Breaking to the Beat!

Breaking to the Beat!
Co-Authors / Illustrators
  • Frank Morrison
Publisher Name
Lee & Low Books
Age Range
Release Date
May 30, 2023
A boogie-down picture book about a shy boy named Manolo who overcomes his fears and insecurities to become part of a new innovative dance style called breaking.
Step back, step back!
Kid Flex 'bout to bust a move.
In the 1970s, many said the Bronx was just a pile of rubble, but for a shy kid like Manolo, it was alive with rhythm and music. He grew up with salsa dance parties at home and DJs battling on turntables on the street. Inspired by these new beats and the moves of James Brown, neighborhood boys and girls started dancing with a mix of twists, slides, and shuffles. The rhythm of the Toprock. Drop of the Six-step. Wiggle of the Worm. A new dance style called breaking was on the rise, and Manolo wanted to be a part of it.

Debut author Linda J. Acevedo was inspired to write this story from the many b-boys and b-girls whose love of dance propelled them to create an innovative and groundbreaking new form of dance. Coupled with award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison's sinuous and pulsating art, Breaking to the Beat! is an energizing ode to the Boogie Down Bronx and to Hip Hop--a movement that would forever change the course of music, art, and culture.

Editor review

1 review
Rise of Break Dancing
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Breaking to the Beat encapsulates the history and the context around the rise of break-dancing in American culture. This is a timely book as it hits bookstores and libraries just before breaking makes its Olympic debut in Paris 2024. Our character Manolo is a composite of the experience of the dancers in the Bronx in the 1970s. The illustrations perfectly match the vibe of a chaotic urban landscape where the ones left behind take their minds off their troubles by having dance-offs and inventing new moves to impress their onlookers. Often misunderstood as violence and running the risk of police intervention these dance-offs caught outside attention and made their way to movies where they gained popularity in mainstream culture. This story is based on true events told with a semi-fictional character and gives a good background to the evolution of this dance style. The author does a nice job of explaining the context, terms, and evolution of break dancing making it easy for beginners while setting a tone of awe and respect for the craft. Overall, this was an informative read presented in an interesting way that passes the vibe check.
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