Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers
Wow! Misty Copeland, soloist at American Ballet Theatre, is only their second African-American soloist in their history and the first in more than 20 years. Here she writes her debut picture book and through it encourages other young dancers of color. Lest you think this is a book just for dancers, it is not. It is for anyone who needs to hear a voice of success speak about how important dedication and hard work is to creating that success. Copeland tells it all in poetry that soars and dances just as she does. This is a beautiful book of inspiration that reaches far beyond dance.
Copeland’s verse is exceptional. It is hard to believe that poetry with this much control and beauty comes from someone who has not written many books. It is shining verse that lifts the reader up and invites them to leap across the page along with Copeland. She weaves lovely metaphors throughout her words, “stitching worn-out slippers, swift as applause” is one of my favorites and it is just as vivid and unique as Copeland herself.
Myers art is a lush mix of media that is just as radiant as the verse. The pages are filled with Copeland and young African-American dancers who fly across the pages. Myers creates motion on the page with his strips of paper that frame as well as enliven the illustrations.
A magnificent picture book for young dancers that will inspire them to see joy in dance and also to understand the dedication it will take to be a success. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from copy received from Putnam.