Ballerina Dreams: The Story of Michaela DePrince

This week at Wrapped in Foil blog we are featuring children’s books about African-American ballerinas.

Today’s pick is Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer (Step Into Reading, Step 4) by Michaela DePrince, Elaine Deprince, and illustrated by Frank Morrison.


Left an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone, Michaela suffered bullying because she had a skin condition. While still at the orphanage, however, Michaela found a photograph of a ballerina in a magazine and it made such an impression on her that she carried it with her wherever she went. After Michaela and her friend Mia were adopted by Elaine DePrince and moved to America, her new mother recognized Michaela’s interest in ballet and arranged for her to start dance lessons. Now Michaela dances with the Dutch National Ballet.

The book is illustrated with a mix of period photographs and Frank Morrison’s warm, creative paintings.

Ballerina Dreams is a marvelous introduction to biographies for young readers. It is a must read for aspiring dancers, as well.

Be sure to visit Wrapped in Foil for an additional review of Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina, Michaela’s memoir for older readers.

Plus, check out Deborah’s previous review and activity suggestion here at Nonfiction Monday.