In Firebird, ballerina Misty Copeland shows a young girl how to dance like the firebird.
Copeland, who is an American Ballet Theatre soloist, writes to a young dance with fragile confidence. She encourages the young girl that through hard work and determination, she too can reach the same highs Copeland has in her career.
Without punctuation, the lyrical text flows as Misty reveals that she was also a shy child unsure of where she fit in, but that she discovered her true self through dance.
Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers contribute stunning art to this story. From the photos below you can how see his collage-style art complements the inspiring story.
“The space between you and me is longer than forever
and I will show them that forever is not so far away.”
The story concludes with Copeland’s letter to the reader. When she was younger and just starting out, all the ballerinas she saw fit a stereotype that was not reflective of her. She wants everyone to feel empowered to be what they want to be, to know that they have endless dreams that are reachable (Copeland).
What an inspiring read! I loved reading this book primarily because the artwork was so powerful and vivid. It contributes so much to the feeling of the story at different stages during the young girl’s discovery of ballet. The story itself is culturally generic and focuses on a multicultural audience while still emphasizing universal themes of achieving your goals by believing in yourself and working hard.
Copeland is the perfect cultural insider to provide this unique perspective when it comes to aspiring dancers. She also conveys a sincere level of honesty when she reminisces on the many times she struggled while learning ballet: “sweating at the barre, I had a thousand leaps and falls” (Copeland). This book would be a wonderful asset to young dancers and readers from multicultural backgrounds who can look up to Copeland as proof that they can also reach their goals and be a strong and fierce as the Firebird.
This post concludes my five-part series highlighting multicultural children’s literature. Thank you so much for following along and allowing me to share some of these special stories with you.