The extraordinary memoir of an orphan who danced her way from war-torn Sierra Leone to ballet stardom, most recently appearing in Beyonce’s Lemonade and as a principal in a major American dance company. "Michaela is nothing short of a miracle, born to be a ballerina. For every young brown, yellow, and purple dancer, she is an inspiration!” —Misty Copeland, world-renowned ballet dancer
Michaela DePrince was known as girl Number 27 at the orphanage, where she was abandoned at a young age and tormented as a “devil child” for a skin condition that makes her skin appear spotted. But it was at the orphanage that Michaela would find a picture of a beautiful ballerina en pointe that would help change the course of her life.
At the age of four, Michaela was adopted by an American family, who encouraged her love of dancing and enrolled her in classes. She went on to study at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre and is now the youngest principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She has appeared in the ballet documentary First Position
, as well as on Dancing with the Stars, Good Morning America
, and Nightline
In this engaging, moving, and unforgettable memoir, Michaela shares her dramatic journey from an orphan in West Africa to becoming one of ballet’s most exciting rising stars.
“Michaela DePrince is the embodiment of what it means to fight for your dream.” —
“Michaela DePrince is a role model for girls on and off stage.” —
January 19, 2016
12 and up
Grade 7 & Up
Michaela DePrince graduated from the American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis school in New York, and is a dancer with the Dutch National Ballet. She travels between Amsterdam and New York City, where she lives with her family.
Starred review, Publishers Weekly, August 11, 2014:
"A compelling narrative . . . The book’s strong thread is Michaela’s lifelong passion for ballet and her candid depiction of the physical and emotional struggles of becoming a black classical ballerina. There is plenty of ballet detail for dance lovers to revel in, and the authors achieve a believable, distinctive teenage voice with a nice touch of lyrical description."
"Readers will find her life story gripping whether or not they are dance fans...the heart of the journey resonates in this mother/daughter collaboration. A revealing and absorbing journey through dance classes and competitions to success."—Kirkus Reviews
“From her earliest days as an orphan in Sierra Leone to the stages of world-renowned theaters, Michaela’s incredible determination to not only survive, but triumph in the face of unthinkable adversity is an inspiration to anyone who has fought for a dream. Her grace and strength bleed through in each of her breathtaking performances. This is a story of great courage that all women—young and old—should read.” —Tina Brown
“Extraordinarily written. Hardship ads to the strength of the people and artists we become and Michaela is nothing short of a miracle, born to be a ballerina. For every young brown, yellow, and purple dancer, she is an inspiration!” —Misty Copeland, world-renowned ballet dancer