Celestina the Astronaut Ballerina

Gibbs Smith. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781423656807.
PreS-Gr 2–In this latest from Jacobsen (Mighty Mommies and Their Amazing Jobs), a young Black girl, Celestina, dreams of becoming an astronaut. Her dreams are quickly diminished by peers (of many races and abilities), adults, and especially by a white teacher in her life who advises her to become a ballerina. While becoming a ballerina is also a lot of hard work, Celestina excels, even as her original dreams of space are still alive. A new teacher, Miss Stella, who is Black, asks all of her students about their dreams and encourages them wholeheartedly. This inspiring and encouraging adult returns the girl to her original path. “With confidence, Celestina stepped out onto Mars. With wonder, Celestina looked out at the stars. And on that red planet, our great Celestina danced like a brilliant astronaut ballerina.” The verse has some clunkers, but the messaging is spot-on. Digital illustrations are brightly colored and show Celestina’s ups and downs.
VERDICT For larger collections, or those needing to fill a gap in representation, this reminder for children to follow their dreams transcends its flaws.

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