My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Two of my favorite creators in kidlit, author Kwame Alexander and artist/illustrator Kadir Nelson, have crafted this great work that is The Undefeated. I was particularly excited for this book after listening to Kwame’s poem, This One is For Us: an ode to the unstoppable, the unforgettable, the unbreakable, and the undefeated that was featured on ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com as commissioned by editor in chief Kevin Merida.
As quoted in The Undefeated and as mentioned in the presentation of the book (see the link to the ESPN recording below), both Kwame Alexander and Kevin Merida cite Maya Angelou’s words as a source of inspiration:
(as quoted in the afterword of The Undfeated)
“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat, so that we can know who we are. So that we can see, oh, that happened, and I rose. I did get knocked down flat in front of the whole world, and I rose”
The Undefeated is the 2nd book that I’ve read from the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Versify imprint that is curated by Kwame Alexander (My 1st was: ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raul the Third). It is a brilliant masterpiece in poem and picture that inspires and uplifts while also causing the reader to pause, reflect, and remember. From beginning to end, it is an ode to those who came before us and a celebration of what is yet to come. It includes an afterword from Kwame Alexander, brief details about the historical figures and events in the book, and a free download of the audio version of Kwame’s poem. It is a book worth buying multiple copies of to have in your home and to share with friends and loved ones. Amazon notes this book as being suitable for 1st through 4th grade but I’m inclined to think that it would interest older readers as well. I know the power of a picture book to inspire, provide context, and to act as an effective introduction to related areas of study.
It is my sincerest hope that the future holds many more collaborations between Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson. They are in fact a dynamic duo!
Links to check out to learn more:
This One is For Us: an ode to the unstoppable, the unforgettable, the unbreakable, and the undefeated (from The Undefeated site): https://theundefeated.com/videos/this-one-is-for-us/
Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson Present The Undefeated (from the ESPN site): http://www.espn.com/videohub/video/clip?id=26471575&categoryid=null
Kwame Alexander | https://kwamealexander.com/
Kadir Nelson | https://www.kadirnelson.com/
An Imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Undfeated | https://theundefeated.com/