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Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite
Mina Ballerina is a young girl who was born on the night the ballet came to town. As soon as she was able to walk, her mother began teaching her how to dance. Mina practiced all the time so she’d be the perfect dancer when she grew up. As she got older though, she realized that she wasn’t quite like the other girls she danced with. Instead of practicing, she’d rather be outside with their brothers. She felt stuck in the middle, not sure how to decide what path to choose until, finally, her mind worked out what her heart couldn’t. Instead of being a prima ballerina, Mina just wanted to be a football player.
I thought Mina Ballerina was a fun book to read, and yet it had such an important message. It might be 2021 but there are still many people who don’t believe in gender equality, or that interests and beliefs shouldn’t be categorized as masculine or feminine. Mina is a perfect example of this. From the time she could walk her mother taught her ballet, which is often considered a feminine hobby. She practices and does what she’s told but what she really wants to do is play football with their brothers. She struggles with this because like ballet, football is considered a masculine sport. Mina concludes that she’ll play football anyway because it makes her happy. I feel it teaches children that they don’t have to conform to gender roles. Aside from a brilliant storyline, the illustrations are beautifully done and fit perfectly with the storyline. Overall, I think Cori Nevruz has done a wonderful job with this book and I can’t wait to read more of her work.