Growing up in war-torn Sierra Leone, Michaela DePrince witnesses atrocities that no child ever should. Her father is killed by rebels and her mother dies of famine. Sent to an orphanage, Michaela is mistreated because of her skin condition, vitiligo.
But there is hope: the Harmattan wind blows a magazine through the orphanage gates. Michaela picks it up and sees a beautiful image of a young woman dancing. One day, she thinks, I want to be this happy.
And then Michaela is adopted by an American couple. She can take the dance lessons she's dreamed of since finding her picture. Unfortunately, tragedy can find its way to Michaela in America, too, and her past can feel like it's haunting her. The world of ballet can be racist, and Michaela has to fight for a place amongst the ballet elite, despite hearing the words 'America's not ready for a black girl ballerina'.
Incredibly, today Michaela is an international ballet star, dancing for The Dutch National Ballet at the age of 19.
Wow this book is so inspriational and so uplifting that it puts my life to shame. Born in Sierra Leone to parents who believed a girl should be educated, she was loved and having a great life but after her father was tragically murdered her mother and her move next door to live with her uncle who has four wifes and countless daughters. He believes that woman are property like sheep and can be treated as he wishes by regular beatings and starving them. Unfortunately her mother gets sick and dies.
After the uncle disowns her she becomes an orphan and because of her appearance is treated terribly and beaten regularly for the littlest things. As the war intensifies Americans were to adopting but nobody wants Mabinty because of the Vitiligo. But luckily an American finally does and they adopt her as well as another orphan, also called Mabinty.
Charles and Elaine DePrince really are angles in disguise and one day I hope to be as charitable as them. Losing two sons to the HIV virus and a third one later on they have adopted so many children from war stricken countries. They have given so much for these children, and encoraged each of them to reach for the stars and have helped to try and fulfil there wildest dreams.
It is amazing how far Mabinty now Michaela has come. From learning how to turn on a light to now dancing for the Dutch National Ballet, not to mention all the awards she has received, the documentry filmed about her dancing, being an inspriational speaker - she is truely amazing. Clinging to a picture while in an orphange, to finding out what a ballerina actually is, to actually becoming a ballerina, fighting the racism regarding her skin colour it defies imagination.
This book reminds you that anything is possible. If you want something so strong and do not waver from your belief of reaching it/becoming it/possesing it then the stars really are within reach.
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"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."
Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004)