cover image Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy

Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy

Misty Copeland, illus. by Salena Barnes. Aladdin, $19.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-5344-7424-6

Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre, reveals her own path to greatness and spotlights inspiring Black dancers—who often served as her mentors—in this mesmeric combination of memoir and biography. Each spread features a dense page of text on the recto beneath the dancer’s name, with one of Barnes’s elegant, full-page illustrations on the verso, presenting each dancer in a striking, graceful position against neutral-colored backgrounds, accented by a gentle wash of watercolor and a quote. Copeland relays memories, struggles, and factoids in honest, accessible prose: “I understand those struggles. I spent the first decade of my career with ABT as the only Black woman, yearning for a sister to share my experience on what is so often a lonely road for Black ballerinas.” A valuable tome for fans of Copeland, ballet, or those interested in history books spotlighting Black women luminaries. Ages 10–up. (Nov.)