Black Ballerinas by Misty Copeland

Back in 2015, we did a series of review posts of picture books about black ballerinas.

Imagine our delight when we discovered the middle grade collection of biographies, Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy by superstar ballerina Misty Copeland and illustrated by Salena Barnes.


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Unlike most nonfiction biography collections, Misty Copeland’s approach is a very personal one. Told in the first person, each biography reflects how twenty-five different black ballerinas have influenced her career (“My Journey” in the title). In many ways it is Misty Copeland’s memoir.

Misty Copeland didn’t have a lot of exposure to ballet or prominent black dancers as a child. She was in her late teens when she saw black ballerina Lauren Anderson on a magazine cover for the first time. Seeing Lauren  inspired Misty and showed her that she wasn’t alone, that her dream to be a ballerina wasn’t impossible. Black Ballerinas was conceived to allow other youngsters see themselves as dancers.

The illustrations by Salena Barnes are equally inspiring. She captures the motion, the grace, and the magic of ballet on the page, while at the same time revealing the unique person who is the ballerina. Gorgeous! Beautiful! Breathtaking!

Black Ballerinas is a must have for young black dancers and aspiring ballerinas, but also would be lovely for anyone interested in music and dance to enjoy.

Related:

You can see more about Misty and the book in this interview:

Wise words to live by:  “Be open to guidance and advice. ”

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 10 years and up
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Aladdin (November 2, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1534474242
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1534474246

#Nonfiction Monday STEM for Pride Month

Today we have a children’s book for Pride Month, STEM by Emilie Dufresne and designed by Danielle Rippengill.

Meet ten people from across the LGBTQIA+ community who have made an impact in STEM fields, from Polly Arnold, who is a chemist at Berkley to Alan Turing, a mathematician who was code breaker during WWII and did early work with computers.

The introduction explains the definitions of certain words, like what does it mean to have pride and what the letters LGBTQIA+ stand for.  There is a frank discussion of the differences between sex and gender. The back matter includes tips for being an ally, an extensive glossary, and an index.

STEM helps us remember being inclusive is important. When students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, they are more likely to  pursue STEM careers. STEM is also an easy-to-read introduction for those who want to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community and being an ally — regardless of age.

About the Author and Publisher:

Emilie Dufresne Is a French-Canadian writer and poet who has written a variety of children’s books. Danielle Rippengill is a designer from the UK. Children’s publisher Booklife is also from the UK.

 

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 7 – 9 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Booklife (June 1, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1839270829
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1839270826

Disclosure: The book was provided digitally by the publisher for review purposes. 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.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#Nonfiction Monday Girl Warriors: How 25 Young Activists Are Saving the Earth

Are you an advocate for any causes? I am an advocate for children’s books, and more specifically the middle grade title  Girl Warriors: How 25 Young Activists Are Saving the Earth by Rachel Sarah.

In this book you will meet 25 girls and young women under the age of 25 who have decided to speak up for the Earth and for themselves. Eloquent and innovative, they hope to change minds and make a difference.

Young women like:

Daphne Frias in West Harlem, New York City describes herself as “an un-apologetically fierce Latina, who is proudly disabled,” and is currently in medical school.
Maya Penn in Atlanta, Georgia who is an eco-fashion designer, animator, producer and TED speaker.  Here she explains how even the dyes used to color fabric can harm the environment.

Although this video is from 2014, you can see on her Mayas Ideas 4 the Planet website that Maya is still incredibly active helping people and the Earth.

Malaika Vaz in Goa, India who is a National Geographic Explorer and filmmaker.
Vanessa Nakate in Uganda, Africa who founded the @TheRiseUpMovem1 and has been building solar-powered schools in Kampala.

Chicago Review Press books are all about getting hands on. If the stories  of these girls and young women inspire you, delve into the four pages of resources in the back matter to find out where you can make a difference, too.

Rachel Sarah is trained as a journalist, which shows in her clean and unobtrusive writing. She has gleaned personal details on each of the young women, making each of them stand out as memorable individuals.

Girl Warriors is an exciting book for young readers interested in activism and making a difference. Get inspired by a copy today!

Related:

Although there are many, many ways to make a difference, I am going to suggest considering the Green Bridges™ program from the Herb Society of America. Their goals are to create patches of native plant gardens across communities to:

  • help alleviate the problems caused by habitat loss and fragmentation
  • help protect nearby natural areas
  • remove or contain invasive species
  • provide food and shelter for local pollinators and other wildlife

 

Researching and choosing to plant responsibly-grown native plants can make a difference!

Side note:  Rachel Sarah and I are both members of STEAMteam books and our books released on the same day, April 6, 2021.

 

Reading age : 9 – 12 years
Publisher : Chicago Review Press (April 6, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1641603712
ISBN-13 : 978-1641603713

 

Disclosure: The book was provided digitally for review purposes. 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.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#Nonfiction Monday Young, Gifted and Black

Let’s explore some more of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that were nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson and illustrated by Andrea Pippinsis is a middle grade title that celebrates the lives of visionaries who also happen to be people of color.

Author Jamia Wilson has gathered the stories of 52 amazing people and condensed them into must-read single page summaries. Readers will learn about astronauts, athletes, entertainers, mathematicians, poets, and a president.

Although Wilson celebrates each person’s triumphs, she also doesn’t shy away from each person’s struggles. For example, both Stevie Wonder and Sidney Poitier were born prematurely, which caused Stevie Wonder to lose his sight. Madame C. J. Walker lost her parents when she was seven. When children read how others overcame challenges to become successful, hopefully they will be inspired to keep trying and dream big for themselves, too.

Andrea Pippinsis’s illustrations are so vibrant. They capture the energy and vitality of these strong personalities with bold lines and shapes that suggest movement.

The back matter includes a “Hall of Fame” with a photograph (or illustration if predated cameras) of each person in a colorful frame. It is mesmerizing. I found myself returning to it again and again.

Young, Gifted and Black is a perfect choice for both Black and Women’s History Months. Pick up a copy and inspire a child today.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions (February 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1786031582
ISBN-13: 978-1786031587

Disclosure: The book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. 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.

nonfictionmonday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.