A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream


by: Dempsey, Kristy
Format: Hardcover

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Product Description A story of little ballerinas with big dreams. Little ballerinas have big dreams. Dreams of pirouettes and grande jetes, dreams of attending the best ballet schools and of dancing starring roles on stage. But in Harlem in the 1950s, dreams don’t always come true—they take a lot of work and a lot of hope. And sometimes hope is hard to come by.   But the first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, did make her dreams come true. And those dreams inspired ballerinas everywhere, showing them that the color of their skin couldn’t stop them from becoming a star.   In a lyrical tale as beautiful as a dance en pointe, Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper tell the story of one little ballerina who was inspired by Janet Collins to make her own dreams come true. From School Library Journal Gr 1–4—An African American girl from Harlem dreams of becoming a prima ballerina in this beautifully written narrative, which is also a tribute to Janet Collins, who, in 1951, was the "first colored prima ballerina" to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. While her mother cleans and sews costumes for the ballet school, the child grows up amid the fittings and rehearsals. One day she performs "…an entire dance in the wings, from beginning to final bow" well enough to impress the Ballet Master himself. He invites her to join the daily lessons despite the fact that she will be unable to perform onstage with his white pupils. When her hardworking Mama sees that Collins will be at the Met, she buys two tickets, "…even though it'll cost her half/of what she's put back for a new sewing machine." The aspiring dancer is entranced with the performance: "It's like Miss Collins is dancing for me/only for me/showing me who I can be." An author's note points out that Collins appeared at the Met four years before Marian Anderson's debut. Though the narrator is imagined, the inspirational message is real. Cooper's art incorporates his signature subtractive process and mixed media in tones of brown and pink to achieve illustrations as beautiful and transporting as the text. Pair this title with Pam Muñoz Ryan and Brian Selznick's When Marian Sang (Scholastic, 2002), and use this poetic offering for units on black history or women's history.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools From Booklist *Starred Review* It’s hard to find stars in the sky over New York City, which means it’s hard to wish on one. A young black girl living in Harlem in the 1950s has a big wish, though: to be a prima ballerina. Her mama says you don’t need wishes to make a dream come true—you need hope. When the Ballet Master at the ballet school where Mama works cleaning and sewing costumes notices the girl mimicking dancers backstage, he takes notice: “The Ballet Master made an arrangement / for me to join lessons each day / from the back of the room, / even though I can’t perform / onstage with white girls.” There’s another reason to hope, too. Janet Collins, the first black prima ballerina, is performing at the Metropolitan Opera House. The girl and her mama take three buses to see her leap and twirl effortlessly across the stage. Dempsey’s lyrical prose soars as it depicts one girl’s dream—and her efforts to make that dream a reality. Floyd’s hazy mixed-media illustrations capture 1950s Harlem, from streetscapes to fashions, while also shining a spotlight on a girl’s aspirations. An inspiring introduction to Collins that will speak to little dreamers everywhere. Grades K-3. --Ann Kelley About the Author Kristy Dempsey is a poet, writer, and librarian who is living her dreams in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She is also the author of Me With You, illustrated by Christopher Denise. You can visit her online at www.kristydempsey.com.   Floyd Cooper always dreamed of becoming an artist, and now has illustrated dozens of books for children. He received a Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations in The Blacker the Berry and a Coretta Scott King Honor for hi


Product Code: 9780399252846
ISBN: 0399252843
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: 2014-01-02
Number of Pages: 32 pages
Languages: english
Edition: Illustrated
Dimension: 8.66 x 0.39 x 10.16 inches
Shipping Weight: 0.79 pounds