It’s been a big year for ballerina Misty Copeland, as you can see in the news stories below:
When discussing the news, NPR replayed an interview with Ms. Copeland, which you can listen to here:
Among other things, the interview discussed the ballerina’s picture book, Firebird.
Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers (winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for 2015).
Here are a few more books that feature Black ballerinas:
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, pictures by Caroline Birch
Grace loves playing pretend, but she’s not sure whether to try out for the role of Peter Pan because her classmates tell her, “You can’t be Peter– that’s a boy’s name” and “He isn’t black.” Her grandmother encourages her by taking her to see a performance of Romeo and Juliet featuring a ballerina from Trinidad.
Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince ; illustrated by Frank Morrison.
“At the age of three, Michaela DePrince found a photo of a ballerina that changed her life. She was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone at the time, but was soon adopted by a family and brought to America. Michaela never forgot the photo of the dancer she once saw, and quickly decided to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true.”–Amazon.com.
Beautiful Ballerina by Marilyn Nelson, photographs by Susan Kuklin
Poetic language is paired with photos of students at the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
A young girl growing up in Harlem in the 1950s, whose mother cleans and stitches costumes for a ballet company, dreams of becoming a prima ballerina one day, and is thrilled to see a performance of Janet Collins, the first “colored” prima ballerina. This title is one of the nominees for the Monarch award in 2016.
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen, pictures by Kadir Nelson
Sassy dances in the wings until she tries out for a summer dance festival and gets to dance on stage.