Dreams do come true for a Harlem girl in the 1950s.
Mama works hard sewing costumes for the ballet dancers at the old Metropolitan Opera House, and her daughter delights in trying them on and whirling around in front of a mirror. She even receives special permission from the Ballet Master to take class. But dreaming may not be enough. The skies over New York City are not clear enough to see the first star, the wishing star, and—more to the point—“Could a colored girl like me / ever become / a prima ballerina?” Then, one special night, the little girl and her mama attend a performance featuring Janet Collins, the first African-American dancer at the Met. Collins first danced there on November 13, 1951. Dempsey’s expressive free verse is full of longing and dreams, all in the very believable voice of a ballet-loving girl. Cooper employs his signature style of textured art to lovingly capture Harlem in the ’50s. His little dancer is equally beautiful waiting for a city bus or elegantly soaring as high as the lights of the theater in a pas de deux with Collins.
A warm, inspirational collaboration that will resonate in the hearts of all who dream. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)