Hope in a Ballet Shoe tells the story of Michaela DePrince Growing up in war torn Sierra Leone, she witnessed atrocities that no child ever should Her father was killed by rebels and her mother died of famine Sent to an orphanage, Michaela was mistreated and saw the brutal murder of her favourite teacher Then Michaela and her best friend are adopted by an American couple, and Michaela begins to take dance lessons But life in the States isn t without difficulties 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 is a racist one, and Michaela has to fight for a place amongst the ballet elite, hearing the words America s not ready for a black girl ballerina And yet Today, Michaela DePrince is an international ballet star, dancing for The Dutch National Ballet at the age of nineteen This is a heart breaking, inspiring autobiography by a teenager who shows us that, beyond everything, there is always hope for a better future This is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read The autobiography of a woman who was born and living in terrible poverty in Africa, and was adopted at a young age by a kind US family and taken back to their home and brought up there She was taken to see a ballet and decided she was going to be a world class ballerina She was sent to ballet lessons by her family she she did indeed grow up to become a world class ballerina I have bought a further 10 copies to give as Xmas presents this year DO NOT MISS IT. This is a wonderful, inspirational book I ordered it yesterday and finished it this evening, tears running down my face It is one of the greatest pleasures in life to meet people of courage who are faced with huge difficulties which they manage to overcome, and who then open their arms to the world and try to give something back Michaela is one of these I would absolutely love to read a biography of her American mother who adopted lots of children and gave them all a superbly warm home A huge thank you to everyone involved in the production of this book which deserves to sit in pride of place on any bookshelf for anyone interested in reading a tale of great courage garnished with love and the beauty of ballet with its pain of bleeding toes and delicious fripperies of tutus Buy it for you and for giving It s simply written, in a very good way and probably because of the primary audience of younger readers I found it well written and didn t think it had been too sanitised for the age group and a society lucky enough to have not experienced the reality of civil war and anarchy I have to confess that I did have to keep looking up all the technical ballet steps and positions and then watch her on uTube.I think her adoptive parents are as amazing and perhaps they should write their memoire including all the children They must be so proud of Teddy and his ability to integrate and reassure his new sisters I truly hope that Michaela goes on to be a principle ballerina Do check out her TED talk and BBC interview with Nic Higham, Meet the Author. Read this book whilst on holiday in Spain, I ve always been a keen ballet dancer And had a massive love for it and this book captures the essence and importance of ballet in many peoples lives no matter the background Such an inspiring book and would highly recommend to anyone who dances, has an interest in ballet or enjoys reading books about strong empowering and inspiring female lead roles. Hope in a Ballet Shoe is Michaela DePrince s autobiography, detailing her journey as a ballerina Written with help from her mother, Elaine DePrince, it tells Michaela s story all the way from her childhood in war torn Sierra Leone, to starting dance lessons for the first time after being adopted by an American family, to stepping on stage as an international ballet star.Hearing the story of Michaela s, then Mabinty Bangura s childhood was heartwrenching to read From the loss of her parents, to being mistreated by other relatives, to being hated by the orphanage workers, one can imagine how she might easily lose hope But she found it again, in the form of a picture One day as Mabinty is playing outside, she finds a magazine cover showing a young woman dancing, and she tells herself that someday, she too would dance and be that happy That picture is what kept her going, through witnessing the mutilation of her teacher, through the bombing of her orphanage, through the long journey to the Guinea border.Finally, we too can see hope for Mabinty she is to be adopted, along with her friend, by an American family As we follow Mabinty through to the day of her adoption and arriving in America, we are able to share her happiness and joy after witnessing for ourselves the hardships she had gone through It was heartwarming to see that Mabinty, now Michaela, finally has a happy family life, as well as the ballet lessons she had longed for so much What I personally found amusing, though a little saddening, was her and her adoptive sister s wonder at the sheer difference between life in America and life as an orphan in Sierra Leone.Michaela now faced hardships of a different sort Her skin condition and colour caused others to doubt her ability as a ballerina, with one teacher even saying that they didn t put money into black girls because they would grow up fat Outside the dance studio, she was subject to odd looks whenever she walked with her white adopted family But Michaela didn t give up, and it was truly inspiring to hear how she was able to overcome these obstacles and continue dancing, even when society said otherwise.As the book continues, it naturally focuses on Michaela s development as a ballerina while not forgetting her development as a person What was very interesting to me was when Michaela recounted her experience filming for the documentary First Position Despite her own discomfort around cameras, Michaela kept going by telling herself that her taking part would encourage other black girls to become ballerinas too.What I really liked about this book was that it was written in a very engaging and accessible manner, and it feels like anyone could read it It almost feels like you are with Michaela, and she is talking to you about her childhood Through this book I have not only gained insight into the life of a star ballerina, but also the life of someone who rose above the odds Perhaps touchingly, it shows how adoption can really change someone s life As someone with two left feet, I have no hopes of dancing, but hearing Michaela s story made me think, just how many stars are out there that will never see a stage I would recommend this book to anyone, dancers and non dancers alike, for its accessible, engaging writing style and truly inspirational story. Michaela s story was really moving I support a small children home in India where orphan vulnerable poverty stricken children are being given the tools and support to achieve their best The children there are really doing well with some of them displaying talents Michaela s story was just another proof that when adults believe in children and support them they can be successful It s just a matter of nurturing their abilities and talent A lot of praise has to be given to her adoptive parents they have been wonderful with her and other adopted children May this family be blessed forever This is a breathtaking story that I read in one go till the end This girl survived by the basis her loving natural parents laid and succeeded by the unconditional loving support of her adopting parents Apart of course from her capacities and her strong will.It s horrible to realise that so many people with deformed ego s, all over the world, spin a drab vale over life, work and economy and much worse and that so few people are able to switch on the sun Worth reading. I saw Michaela on a BBC Breakfast interview and immediately downloaded this book I am so pleased that I did, what a life, what hope, what spirit Sitting in my comfortable UK home, I was instantly transported to war torn Sierra Leone and to a better understanding of what effects war have on children, who have no one to speak up for them Her love of ballet and determination to overcome her past and the racism in the ballet world is inspiring My greatest admiration is reserved for the woman who enabled all of this to happen Michaela s amazing adopted mother This woman is also an inspiration to us all and through every challenge life has sent her she retained a massive well of love and faith I am certain Michaela will go on to even greater things and I look forward to reading the next book about her life She is a beacon of hope for many young women across the globe. I loved this book from start to finish Mabinty and her sisters early life in Sierra Leone is so heart wrenching, but then followed by the beauty of her new mom and dad and hope and opportunity and dreams Michaela s story is about becoming an orphan and being adopted, it s about over coming racial prejudice, it s about turning tragedy into opportunity, working hard for your dreams, and so much All from a 20 year old I d love Elaine and Charles to tell their story too It could inspire so many other people with something to give to look into adopting a family of any nationality Maybe a way of continuing their son Michael s legacy.