Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson is more of a 4.9 rating. I think I wanted a full-length biography and not the medium length picture book Leda Schubert created. However, Schubert does an amazing job of presenting a little-known dancer, woman, African-American and person.
If you have a young lady into ballet this would be a good book for them. If you are doing a class about women trailblazers or African-American history this would be a good book to add. I might even give this to a boy who likes dance. Wilkinson overcame the hurdle of being black in a pre-Civil Rights era, and in even today’s society, the stigma of “male dancers” is there. This could be a good “talking about” how to overcome this “road block.” Of course, with that said, I would like to see books about male dancers aimed at all ages.
The nice thing about the book is Schubert is matter of fact. She talks about the things around Wilkinson (the burning of crosses, the Klan out in the open, men trying to physical harass her on stage), but also shown is the journey of a dancer.
The amazing illustrations of Theodore Taylor III help take the “sting” of the harsh and show you how beautiful this world is, too. The colors are soft, bold while capturing the feeling of the text. They are a story within themselves.
There is an afterwards about Wilkinson with more information and Misty Copeland created a foreword about how Wilkinson was a mentor to her, even before they met. This book opened a door to a world I knew very little about. And it has raised a few questions that now I want to look into. I hope that this book speaks to you as well.