Taking Flight by Michaela DePrince is our July 2020 book

You may know Michaela DePrince from the documentary First Position, which follows three young ballet dancers through their pre-professional training and participation in the Youth America Grand Prix.

Michaela, now a soloist with the Dutch National Opera and Ballet, wrote her memoir,Taking Flight,in collaboration with her adoptive mother, Elaine DePrince.

Born into war-torn Sierra Leone and orphaned at a young age, DePrince's story is one of unprecedented strength and resilience.

After her biological father is killed by a militant group of government rebels, Michaela (then known by the name Mabinty Bangura) and her mother are forced to live with Michaela's abusive uncle.

When Michaela's mother dies of a fever, her uncle abandons her at an orphanage.

At the orphanage, she stumbles across a page from a magazine, featuring a beautiful photo of a ballerina en pointe.

Michaela decides that one day she will be like the ballerina on the page.

When she is four, an American family — the DePrinces — adopt Michaela and put her in dance classes.

This incredible journey, from war orphan to ballerina, is a page-turner and must-read.