Misty Copeland has made her mark on the world as an accomplished ballerina, in fact, the first African American soloist in 20 years to work with the American Ballet Theater. On her way to stardom, she faced hardship and pushback. This year, she became the author of Firebird, illustrated by Christopher Myers, meant to inspire other young dancers who may be discouraged in their artistic studies.
The text is a poetic exchange between a young girl and Misty, the girl expressing frustration in her work and abilities, envying Misty’s roles on stage. Misty replies by explaining all of the har d work, sweat, and tears she had to put in, and that there was so much progress she had to make and can still make to be the best artist she can be. The story is uplifting for any range of young dancers, but especially those who may not have been born with the features and natural abilities that are typical of principal ballerinas.
Myers’ illustrations bring the story to life with movement and color popping from the page. His use of collage to make patterned backgrounds, underneath painted dancers creates contrast and interest that could hold anyone’s attention.
Whether you have a child in dance, musical theater, art, soccer, lacrosse, or any other activities feeling discouraged, pull out Copeland’s piece of poetry for an uplifting afternoon.