Black Girl Magic: Ballerinas & Other Historical Figures


Middle Graders

Black Culture & Identity


Both of these books are beautiful collections of badass historical figures, many of whom are still alive and continuing to make history! If you’re in the market for nonfiction anthologies about historical figures (like I am 100% of the time) make sure you check these out from your local library and bookstore!

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic

Edited by Lilly Workneh, Forward by Cashawn Thompson

Ok ok we know by now how much I love nonfiction anthologies, because they jam pack so much information into one book, and provide a springboard for further learning. This most recent installment of the Rebel Girls series is perhaps my favorite! The adage of “we can’t be what we can’t see” describes a more serious representation issue in media, and specifically publishing.

Having a book like this is proof that anything is possible, but it’s also proof that we’re not taught nearly enough about Black historical figures. This Rebel Girls compendium features 100 women and SO MANY illustrators, one for each woman featured!

Some of the women profiled are well-known like Kamala Harris and Shirley Chisholm, and some were new to me! I learned about Colombian weightlifter María Isabel Urrutia, who won the first gold medal from the Olympics for her home country! This is a fabulous book that can introduce readers to new role models and trailblazers for the next generation to follow in their footsteps.

“Black Girl Magic is a rallying call of recognition. Embedded in the everyday is a magnificence that is so easy to miss because we’re so mired in the struggle and what society says we are.”

– Ava Duvernay

Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy

By Misty Copeland & Salena Barnes

I don’t know much about ballet or dancing in general (I’m more of a wallflower or seen partaking in confused flailing on the dance floor) so this collection of Black ballerinas was very informative for me!

The artistic style of this book is very reminiscent of high fashion illustrations, they take a whole side of a two page spread and convey the beautiful movement of a ballerina’s movements. Near the illustration is a quote by the ballerina, which is a touch that I love.

Having such a compilation of Black dancers for readers to pore over is nothing short of inspiring for those who have big dreams of pointe shoes and a glittering spotlight.

Like I said, I’m not even a dancer and I can see how special this book is. The world of competitive and professional dance showcases a specific body type, skin tone, and often an affluent socio-economic status. But, by highlighting the folks who have broke through these barriers it will inevitably begin to open the door for others.

Both of these books were kindly sent by Simon & Schuster, and the Rebel Girls book was a contender for the #Bookstagang_BestOf2021 List!

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