cover image Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins

Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins

Michelle Meadows, illus. by Ebony Glenn. Holt, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-250-12773-0

Writing in gentle verse that calls to mind “This Is the House that Jack Built,” Meadows introduces Janet Collins, a New Orleans-born ballerina who pursued dance in the 1930s and ’40s. With her family’s support, Collins perseveres despite being told to lighten her dark skin: “This is the girl/ with a broken heart./ But she bounced right back/ and made a new start.” Glenn illustrates in warm yet muted digital art; dynamic spreads show Collins dancing in a red flamenco dress to the sounds of a jazz ensemble. In a final spread, Collins dances at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1951—becoming the first African-American prima ballerina to do so. Meadows offers readers an affectionate biographical story that emphasizes her subject’s passion and determination. Ages 4–8. [em](Jan.) [/em]