Firebird (Misty Copeland)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Firebird, written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers, a gorgeously unique ballerina book to inspire young dreamers.

An abstractly autobiographical story, Copeland, the first African-American ballerina to become a principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater, uses the story of her own rise to encourage a young dancer struggling with confidence. The girl believes that Misty’s success and talent are an unachievable goal for someone like her. Misty denies this, relating that she once stood in the girl’s ballet slippers, and that hard work, dedication, and belief in herself is what made her great. She shows the girl that with these qualities, she too will shine bright as a Firebird, and inspire the next generation of dreamers that follows.

This book was fabulous. On the surface, it’s a classic lesson in achieving through work and perseverance, made all the more authentic due to its author. More than this, though, it is a wholly unique ballerina book that injects a little style and color into a well-worn genre. As Copeland notes in her afterward, while there are plenty of books about ballerinas, there are very few about ballerinas who look like her, and she wanted to write a book for them. The stylistic, lyrical text and bright, vibrant hues of the illustrations join the story in celebrating dancers of color (including boys in the final pages, a lovely surprise!) in a way that departs from the prim, pastel images of most ballet books, giving it a vibrancy that these stories can lack. The length was great for little ones, and JJ adored the story and art. If you’re looking for a ballerina book that breaks the mold, this is it. We loved it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

More-igami (Dori Kleber)

Hello! Today, we read More-igami, written by Dori Kleber and illustrated by G. Brian Karas.

Joey is a little boy who loves things that fold: he collects old maps, plays the accordion, and sleeps on a foldaway bed. One day, a classmate’s mother comes to class and shows Joey how to fold origami, and he is blown away. She tells him that to become an origami master, he must practice and have patience, so Joey practices on everything he sees: the newspaper, his sister’s sheet music, even money from his mom’s purse, driving his family crazy! Can Joey find a place to practice his craft so that he can become an origami master?

This was a really cute book! On the surface, it teaches kids about origami, which is an awesome craft (there are even instructions for making an origami ladybug in the back of the book). But underneath, it’s a great lesson about learning how to do anything, and the hard work and dedication it takes to do so. In addition, the illustrations are colorful and sweet, the length is pretty good for baby bookworms, and JJ really enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!