Recommended Reading for Writers & Readers with Misty Copeland #WritersAndReaders

To celebrate the conversation with New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland, the Library has curated a list of recommended reads.

Attendees will receive a FREE copy of Copeland’s latest book, Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy, which pays tribute to Black Ballerinas, who have influenced her on and off the stage.


Misty Copeland leapt over barriers with grace and style from the age of 13 when she discovered ballet through a class at her local Boys and Girls Club. Her talent and potential steered her toward a professional dance career on a difficult path strewn with family conflict and struggles for self-determination. As the first African American woman to be named a soloist for the American Ballet Theater and, later, the first Black principal dancer at a major international dance company, she has changed the face of ballet and made it possible for others to dare to dream of a different life. Copeland has since expanded her professional career with modeling, acting, film and television, product endorsements, and the design of her own dancewear line of clothing.


Black Ballerinas:
My Journey to Our Legacy
by Misty Copeland, Salena Barnes

From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland comes an illustrated nonfiction collection celebrating dancers of color who have influenced her on and off the stage.As a young girl living in a motel with her mother and her five siblings, Misty Copeland didn’t have a lot of exposure to ballet or prominent dancers. She was sixteen when she saw a black ballerina on a magazine cover for the first time. The experience emboldened Misty and told her that she wasn’t alone—and her dream wasn’t impossible.

Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You by Misty Copeland

The celebrated ballerina and role model, Misty Copeland, shares the secrets of how to reshape your body and achieve a lean, strong physique and glowing health.
Misty Copeland believes “There has been a shift in recent years in which women no longer desire the bare bones of a runway model. Standards have changed: what women do want is a long, toned, powerful body with excellent posture.” In other words, the body of a ballerina. In her first health and fitness book, Misty will show women how to find the motivation to get healthier and stronger, and how to reshape their bodies to be lean and flexible, with step-by-step advice, meal plans, workout routines, and words of inspiration.

Firebird by Misty Copeland, Christopher Myers

In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl—an every girl—whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.

Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers’s best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.

Bunheads by Misty Copeland, Setor Fiadzigbey

Instant New York Times bestselling series opener inspired by prima ballerina and author Misty Copeland’s own early experiences in ballet.

From prima ballerina and New York Times bestselling author Misty Copeland comes the story of a young Misty, who discovers her love of dance through the ballet Coppélia—a story about a toymaker who devises a villainous plan to bring a doll to life.


See our list of recommended reads for Writers & Readers: Courage, Commitment & Change.