My mom would have been seventy-three today. Last year two fabulous picture books were published Firebird by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers and The Orchestra Pit by Johanna Wright. However, I waited until today to highlight them because they remind me of my last memory with my mom before she was diagnosed with cancer.
In 2001, I lived Charleston, SC. Mom loved to visit me and this beautiful city. We planned a special Mother/Daughter weekend to enjoy the Spoleto Festival. “For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera; theater; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music.”
The last day of her visit, we attended the Charleston Ballet’s performance of Firebird under The Angel Oak on John’s Island. We were excited because a young lady who grew up in our suburban Atlanta neighborhood was performing. Her parents grew up in the same small town in Middle Georgia as my parents.
The Angel Oak is perfect location for an outdoor ballet. No scenery is needed with this majestic live oak with sprawling arms as the background. The tree is thought to be over 1500 years old. A truly magical experience. Unless, you’re a ballerina, required to dance underneath a tree where the start is delayed because two snakes are fighting over a third.
After wrestling for over five minutes, one snake fell out of the tree onto the stage. The other two crawled into a hollow in the tree. Mom and I were amazed at how calmly the dancers pirouetted under the tree knowing two snakes were above them; most likely copulating. The show continued, even through a huge thunderstorm. It’s a mystery how the dancers didn’t fall all over the place. (Their stage was a plastic tarp)
Synopsis of the books from the publishers websites are below. Can you tell why I waited to share these two books until today?
Firebird by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christoper Myers – In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.
The Orchestra Pit by Johanna Wright – “When a slightly befuddled but surprisingly endearing snake wanders into the wrong pit—the orchestra pit—peculiar things start to happen. A well-meaning snake interacts with the orchestral instruments, scares the musicians and conductor, and causes general chaos in this sweet and funny book.”