An unnamed girl, narrating the story in first person, wishes she could wish upon the first star of the night, but the factories and streetlights of 1950s Harlem block them out. Mama says wishing is a waste of time anyway. It's hope that can pick your dreams up from the floor of your heart. But unlike wishing, hope takes hard work. As this girl hopes and dreams and works hard to become a ballerina, her desire is fanned by seeing Janet Collins, the first colored prima ballerina, dance on stage.
This book joins the pile of outstanding books about dancing we've seen this year. The dream-like texture of the illustrations complement the lyrical text well. Use this story to discuss the power of aspirations, the role of work and luck, and the power of a meaningful role model. This book would also be a wonderful addition to any library needing more picture books for upper elementary students, or stories featuring black Americans.
EL - ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by P.K.Foster, teacher- librarian