True role models are rare in this world, but Misty Copeland definitely qualifies. As the first Black woman ever promoted to principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, her groundbreaking achievements have inspired countless kids to follow their dreams — and now Copeland's new book, Bunheads, will give fans a peek into the early days of her journey as a dancer.
The first in a series of picture books about Copeland's time as a novice ballerina, Bunheads tells the story of a young Misty who falls in love with the art form though the ballet Coppélia. Initially afraid to audition, Misty overcomes her nerves with the help of an encouraging teacher and supportive new friends and lands the lead role — but Copeland, the grownup author, knows just how scary trying something new can be. What advice would she give a young reader who's afraid to take those first steps?
"Know that you’re not alone in discovery," Copeland tells Romper. "I was once terrified to do anything that made me uncomfortable. The thought of doing ballet was so scary. But once I tried it, it changed my life. I think challenging yourself makes you so much stronger!"
To explore these types of questions and more, Copeland is launching a virtual tour: MahoganyBooks on September 29; 92Y (with book sales by Greenlight Books) on September 30; Greenwich Library (with book sales by Diane’s Books) on October 1; and Politics & Prose on October 2.
At each event, Misty will be discussing Bunheads with a partner (at MahoganyBooks, she'll be speaking with co-founder/co-owner Ramunda Lark Young, and the first 200 book orders will receive a special autographed bookplate from Misty Copeland herself).
As for her own early literary influences, Copeland tells Romper The Berenstain Bears series and Where The Wild Things Are were among her favorites. Clearly she learned the same lessons from those books that she hopes to teach readers with her own: Be responsible. Face your fears and they turn into friendly monsters.
And most of all, dance.