Title: Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina
Author: Michaela DePrince
Release Date: January 1, 2014
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Number: 256 pages
The extraordinary memoir of Michaela DePrince, a young dancer who escaped war-torn Sierra Leone for the rarefied heights of American ballet.
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 currently a member of the Dutch National Ballet’s junior company. 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.
4 out of 5 stars
It’s always hard for me to review memoirs because it’s such a personal story, but I really enjoyed this one.
I listened to this book on audio through Scribd (amazing app if you haven’t used it). I think it was really nice to listen to on audiobook because you really felt like you were there with her. I don’t believe she narrated the book, but it was smooth and nice to listen to.
This book follows Michaela DePrince who was born in Sierra Leone to a loving family, but was eventually sent to live at an orphanage after the death of her parents. Her early childhood was hard to read and listen to because I can’t even imagine what it would have been like for her and her sister. Her life was so hard for her before she even knew it was bad. It’s just so terrible that this is happening all over the world.
While at the orphanage she found a magazine photo of a beautiful ballerina from a magazine, and kept it with her. She knew that when she got adopted she wanted to be a dancer. Her life got turned around when she got adopted by the same parents as her best friend in the orphanage. Now the two best friends were becoming sisters.
They got to the United States and had to learn how to adjust to the culture. It was completely different from anything either of the girls had known before. Michaela asked her parents if she could take dance lessons, and her career blossomed from there.
Michaela DePrince is an accomplished ballerina who helped to make a difference in the dance world by showing that black girls can be ballerinas, too. She was in the documentary First Position and danced with Dutch National Ballet.
I, myself, am a dancer so I always love to read about other people’s dance stories. This one was inspiring, and it was beautiful to see Michaela’s passion for dance from the beginning.