People just can't stop talking about American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland. It's hard not to talk about her: At just 32 years old (happy belated birthday, Misty!), she's transformed herself into a living legend—and a role model for aspiring ballerinas everywhere. Pretty much any dancer (or even young girl, for that matter) who has ever felt that she's just not good enough can find hope and inspiration in Misty's career. She faced rejection head on—for her body type, for the color of her skin, for being a late-starter—and she didn't take "No" for an answer. The slogan in her recent Under Amour commercial sums her up perfectly: "I will what I want."
So it makes complete sense that Misty's next project should be a book for children. (She is a New York Times bestselling author, after all.) Last week marked the release of Firebird—a picture book co-authored by Misty Copeland and writer/illustrator/Caldecott Medalist Christopher Myers.
When Misty danced the title role in Alexei Ratmansky's Firebird in 2012, it was her first big principal part with ABT. So it was a natural choice for the theme of her children's book. To Misty—and to any other dancer who has ever felt boxed out of a world that emphasizes uniformity—the firebird is not unlike a phoenix, rising from the ashes of rejection to show the world its brilliance.
(left) Copeland in Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird (by Gene Schiavone, courtesy American Ballet Theater); (right) The cover of Firebird, illustrated by Christopher Myers (courtesy Penguin Young Readers Group)
Firebird celebrates optimism—the mentality that you will succeed if you set your mind to it. And we think that's a pretty darn awesome message. (Want to see more? Click here to purchase the book on Amazon, or here to locate your local indie bookstore.)