Capoeira: Dance, Game, Martial Art

Book, Dance, Hispanic & Latino, Play

Capoeira: Dance, Game, Martial Art

By: George Ancona 
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, 2007
Age Level: 9-12
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-58430-268-1


It’s a game! It’s a dance! It’s a martial art! It’s a way of expressing yourself through acrobatic movements and pounding, rhythmic music!

Come share the fun of capoeria with the students at Mandinga Academy in Oakland, California. Learn the basics moves. Cheer on the players as they fly through the air attacking, defending, and trying to trick their opponents. Join the applause when a skillful, graceful move is made.

From its historic beginnings in Brazil to today’s academies, capoeira is quickly becoming a worldwide phenomenon.




  • 2008 Américas Award Commended Title
  • Selected by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for “Choices”, their annual 2008 Best of The Year List.
  • Chosen by The Children’s Book Committee of The Bank Street College of Education for The Best Children’s Books of the Year List. 


“Here’s a vibrant introduction to a martial art that is playful, yet demanding. The photographs of the kids are wonderful.”
March/April issue of Yellow Brick Road, a print newsletter for parents, teachers, and librarians

“The most playful of the martial arts takes a star turn in this excellent photo essay done by a master of the genre. The history of capoeira is told succinctly in several pages with accompanying map, an antique print and several sepia-ink-and-wash sketches, but it is the vivid photos filled with diverse young people in today’s Brazil and the U.S. that really grip the imagination.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Full-color photos and lively text introduce a sport that combines dance, music, and acrobatics with fighting techniques. Action-packed pictures of capoeiristas, ‘people who play capoeira’ in both the United States and Brazil make this an eye-catching title. Ancona explains the basics of the game before delving into its history. Capoeira was developed by African slaves in Brazil. Short biographies of the two founders of the sport are presented before returning to photographs that show some of the differences in styles of play. Participants represent a wide range of ages and ethnicities, reflecting the game’s multicultural heritage. A glossary offers pronunciations and definitions of Portuguese words. An excellent purchase for libraries that serve Brazilian populations or communities in which martial arts are popular.”
Starred Review from School Library Journal

“Ancona’s photos give a sense of the complex, cartwheeling grace of its movements, and his enthusiasm and awe for his subject is contagious.”