One windy day, a magazine blew down the road. I reached out and caught it. A pretty picture of a woman was on the front cover of the magazine. She wore a short pink dress that stuck out around her in a circle. She looked very happy.
At the age of three, Michaela DePrince found a photo of a ballerina that changed her life. She was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone at the time, but was soon adopted by a family and brought to America. Michaela never forgot the photo of the dancer she once saw, and decided to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true. She has been dancing ever since, and after a spell as a principal dancer in New York, now dances for the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.
Beautifully and gently illustrated by Ella Okstad, Ballerina Dreams is the younger-reader edition of Michaela DePrince’s highly moving memoir, Hope in a Ballet Shoe.
How did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Memoir / Picture Book
Review: The first time I saw Michaela DePrince was on Dancing with the Stars and I thought she was magical. This book, as the blurb says, is a younger-reader edition of her memoir.
It tells the story of Michaela was inspired by a photo of a ballerina she found. It’s about the orphanage in Sierra Leone, her friendship with Mia (who later was adopted by the same woman that adopted Michaela so they became sisters), the lessons and determination to fulfil her dream, overcoming her shyness and what it means for her to be an inspiration to others. That is a lot for a picture book to convey but it does, and it does it very well.
Ballerina Dreams strikes a good balance between telling Michaela DePrince story in a way that young readers understand what happened but it’s also filed with of love; Mia, Mama, the love of dance. The illustrations are lovely and the message that dreams are achievable is there throughout the text.