Children’s Books About African-American Ballerinas: Misty Copeland

Today we are featuring ballet phenomenon Misty Copeland.

Misty Copeland has been in the news lately. She was the first African-American woman to become a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. In April she was on the cover of Time magazine as one of its 100 Most Influential People. This week she makes her debut in the Broadway musical One the Town. She is turning heads wherever she goes. On top of that, she has become an author by recently publishing a memoir and a children’s book.

Misty Copeland’s picture book Firebird (illustrated by Christopher Myers) is the story of a hesitant young dancer who, with practice, finds that she too can soar like a firebird.

Misty Copeland writes that the book is her way of giving back to those that helped her make her dreams come true and also to inspire future artists to pursue their passions. She dedicates the book to her mentor Raven Wilkinson, a ballet dancer who during the 1950’s was forced to wear white makeup and lie about her race in order to perform.

If you have a few minutes, this video from CBS reveals some of the highlights of Misty Copeland’s life. Interestingly, it was her performance in the Firebird that almost ended her career.

 Firebird is not just for dancers, but is an inspirational book that shows hard work, dedication and passion can let any child reach seemingly impossible heights.


Read more in a post written by Misty at Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 4, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0399166157
ISBN-13: 978-0399166150

Disclosure: This book was from the library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Visit our other posts about Children’s Books Celebrating African-American Ballerinas:

Monday:  Michaela DePrince

Tuesday:  Misty Copeland

Wednesday:  Debbie Allen

Thursday:  Janet Collins

Friday:  Beautiful (African-American) Ballerina


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