by Kaija Langley (Author) Keith Mallett (Illustrator)
Inspired by watching a performance of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, a young black boy longs to dance and enrolls in ballet school.
A young Black boy dreams of dancing in this exuberant, buoyant picture book celebrating the beauty of dance, and the wonder of Black Boy Joy--perfect for fans of Firebird and Crown!
Langston likes basketball okay, but what he loves is to dance--ever since he saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform. He longs to twirl into a pirouette, whirl into a piqué. He wants to arabesque and attitude, grand battement and grand jeté. When he walks, the whole street is his stage. With his neighborhood cheering him on, will Langston achieve his dream?
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The absolute embodiment of Black boy joy, this is a beautiful and important book.
"Langston liked basketball, but he adored ballet." A Black boy recognizes his love of ballet after his mother takes him to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. When, post-performance, Langston asks whether he, too, could dance like that, his mother offers an encouraging response: "You can do whatever you set your mind to doing." Thus begins Langston’s journey toward balletic excellence in this firmly uplifting narrative. Though a child on the way to Langston’s first dance class attempts to bring the burgeoning dancer down with a gendered sneer, Langston perseveres, in spreads showcasing an engrossing flipbook-like progression of his moves. Langley utilizes plentiful dialogue and repetition to draw readers in: "And Langston danced... and danced... and danced," the final spreads read, showing the maturing protagonist continuing to dance over the years. Mallett’s lively, realistic illustrations, characterized by airbrushed strokes and dynamic dancers of varying skin tones, help further bring the story to life. Notable is Langston’s unwavering passion for ballet-and his mother’s just as steadfast support-in this richly affirmative picture book. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2021 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
It made me feel like I could do anything you put your mind to .He never gave up on his dream.You can do anything you want to do.