Maria Tallchief (She Persisted)

by Christine Day (Author) Gillian Flint (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: She Persisted

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger comes a chapter book series about women who stood up, spoke up and rose up against the odds--including Maria Tallchief!

In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Christine Day, readers learn about the amazing life of Maria Tallchief--and how she persisted.

Maria Tallchief loved to dance, but was told that she might need to change her Osage name to one that sounded more Russian to make it as a professional ballerina. She refused, and worked hard at dancing her best, becoming America's first prima ballerina. Many famous American ballets were created for Maria!

Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and a list of ways that readers can follow in Maria Tallchief's footsteps and make a difference!

And don't miss out on the rest of the books in the She Persisted series, featuring so many more women who persisted!

Praise for She Persisted: Maria Tallchief

"A rich, clear picture of how one iconic Native dancer persisted." --Publishers Weekly

"Inspiringly shows how Maria Tallchief persisted and made her dreams come true." --Kirkus Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews

Inspiringly shows how Maria Tallchief persisted and made her dreams come true. 

Publisher's Weekly

In six accessible chapters, Day (who is Upper Skagit), deftly parallels the struggles of the Osage Nation with those of Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief (1925–2013), one of the first American ballet stars. Born in Oklahoma to an Osage father and white mother, Maria Tall Chief faced a variety of hurdles after starting to dance at three years old, including having to learn about her heritage in secret, since Native ceremonies and gatherings were outlawed by the U.S. government until 1978. She also faced racist bullying from classmates and, as a professional dancer, was asked to make her name more sound Russian. Tallchief nevertheless rose to dance solos with the Ballet de Monte Carlos, the New York City Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, becoming a major star with George Balanchine’s Firebird and receiving prestigious recognitions. Flint contributes simple, appealing b&w ink-and-wash spot illustrations throughout this rich, clear picture of how one iconic Native dancer persisted. Back matter includes a How You Can Persist guide and references. Ages 6–9. (Nov.)

Copyright 2021 Publisher's Weekly LLC Used With Permission

Review quotes

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Philomel Books
Publication date
November 20, 2021
She Persisted
BISAC categories
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
JNF018040 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - Native American
JNF023000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Girls & Women
JNF025000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | General
Library of Congress categories

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