Charlotte Nebres is a 13-year-old pre-professional ballet dancer who made history in 2019 as the first black ballerina to dance the role of Marie in the New York City Ballet’s much-loved production of George Balanchine’s the Nutcracker† After this experience Nebres wrote the children’s book Charlotte and the Nutcracker (Random House, Dec. 21). Written with Sarah Warren and vividly illustrated by Alea Marley, the book is an inspiring story that showcases her tenacity as a young ballerina, full of heart and Christmas spirit.

From the Kirkus starred review by Charlotte and the NutcrackerReaders watch as Charlotte prepares, makes her debut and performs her role, then celebrates Christmas with family traditions from her family’s dual Trinidadian and Filipino heritage. Charlotte feels the magic of the season on stage and at home. The illustrations use different perspectives to portray Charlotte’s journey as an observer, performer, sister and daughter. The emphasis on her persistent practice makes her success particularly satisfying. This satisfying tale of inspiration, dedication, perseverance and progress will leave readers wanting to see the ballet and get into the holiday spirit.”

In this video interview, conducted via Zoom, Nebres describes what it meant to her to break through that barrier and dance the part of Marie; what Christmas means to her and her family; and gives wise advice to aspiring ballerinas, especially those who may not see themselves represented in the dance world — advice that applies equally to anyone working hard to achieve a big dream.