Celebrating 6 years, Books in Motion® (BIM) is an award-nominated FREE summer literacy program that encourages reading through dancing by focusing on Common Core Standards for Reading Literature for children, K-3rd. After two years of presenting BIM in a digital format due to the pandemic, KDA is proud to work in collaboration with Kern County Library, Kern Literacy Council, and Kern County dance organizations by bringing this beloved program back to an in-person format. Between July 7 – August 12, 2022 families will have the opportunity to visit Kern County library branches to watch 26 dance performance based upon a well-known children’s book, engage in kinesis by learning choreography, and participate in creating a craft that coincides with the book’s theme. At the culmination of the session, children will be divided into groups based upon age/level and posed questions to evaluate their comprehension and will be able to take home a FREE book after participating in the evaluation.

The 6th annual Books in Motion program is made possible through the creative vision of Kern County dance artists.  Eight contracted Kern County dance organizations have been working since the spring to bring books to life through delightful performances and skilled choreography.  The Bakersfield City Ballet, McLaughlin Dance Collective, Spotlight Dance Academy, Spotlight Academy of the Arts, Aloha Entertainment, DAT Krew, DANCENATION, and Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels will all be featured this summer via performances at 15 library locations.

Books in Motion is made possible by generous support from the Robert Grimm Family Foundation, Chevron, Alfred and Virginia Harrell Foundation, Kern Family Health Care, Adventist Health, and 23ABC. 

The 2022 Books in Motion program is FREE and does not require registration.  Attendees are encouraged to arrive early as the library does fill up quickly!

Download the 2022 Books in Motion posters and fliers!

July 7 @ 1:00 pm, Southwest Branch, “Splat the Cat with A Bang and Clang” –  McLaughlin Dance Collective

July 18 @ 1:00 pm, Southwest Branch,  “Cha Cha Chimps” – DanceNation

July 21 @ 1:00 pm, Wilson Branch, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” – Bakersfield City Ballet 

July 25 @ 11:30 am, Beale Branch, “Cha Cha Chimps” – DanceNation

July 26 @ 3:00 pm, Rathbun Branch, “Cha Cha Chimps” – DanceNation

July 27 @ 4:30 pm, Wilson Branch, “Groovicorns” – DAT Krew

August 1 @ 3:00 pm, Mojave Branch, “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 1 @ 3:30 pm, Baker Branch, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” – Bakersfield City Ballet 

August 2 @ 3:00 pm, Rosamond Branch, “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 2 @ 4:30 pm, Tehachapi Branch, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” – Bakersfield City Ballet 

August 3 @ 12:00 pm, Wilson Branch, “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie”- Spotlight Dance Academy 

August 3 @ 4:30 pm, Northeast Branch, “Groovicorns” – DAT Krew

August 3, @ 3:00 pm, California City Branch, “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 4 @ 1:00 pm, Beale Branch, “Splat the Cat with A Bang and Clang” –  McLaughlin Dance Collective

August 4 @ 12:00 pm, Southwest Branch, “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie”- Spotlight Dance Academy 

August 4 @ 4:00 pm, Holloway-Gonzales Branch, “Goodnight Hawaii” – Aloha Entertainment 

August 4 @ 3:00 pm, Ridgecrest Branch, “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 5 @ 11:30 am, Shafter, “Splat the Cat with A Bang and Clang” –  McLaughlin Dance Collective

August 5 @ 12:00 pm, Beale Branch, “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie”- Spotlight Dance Academy 

August 5 @ 3:00 pm, Boron Branch,  “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 8 @ 12:00 pm, Beale Branch, “Rainbow Fish” – Spotlight Academy for the Arts

August 9 @ 12:00 pm, Southwest Branch, “Rainbow Fish” – Spotlight Academy for the Arts

August 10 @ 12:00 pm, WIlson Branch, “Rainbow Fish” – Spotlight Academy for the Arts (En Espanõl)

August 10 @ 4:00 pm, Northeast Branch, “Goodnight Hawaii” – Aloha Entertainment 

August 10 @ @ 4:30, Beale Branch, “Groovicorns” – DAT Krew

August 12 @ 3:30 pm, Delano Branch, “Goodnight Hawaii” – Aloha Entertainment

Bakersfield City Ballet is Bakersfield’s premier pre-professional ballet company. Their mission is to inspire and enrich our community and foster a love for the arts in youth through dance. As a pre-professional company, BCB serves as a stepping stone between studio training and a college dance program or professional contract. Their annual performances provide a live artistic cultural experience for our community, with an emphasis on classical and contemporary styles of dance.  Bakersfield City Ballet  is committed to making dance accessible to the widest possible audience through annual performances, educational programs, media, and other outreach efforts. Bakersfield City Ballet participated in BIM in 2019, 2020, and 2021. www.bakersfieldcityballet.org

DAT Krew Academy is a non-profit dance and performing arts organization located in Bakersfield, Ca founded in 2014 by owner/instructor, Luther Gray and assistant Brushay Taylor. DAT Krew’s mission is to inspire today’s youth through art and expression by providing a healthy, creative and social alternative to gang violence, crime, and addiction worldwide. DAT Krew participated in the 2021 BIM digital performances. www.datkrew661.com

DanceNation offers a variety of classes to all ages and levels. Styles include ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical, musical theater, acrobatics, turns & technique, stretch & conditioning, pointe, choreography, competition team and showteam. DN empowers dancers to explore their creativity, build confidence and advance to their fullest potential in mind, body and spirit. They strive to inspire the future of our studio and community by setting high standards for all faculty, dancers and parents while making life-long friends and families. DANCENATION participated in the 2021 BIM program. www.dancenationca.com

Heather Benes has been creating dance experiences in East Kern and the Antelope Valley since 1985, when she directed a full length Nutcracker ballet for Cerro Coso Community College. She opened Mojave Movement Arts Center in 1993, offering classes in ballet, jazz, and tap for students from Ridgecrest to Pearblossom. She also directed the dance program at the Palmdale Playhouse from 1999 to 2018, creating such works as The Snow Queen, Hansel and Gretel, The Pied Piper, Little Red Riding Hood, and several abridged versions of the Nutcracker. She earned an M.A. and an M.S. and has taught dance and dance-related subjects at a number of colleges and universities, including California State University, California, University of Kansas, University of California, Irvine, and Scripps College. Currently, she teaches ballet at the OneCore Dance Studio in Rosamond and at the Palmdale Playhouse. Ms. Benes has been a

member of KDA for 6 year. Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels have participated in BIM performances since 2017.

McLaughlin Dance Collective started as a way to guide Bakersfield dancers towards their dreams, give them an opportunity to share their gifts with their community, and bring joy to Kern County through community events. They have been a part of Kern Dance Alliance’s Books in Motion for two years in collaboration with Civic Dance Center and performed as a guest artist for Ballet California in their Bravo show. Under the direction of Kristen McLaughlin and assistant director Jenai Wilcox, this community company is adding new and exciting events to their 2022-2023 season so join the mailing list at mclaughlindancecollective.com.  The company’s Books in Motion dancers this year have trained at Civic Dance Center

Aloha Entertainment by Polynesian Spice is a family owned and operated group that has been bringing island entertainment to Bakersfield for over 20 years. Their mission is to share their appreciation and love of the culture, songs, and dances of the Pacific Islands. As a halau (Hawaiian dance school) comprised of family (ohana) and Polynesians at heart, their goal is to preserve and exhibit the authenticity of the Hawaiian culture and dance by sharing their Aloha Spirit throughout the community. They offer classes for all ages. They hope you will join them for a culturally educational experience and a fun way to exercise! Aloha Entertainment by Polynesian Spice has enjoyed participating in BIM since 2020. www.alohaentertainmentps.com

Ever since its grand opening in 2011, Spotlight Dance Academy’s main goal has been to provide quality dance education and a positive outlet at an affordable cost for the youth of Kern County. 

Now in its 11th year and proudly a subdivision of a full performing and visual arts school, Spotlight Academy of the Arts, SDA offers an expanded curriculum and takes pride in setting the bar high for our students in order to help them achieve their personal goals in the performing arts. Spotlight Dance Academy participated in the 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 Books in Motion performances.


Spotlight Academy of the Arts is Kern County’s premier performing and visual arts school offering classes in all areas of the arts including dance, theatre, voice, music, photography, video production, graphic design, on-camera training, and more. 

Spotlight’s signature program “The Triple Threat Program” offers students industry-style, technique-focused instruction in the three pillars of the performing arts: singing, dancing, and acting, as well as proper education on how to become a well-rounded performer. 


Our goals are to help our students grow as performers, enhance their natural talents, build confidence while encouraging individuality, and nurture their dreams and ambitions in the arts, whether it’s excelling in their school programs, auditioning for a local show, getting into their dream college, or even having a career in Hollywood or Broadway.

With a new education building, an expanded curriculum, and over a decade of experience of serving the youth of Kern County through the arts, husband and wife directing team Sharida Rejon-Rodriguez and Bertin Rodriguez strive to train and mentor the next generation of performers and creators.


To officially kick off Books in Motion this summer, New York City Ballet principal dancer and Bakersfield native, Tiler Peck, will visit Bakersfield’s Beale Memorial Library on June 22 @ 1:00 pm for a live reading of her second book “Katarina Ballerina and the Victory Dance”.  Accompanied by her co-author, Kyle Harris (Broadway, film and television star), Ms. Peck and Mr. Harris will provide a live reading of their book, participate in a mini dance lesson, a Q&A session, and an autograph signing.  Free Katarina Ballerina books donated by publisher, Simon and Schuster, will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis for attendees.

Have you enjoyed a Books in Motion event this summer?  We invite you to take our 2-minute survey to tell us how we did!

Click the buttons below featuring the book you experienced to be taken to your survey!

Books in Motion features story-telling, performance, choreography, and crafting.

Story-telling + Performance – Children will listen to the narration of a children’s book while viewing an accompanying dance performance.

Dance – Children learn/perform choreography in an injury-free, nurturing environment from dancers based upon the Books in Motion text. Kinesthetic learning, attitude, and confidence are emphasized during the class.

Small Group Crafting – Children create crafts corresponding to the Books in Motion text. Children and guardians are encouraged to work together, producing a creative product reflecting the session’s teachings.

Evaluation– Children are prompted to answer questions via critical thinking about the Books in Motion text reflecting the Common Core Standards for Reading Literature. 

Learning how to read begins at birth and continues through 3rd grade.  Once a child enters 4th grade, studies show that those that are not proficient readers will find difficulty in adjusting to complicated English, Grammar, and Literature applications.  Children begin to read by learning the sounds of spoken word.  They begin to understand written language when they are read to, and their comprehension of reading and writing is increased upon entering a formalized education (K-3rd).

Studies also show that not every child learns at the same pace, nor in the same manner; therefore, offering multiple ways to grasp educational applications is necessary for the growth of every child.  Books in Motion will provide a visual, aural, verbal, and physical (kinesis) opportunity to engage in literacy. By utilizing kinesis, movement and action replaces more passive forms of learning, such as listening to a lecture. We have all forgotten facts once memorized in a classroom, but we seem to be able to remember dance moves we once learned. By connecting the different ways in which we learn, Books in Motion enables effective understanding and retention of information in addition to infusing abstract literacy concepts with a physical meaning. Because movement allows a student an alternative approach to the information, students learn when they are receptive.

Locally, only 28% of Kern County 3rd graders meet or exceed grade level standards for English Language Arts (Ca Assessment of Student Performance and Progress 2014-15). 15% of Kern County adults have not attained a 9th grade literacy level (US Census Bureau, 2010). 13.9% of Kern County adults lack the basic literacy skills necessary to perform daily job functions (US Census Bureau, 2010), and 16.2% Kern County adults over 25 years are high school dropouts (CA. Dept. of Education, 2014).   Books in Motion was conceived to assist in combatting these dismal numbers. Providing a free, hands-on, innovative approach to assisting children with their literacy journey is the main objective.  According to the Kern Literacy Council, one of the top factors for predicting school success for students is to increase the number of spoken words for children in early childhood.  Books in Motion celebrates the opportunity to increase accessibility to literacy and the arts, while also focusing on the 34% of Kern County residents that do not have an income sufficient to meet basic needs and whose children growing up in these low-income households hear approximately 30 million fewer words by the time they reach their fourth birthday (Report on the Status of Women + Girls in Kern County 2015).

Books in Motion is geared for children in the early literacy stages (K-3rd grade) and is designed to tap into their imagination and encourage them to read. For some, reading is a concept that is too foreign to understand due to age and brain development. Books in Motion will bypass this intangible feeling by allowing children to see the magic of a book laid out with real characters coming to life. Children do not have to read the words – they can read the dancers’ movements to understand the story. By tapping into curiosity, children are motivated to explore literacy, which leads them back to the written words that brought the book to life. Books in Motion has reached over 6000 children and has given away nearly 3000 free books since 2017. 

  1. Create motivation and interest in reading- The Books in Motion bibliography taps into curiosity via dance performances. . . children will be motivated to explore literacy, which leads them back to the written words that brought the book to life.
  2. Create motivation and encouragement for movement through dance – Children learn choreography to reinforce their critical thinking of the story.
  3. Cover Common Core State Standards in Reading Literature for grades K-3rd grade- Books in Motion text covers Common Core Standards for Reading Literature including but not limited to: Ask questions to demonstrate understanding of a text; recount stories from diverse cultures; determine the central message and explain how it is conveyed through key details; describe characters in a story and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
  4. Instill a sense of connection and ownership of reading through listening and viewing of stories- Children dance choreography corresponding with the Books in Motion text. Children produce art reflecting the session’s teachings. Children take a free Books in Motion book home.
  5. Foster creative abilities of youth through cultural arts learning- Books in Motion supports literacy development through unified thematic experiences of dance, crafting, and story-telling.
  6. Activate Youth Voices- Books in Motion actives youth voices during the craft session with children speaking about the book and creating a craft that coincides with the session’s teachings.
  7. Critical Thinking- The Books in Motion evaluation promotes critical thinking by asking questions about the book.

Books in Motion is FREE to all participants and is made possible by generous donations from our community. You can help others to participate in Books in Motion by becoming a donor:

  • $100 affords craft supplies for one Books in Motion session
  • $850 affords one Books in Motion Dance Organization Honorarium
  • $1000 affords craft sessions for an entire summer of Books in Motion
  • $6,000 affords free books for one Books in Motion session
  • $18,000 affords an entire summer of Books in Motion

Looking for previous Books in Motion performance?  Visit our YouTube page for a complete listing of shows! 

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