marie Pace, the author of Vampirina Ballerina, has an online journal that she keeps and here is a post about how little girls all over were dressing up as Vampirina for Halloween. Maybe you'll find some inspiration for next Halloween!