by Misty Copeland
Illustrated by Christopher Myers
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group
36 pages, Illustrated
Book Review by Kam Williams
“With spare, poignant text, American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland writes of a young dancer whose confidence is fragile. Through hard work and dedication, Misty shows her how she can reach the same heights as Misty, even becoming the Firebird, Misty Copeland’s signature role.
An affecting story echoing Misty Copeland’s own remarkable and meteoric rise in ballet, paired with vibrant, memorable art with plenty of style and flair—a must-have for any lover of ballet.”
— Excerpted from the Bookjacket
Misty Copeland has undeniably arrived. First, this force to be reckoned overcame poverty and being a minority en route to earning a coveted spot as a prima ballerina in the prestigious American Ballet Company. She subsequently went on to write a best-selling memoir ostensibly designed to inspire others from humble backgrounds to pursue their own seemingly-unreachable dreams.
More recently, Misty was not only the subject of a feature story on CBS’ 60 Minutes, but she also landed on the cover of Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.Obviously, this is a woman with much more to share than dancing on her tippy toes.
For these purposes, the subject of discussion is her latest opus, Firebird, a delightful picture book appropriate for aspiring ballerinas up to about the age of 8. Dazzlingly-illustrated by Caldecott Medal-nominee Christopher Myers, the enchanting tale is basically a poetic pep talk delivered by Misty in heartfelt fashion to a promising protege plagued with self doubt.
Misty’s points out that she herself was once “a dancer just like you… a dreaming shooting star of a girl with work and worlds ahead.” And in a telling postscript for the parents she explains how it isw her aim “to pave a more definitive path than the one that was there for me.”
A modern Horatio Alger parable with the perfect prescription for motivating many a rug rat to find their voice and spread their wings.