Fiction | 3 September 2015Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman: 25 Years of Dreaming Big Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Twenty-five years ago, Mary Hoffman wrote a story about a little girl who proved she could do anything she set her mind to. Today, that story continues to inspire young girls to have faith in their dreams and confidence in their ability to achieve them. Hoffman’s Amazing Grace tells the story of Grace, a vivacious girl who hopes to land the role of Peter Pan in the school play. When her peers tell her that she can’t be the lead because of her gender and the color of her skin, Grace becomes discouraged. Seeing this, Grace’s grandmother takes her to the ballet for a performance of Romeo and Juliet, in which a Trinidadian ballerina dances the starring role. As her grandmother intended, Grace sees that just as Juliet can have darker skin, Peter Pan can surely be a girl, an African American, or any other kind of person with the skill to captivate an audience. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books has brought back this beloved children’s book for today’s generation of young readers. In Caroline Binch’s original illustrations, Grace embodies the imagination and confidence we wish for all girls, as she crawls through the backyard jungle as Mowgli and rules the seven seas of the kitchen as a peg-legged pirate. As Hoffman reminds us, all stories are for all people, no matter our age, race, or gender. The anniversary edition also features a brand new closing letter from LeVar Burton, host of Reading Rainbow, who has named Amazing Grace as one of his favorite books. For today’s young performers, Grace’s journey will strike a special chord in light of a real-life role model. Misty Copeland, a ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre, recently became the first African-American woman to be named a principal (the highest rank of dancer) in the company’s 75-year history. Like Rosalie Wilkins, the Trinidadian ballerina in the story, Misty Copeland encourages young artists of all builds and colors to pursue their dreams of the stage, from acting in Peter Pan to dancing in Swan Lake. Meet Grace in the excerpt below, and share in her love of stories with this delightful edition of Amazing Grace. Excerpted from Amazing Grace Grace was a girl who loved stories. She didn’t mind if they were read to her or told to her or made up in her own head. She didn’t care if they were from books or on TV or in films or on the video or out of Nana’s long memory. Grace just loved stories. And after she had heard them, or sometimes while they were still going on, Grace would act them out. And she always gave herself the most exciting part. Grace went into battle as Joan of Arc… and wove a wicked web as Anansi the spiderman. She hid inside the wooden horse at the gates of Troy… She crossed the Alps with Hannibal and a hundred elephants… She sailed the seven seas with a peg-leg and a parrot. Author: Mary Hoffman Illustrated by: Caroline Binch Format: Hardback, 32 Pages ISBN: 9781847805935 Age Range: 5 to 8 Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.