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A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream
Contributor(s): Dempsey, Kristy, Cooper, Floyd (Illustrator)

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ISBN: 0399252843     ISBN-13: 9780399252846
Publisher: Philomel Books
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Binding Type: School And Library - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: January 2014

Annotation: Sumptuously illustrated by the Coretta Scott King Award-wining artist of The Blacker the Berry, a tribute to the achievements and legacy of first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, traces her childhood in mid-20th-century Harlem and the talent that gained her entry into a white ballet school.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Ballet dancing; Fiction.
African Americans; Fiction.
Discrimination; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States
- Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States
- Juvenile Fiction | Performing Arts | Dance
Dewey: [E]
LCCN: 2013009520
Lexile Measure: 1100
Academic/Grade Level: Kindergarten, Ages 5-6
Book type: Easy Fiction
Physical Information: 10.00" H x 8.50" W x 0.25" (0.80 lbs)
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 163048
Reading Level: 4.4   Interest Level: Lower Grades   Point Value: 0.5
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q62320
Reading Level: 9.4   Interest Level: Grades K-2   Point Value: 1.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): 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 his illustrations in Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea and I Have Heard of a Land . . . He lives in New Jersey with his family.  

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Fall)
A young African American girl longs to be a ballerina, but in the segregated 1950s, she doubts her dream is possible. Seeing ballerina Janet Collins--the first African American to perform at New York's Metropolitan Opera--gives the girl hope for her own future as a dancer. Soft mixed-media paintings, capturing the girl's joy, optimism, and dedication, accompany the spare, lyrical text.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2013 November #1)

Growing up in 1950s Harlem, a girl dreams of being a ballerina, despite the huge obstacles of segregation and poverty. She's urged on by her hardworking mother, mentored by the Ballet Master (who allows her "to join lessons each day/ from the back of the room,/ even though I can't perform/ onstage with white girls"), and inspired by Janet Collins, the "first colored prima ballerina," who makes her debut at Metropolitan Opera while the girl sits in the balcony with her mother. "It's like Miss Collins is dancing for me,/ only for me," she thinks as she imagines herself leaping through the air alongside the beautiful, supremely confident Collins, "showing me who I can be." Although Dempsey's (Surfer Chick) prose-poem tends to be somber and sentimental, Cooper's (Max and the Tag-Along Moon) velvety, peach-hued pictures have passion, energy, and even flashes of humor, making the girl feel like a fully lived character. The story covers familiar inspirational territory, but has the benefit of serving as a brief introduction to the pioneering Collins. Ages 5–8. Author's agent: Kendra Marcus, BookStop Literary Agency. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 January)

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

[Page 66]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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