Brave Ballerina | Book Review

February is Black History Month and is a time where we celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians and Americans.

This is why we are excited to share a book review that helps recognize the story of one inspirational woman. This children’s book is a lyrical picture book tribute to Janet Collins, the first African American principal dancer at the Metropolitan Opera House.

We are delighted to introduce you all to, Brave Ballerina written by Michelle Meadows and illustrated by Ebony Glenn.


Janet Collins was a graceful, talented girl. She wanted to be a ballerina in the 1930s and ’40s, a time when racial segregation was widespread in the United States. Janet pursued dance with a passion, seeking private lessons after being excluded from discriminatory dance schools. When she was accepted into the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a teenager on the condition that she paint her skin white for performances, Janet refused. She continued to go after her dreams, never compromising her values along the way.

From her early childhood lessons to the height of her success as the first African American prima ballerina in the Metropolitan Opera House, this is the story of a remarkable pioneer.


The narrative is inviting and will engage young readers in thoughtful reflection about overcoming challenges and inspire them to think “big” from an early age. The story flowed beautifully and was elegantly told. The illustrations are captivating which brought the story to life. It is a perfect children’s book to celebrate Black History Month with the story of Janet Collins. We truly enjoyed reading this book and it was a great conversation piece to have with my four-year-old daughter. I find that when we have inspiring stories like Brave Ballerina it enriches a child’s education and I am thrilled that we got to read it. 

I also really adored the author’s note at the back of the book where she goes more in-depth of Janet Collins story and what she loves about it. This added that little extra special touch to the book.

We give Brave Ballerina5 pirouettes out of 5! This book is recommended for children aged four to eight. To purchase your own copy, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.


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