Back of Book:
This beautiful picture book tells the little-known story of Raven Wilkinson, the first African American woman to dance for a major classical ballet company and an inspiration to Misty Copeland..
Raven Wilkinson was born on February 2, 1935, in New York City. From the time she was a little girl, all she wanted to do was dance. On Raven’s ninth birthday, her uncle gifted her with ballet lessons, and she completely fell in love with dance. While she was a student at Columbia University, Raven auditioned for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and was finally accepted on her third try, even after being told she couldn’t dance with them because of her skin color.
When she started touring with her troupe in the United States in 1955, Raven encountered much racism in the South, but the applause, alongside the opportunity to dance, made all the hardship worth it. Several years later she would dance for royalty with the Dutch National Ballet and regularly performed with the New York City Opera until she was fifty.
This book is a true gem in every way! I had never heard of Raven before reading this story and I am so glad that it was written. This book leaves an impact on all who read it. The strength and determination that Raven had to chase her dreams is truly inspiring. The shows her trials and triumphs in a way that all readers can understand and appreciate. The photo in the front of the book of Raven and Misty Copeland is emotional and shows the impact that Raven had on ballet. I also loved that both famous ballerinas left a letter to the readers. The illustrations in this story are beautify drawn and made me want to go see more ballet. I highly recommend this book for all libraries and classrooms.
Ages 6 and up