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Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird
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Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,441 Ratings  ·  444 Reviews
In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl--an every girl--whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl's faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.

Lyrical and affecting text paire
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 4th 2014 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Rating details
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Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Wow! Misty Copeland, soloist at American Ballet Theatre, is only their second African-American soloist in their history and the first in more than 20 years. Here she writes her debut picture book and through it encourages other young dancers of color. Lest you think this is a book just for dancers, it is not. It is for anyone who needs to hear a voice of success speak about how important dedication and hard work is to creating that success. Copeland tells it all in poetry that soars and dances j ...more
Ashley Teagle
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Firebird" by Misty Copeland is one of the best picture books I have read this year. The story is about a young dancer who doesn't quite believe in herself enough. With a few inspirational words from Misty Copeland herself, the young dancer can see herself as a star ballerina.

The book is written as what I would I would describe as a poem. The simplicity of the text makes it appropriate for younger readers, but the complexity of the message signals a great book for older children, too.

The illustr
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful, inspirational, and poetic tale that shows how hard work and determination can take you far. I love how Misty Copeland lifts up a young girl and explains how she was once a beginner, too.

The illustrations by Christopher Myers are colorful and expressive, but sometimes the body proportions are a bit disturbing.

When I heard the announcement on June 30th that she became the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theater's 75-year his
3.5 out of 5
Misty Copeland's lyrical, compassionate, and inspiring free verse is perfectly matched by Christopher Myers' vibrant and dynamic collage paintings:
"you are the sky and clouds and air
your feet are swift as sunlight

stretching across the skyline
like the daylong sun over the horizon"

"I was a dancer just like you
a dreaming shooting star of a girl
with work and worlds ahead"

"there I am
sweating at the barre
I had a thousand leaps and falls
switching worn-out slippers
swift as applause"

I look forward to reading this with my niecy!
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it
In Firebird, ballerina Misty Copeland shows a young girl how to dance like a Firebird. The illustrations are lavish, while the text is poetic. The picture book is a must-have for any lover of ballet. Especially as a read-aloud, coupled with Misty’s Dear Reader note, Firebird should also serve to inspire anyone in pursuit of a dream.

The lavish artwork cannot fail but to draw one’s attention to Firebird. Indeed, the fiery red and orange, cool blue and purple, and splashes of white are my favorite
Kathy Davie
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it
A standalone story that is inspired by Misty Copeland’s own rise as a ballerina.

In 2015, Firebird won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award New Writer Honor. In 2014, it was voted an NPR Best Book, an Amazon Best Book for Ages 6–8 as well as Amazon Best Book of the Month [September], and was Essence Magazine’s Best Children’s Book. To be fair, I suspect most of these awards are because it’s written by a black ballerina with a young black heroine. No, I’m not
with those first few lines of Firebird by Misty Copeland, the tears were already streaming down my face. I know I'm a crier by nature so perhaps the fact that I was tearing up by page one doesn't hold much weight, but I generally don't cry at the beginning of a book. That was an unexpected turn of events, I must say.

So what is it that affected me so deeply? It wasn't just the words, but seeing them paired with Christopher Myers' emotional, sweeping illustrations, in addition to seeing the symbol
Caroline Pilman-DeKruif
With vivid illustrations and precise, thoughtful words, Misty Copeland and Christopher Myers tell the story of a young ballerina. Those who love ballet will appreciate the depiction of Misty Copeland, an American Ballet Theatre soloist, as she guides and teaches the young ballerina, encouraging her to reach for her dreams of becoming an accomplished ballerina. In a letter to her readers at the end of the book, Copeland describes her struggle to find ballet books about African American ballerinas ...more
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book has brought a new perspective to my life as an educator in a diverse city.

In a poetic sort of way, "Firebird" details the story of Misty Copeland, a young professional dancer, who redefined what it means to be a ballet dancer in the professional world. Copeland, who is of Italian, German and African-American descent, started dancing at the age of 13 (believed to be too late for a ballet dancer to start his/her studies and be a successful dance) and quickly became one of the best dance
Michele Knott
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful picture book told in flowing verse with strong descriptions. Follow your dreams, regardless of color, believe in yourself.
I love how in the author's note Misty Copeland explains how when she looked at books about ballerinas she didn't see herself, but images "of what a ballerina should be, and she wasn't me, brown with tendrils sweeping her face."
Favorite line "I'm gray as rain heavy as naptime..."
Jun 16, 2015 rated it liked it
disappointing. misty copeland has such a wonderful, inspiring story to tell, but i just didn't feel this particular book did it justice, nor was i inspired by the illustrations for usually dependable christopher myers. i love her story, i love the "want" to be inspirational, but, to me, the book didn't communicate that. her note to the reader at the end was wonderful, too bad the book wasn't as wonderful as her note.
Jen Fulmer
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful prose and pictures. I look forward to sharing this with my daughter as she grows.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ballet and inspirational story requests
Recommended to June by: Joan
Beautifully, illustrated story of a dream that can come true with hard work and dedication. Powerful reader's note by the author.
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, picture
The pictures are amazing. They really make the story.
Nyapot Hogan
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
"You are the sky and clouds and air your feet are swift as sunlight stretching across the skyline like the daylong sun over the horizon."
"Me? I'm gray as rain heavy as naptime, low as a storm pressing on rooftops, I could never hope to leap the space between."
This book is about a young African American girl whose teacher is trying to teach ballet, but she does not think she's good enough or will ever become as great as her teacher. Her teacher encourages her saying, "darling child,
Nancy Kotkin
Text: 5 stars
Illustrations: 5 stars

Inspiring free verse from ballerina Misty Copeland. Misty mentors a young African American dancer, and relates how her own hard work turned her dream into reality. Beautiful, vibrant, collage-type illustrations complement the poetic text. This is not really a biography, as there's not a whole lot of factual information about Misty's life and work. But what it lacks in traditional autobiographical text, it more than makes up for in artistic content, role modelin
Stephen Adams
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Text to self.
A connection between the reader's life and experiences and the piece of literature they are reading.

The story of the young ballerina and Misty reminds me of growing up with my father. Both Misty and my father were supportive of dreams and wanted to help their protege fulfill these dreams. As failure does to people, both me and the young ballerina would occasionally become frustrated with the task or skill we were trying to learn. Misty and my father would both use the same technique
Riley Thomas

I can relate this book to another children's book I have read; Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi. The book is about a little pig with big dreams of being a ballerina, a singer, and much more. Unfortunately, she struggles finding something she excels at. This book reminds me of Firebird because it involves a young girl trying to be her very best at something. Both girls in these books have a strong support system to help them on their way either through a mentor, like in Fire
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Encouraging words for a discouraged young dancer, that takes the dance all over the city.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a pretty incredible, pretty inspiring, and pretty pretty book <3
Felicia H
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book is amazingly illustrated wonderfully. The one question I asked my daughter after we finished reading it was: How do you feel? She said, "Like I can do whatever I want if I believe." This response made me go and purchase the book. The book almost sounds like a poem and it does leave you feeling as if you can accomplish anything even as an adult. I do feel like she is speaking specifically to African American girls but I believe any race of young girls will be encouraged to after reading ...more
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
1) My rationale for selecting Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird as part of my culturally diverse text set is because it fits in with an overall 'theme' – an African American woman as a main character or primary focus for the book. Firebird tells the story of a young African American ballerina who doubts her ability to be successful in her chosen field. She compares herself to her idol, Misty Copeland, one of the few African American women to bec ...more
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Firebird is a story about a young girl wishing to be a great ballerina but does not have the confidence. Misty shows her through hard work, practice, and determination she can reach great heights as a ballerina. Misty herself was in this young girl’s shoes. Misty Copeland is the author of this book and bases the story of her own rise in ballet. She didn’t start dancing until the age of 13. Only a few years later she became only the second African-American ballerina in the history of the American ...more
Jordan Schmidt
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
While reading this book, I realized I could make multiple text-to-self connections. A text-to-self connection is a connection that I made from the book with something that I've personally experienced, or something that I can relate to.
I can personally relate to the young girl in the book in many ways. First, I can relate to her because when I was younger I had some of the same feelings that she had. I wasn't very confident as a young person, especially as a young dancer. I didn't think I would a
Emily Sutherland
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Firebird is a great text-to-everything connection. For me it had a great text-to-self connection. When I was young I wanted to be a dancer like my mom and older sister. Like the young dancer in the book I felt like there was a gap between my dream and me. Sure I was in a class with older girls, due to two to one tutoring when I was younger. However, I still wasn't as good as my sister. The one passage that I really connected to was, "in a pas de deux a music box for two we will wrap our hearts c ...more
Cliff Bathke
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-summaries
1. Firebird is a book that helps teach kids about chasing their dreams. I love the way this story was written. Firebird is about a young dancer she is having a conversation with and older version of herself. She wants t give up her dream of becoming a ballerina because of how tough it can be. Her older self is now a professional ballerina and tell her that anything she wants to do she can do, it just takes hard work.
2. This book would be great for grade K-5. K-2 you may want to read aloud to the
Jamie Sorenson
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I made a Text-to-self connection to this book, which means I connect the text to my own memories and thoughts/experiences. There is a page in this book where the young dancer is very down on herself and sees all of her flaws as reasons why she can't succeed. The page reads "me? I'm as gray as rain, heavy as naptime, low as a storm pressing on rooftops." She feels that she cannot be as graceful and light-on-her feet as a true dancer. Later in the book she finds her confidence. I can
Professional Support/ Diverse Lit Paper Resource

Summary: Firebird by Misty Copeland is a poetic dialogue between a young African-American girl and her heroine, an established African-American ballerina. The young girl is discouraged by what seems to be a long and impossible road to in achieving what the young woman has accomplished. The older ballerina encourages and reminds her that she, too, was at the beginning of that road at one time, and that the young girl just needs to take one step at a
Miranda Knipfer
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
TS connection
“I was a dancer just like you a dreaming shooting star of a girl with work and worlds ahead. “
I connect to this statement not in that I was a dancer but that I was an athlete who dreamed to do great things, who admired those ahead of me to one day be just like them. This book uses these dreams to appeal to young girls and their own dreams and aspirations not just to be a dancer but to be anything that they wish to be. It encourages girls that all of their own idols once s
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“the space between you and me is longer than forever and I will show them that forever is not so far away” 0 likes
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