PB Frenzy Review: Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins

PB Frenzy Review: Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins

Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins By Michele Meadows and Illustrated By Ebony Glenn

A lyrical picture book biography of Janet Collins, the first African American principal dancer at the Metropolitan Opera House. 

Janet Collins wanted to be a ballerina in the 1930s and 40s, a time when racial segregation was widespread in the United States. Janet pursued dance with a passion, despite being rejected from discriminatory dance schools. When she was accepted into the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a teenager on the condition that she paint her skin white for performances, Janet refused. She continued to go after her dreams, never compromising her values along the way. From her early childhood lessons to the height of her success as the first African American prima ballerina in the Metropolitan Opera, Brave Ballerina is the story of a remarkable pioneer as told by Michelle Meadows, with fantastic illustrations from Ebony Glenn.


My Thoughts While Reading

  • Biography about a woman I had not heard about before.
  • Connecting history with today’s issues
  • Poetry is beautiful
  • Figurative language is used wonderfully
  • Rhyming
  • Uses in my class: Write a biography in poetry form on a character that has not been given the light they deserve; Discussion on Race and Discrimination; Civil Rights lesson/Harlem Renaissance.

This was a beautiful biography with wonderful poetry and illustrations that matched the beautiful words. This book will definitely be used in our Classroom Bookaday. It has also inspired me to write a biography on a person I think deserves more attention. I may even try to write in poetry form!

You can view more about the titles I read during the Picture Book Frenzy on this page

I am a middle school teacher who loves to read ALL KINDS of books. I am part of the ARC-sharing group LitReviewCrew, a co-creator for the YouTube Channel Legit KidLit and the Podcast Read to Write KidLit. Check out my Linktree for more: https://linktr.ee/Mrsbookdragon

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