Firebird

Covermisty-copeland-435x580

Written by Misty Copeland, Illustrated by Christopher Myers

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014

The space between you and me is longer than forever

What made this author famous?  Misty Copeland is an accomplished ballerina and soloist with the American Ballet Theater.

A young aspiring ballerina compares herself to her idol and feels that she comes up short. But the ballerina she admires tells her that she started from the same place and that before all of the acclaim she has today, she was a young girl with a dream. She recalls the hours of practice that helped her learn to dance and encourages the girl to follow her dream. She tells the young dancer that in addition to being a dancer, she will be a role model for other young girls just like her and help them see that no dream is out of reach.

Author Misty Copeland draws on her own inspirational life story in this book that beautifully encourages other girls to be as unafraid as she was. She didn’t begin ballet classes until the age of 13, which is later than most professional dancers started. But she developed a real passion for dance and worked hard to be successful, becoming one of only three African American soloists in the history of the American Ballet Theater. A note in the back of the book addresses the reader and encourages them to follow their dreams.

I imagine lots of aspiring young dancers imagine themselves into this picture to dance with Misty.

I imagine lots of aspiring young dancers imagine themselves into this picture to dance with Misty.

Christopher Myers’ collage artwork sets the story’s young ballerina in a variety of environments, in and around New York City. I love the way that the pictures connect Ms. Copeland’s dancing to other dancers, as though demonstrating how her success paves the way for the young girls who follow her same path. A photograph in the back of the book shows Ms. Copeland in her first lead role in The Firebird. I’d call this one a must for anyone interested in ballet and an excellent choice for anyone with a dream.

And what did we learn?  What I take away from this book is that one of the best parts of success is helping others achieve it as well.

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