Many of the artists and performances of our 2017-18 season have sparked interesting and fun books or have been inspired by books themselves. If you’re looking for some good summer reading for yourself or for your children or if you’re just looking to learn more about some of the artists on our season, take a look at the curated list below.

Stay tuned: Ovations Offstage is hosting a series of performance related book groups this season. Check our website regularly for updates and more information.

Hamilton: The Revolution
(Leslie Odom Jr.)
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject: the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States.

Nine other books to read if you’re obsessed with Hamilton

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My Son, Yo-Yo
(Yo-Yo Ma)
This is the compelling story of the life of internationally acclaimed cello virtuoso, Yo-Yo Ma, from the cradle to his entering Harvard University at the age of 17. It is told by his mother and written by Dr. John A. Rallo.

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Deconstructing Dirty Dancing
(Dirty Dancing)
Renowned film critic Roger Ebert said Dirty Dancing “might have been a decent movie if it had allowed itself to be about anything.” In this broadly researched and accessible text, Stephen Lee Naish sets out to deconstruct and unlock a film that has haunted him for decades, and argues that Dirty Dancing, the 1987 sleeper hit about a young middle-class girl who falls for a handsome working-class dance instructor, is actually about everything.

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Cinderella: The Ultimate Collection
(Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella)
Cinderella is one of the most often-told stories and here’s a book to prove it. This collection holds versions from every culture and every corner of the world—with 29 different versions of Cinderella.

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Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
(Jersey Boys)
Everyone knows their songs. Few know their story. Named for a bowling alley that refused to book them, The Four Seasons—Frankie, Tommy, Bob, and Nick—were four high school dropouts who emerged from New Jersey to become true American Idols: one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. With a shiny doo-wop sound highlighted by lead singer Frankie Valli’s stratospheric falsetto, they sold 175 million records worldwide—all before they were thirty.

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Music, Modernity and Global Imaginations: South Africa and the West
(Ladysmith Black Mambazo)
How was Africa seen by the West during the colonial period? How do Europeans and Americans conceive of Africa in today’s postcolonial era? Such questions have preoccupied anthropologists, historians, and literary scholars for years. But few have asked the reverse: how did—and do—Africans see Europe and the United States? Fewer still have wondered how Western images of Africa and African representations of the West might mirror one another.

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Titles that connect directly to our School Time Performance Series next year, as well as to fostering the great love we all share for the performing arts include:

Charlotte’s Web
(Charlotte’s Web)
This beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children’s literature that is “just about perfect.”

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Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White
(Charlotte’s Web)
Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell the story of this American literary icon. Readers young and old will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute, a New York Times bestseller, includes an afterword by Martha White, his granddaughter.

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To Kill A Mockingbird
(Literature to Life: To Kill a Mockingbird)
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbirdbecame both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

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Dancing in the Wings
(Ovations’ Dance Series)
This title is not directly related to a School-Time Performance but instead is a nice preface for your young ones to get inspired by dance.
Sassy is a long-legged girl who always has something to say. She wants to be a ballerina more than anything, but she worries that her too-large feet, too-long legs, and even her big mouth will keep her from her dream. When a famous director comes to visit her class, Sassy does her best to get his attention with her high jumps and bright leotard. Her first attempts are definitely not appreciated, but with Sassy’s persistence, she just might be able to win him over. Dancing in the Wings is loosely based on actress/choreographer Debbie Allen’s own experiences as a young dancer.

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Dear Miss Breed
(Living Voices: Within the Silence)
A chronicle of the incredible correspondence between California librarian Clara Breed and young Japanese American internees during World War II.

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Un-American
(Living Voices: Within the Silence)
In this unique, richly produced volume, they showcase 170 magnificent black-and-white pictures accompanied by an exceptionally illuminating narrative to tell the staggering stories of the resilient, courageous people Lange and others so sensitively photographed. Cahan and Williams even tracked down survivors, who share haunting memories. The result is an intensely revelatory and profoundly resonant book of beauty and strength, history and caution.

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Guess How Much I Love You
(Guess How Much I Love You & I Love My Little Storybook)
“Guess how much I love you,” says Little Nutbrown Hare. Little Nutbrown Hare shows his daddy how much he loves him: as wide as he can reach and as far as he can hop. But Big Nutbrown Hare, who can reach farther and hop higher, loves him back just as much. Well then Little Nutbrown Hare loves him right up to the moon, but that’s just halfway to Big Nutbrown Hare’s love for him.

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I Love My Little Storybook
(Guess How Much I Love You & I Love My Little Storybook)
An eager little bunny lies on the grass and opens his book, and within moments, the story he’s reading comes alive in fascinating detail. As the bunny reads on—lazing back against a tree root—Anita Jeram quietly ushers children inside the pages of a fanciful story. Exquisite watercolors capture a classic storybook world of enchanted forests, gentle lions, stomping giants, and sleeping princesses, offering just a glimpse of the any adventures waiting to be discovered through the magic of books.

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Have you read any of these titles? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments section.

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Sarah Prak

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