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The Undefeated

Written by Kwame Alexander

Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Books of the Month Featured Books for 5+ readers Featured Books for 7+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers History Poetry Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

LoveReading View on The Undefeated

A brilliantly bold, poetically rousing picture book presentation of Black American history and achievements.

October 2019 Book of the Month

Written for and about “the swift and sweet ones/who hurdled history and opened a world of possible”, for those who “survived America by any means necessary. And the ones who didn’t,” this is an inspiring ode to the author’s forebears and to the world-changing feats of unforgettable Black American figures.

Author Kwame Alexander’s initial inspiration for this book came in the year his second daughter was born, the same year Barack Obama became the first African American president of the USA. As a result, Alexander wanted his daughters “to know how we got to this historic moment”, which is exactly what this stirring book does. The chained slaves who kept faith, the elite Olympians, the innovative musicians, the seminal scientists, the courageous activists - people from all walks of life are celebrated in Alexander’s poetically poised words, and gloriously illustrated by Kadir Nelson, with much for young children to ponder and ask questions about. As well as being a wonderful way for parents to explore Black American history with their little ones on a one-to-one basis, this will also work well with older children in a classroom context. Indeed, this is one of those rare and wonderful picture books that defies age boundaries - a radiant, resonant unforgettable tour de force, as befits its theme.

Joanne Owen

The Undefeated Synopsis

This is for the unforgettable. The unafraid. The undefeated. From New York Times bestselling-author Kwame Alexander comes this powerful and important ode to black history: the strength and bravery of everyday people and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest artists, athletes, and activists. With references to lyrics and lines originally shared by our most celebrated heroes, this poem digs into the not-so-distant past to underline the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.

The Undefeated Press Reviews

A powerful tribute to the African-American experience...This book will fill readers with a sense of the wealth and the cost of history. - New York Times

A beautiful volume that encourages multiple viewings and further research. With a lengthy roster of accolades and best-seller credits between them, this untouchable duo's book will fly off the shelf. - Booklist, starred review

An incredible connector text for young readers eager to graduate to weighty conversations about our yesterday, our now, and our tomorrow - Kirkus, starred review

[A] magnificent anthem...with stunning portraits...Rings with force...Powerful - Publishers Weekly, starred review

This book is both a soaring tribute to the enduring perseverance and and achievements of the past and a stirring call to action to the dreamers and the doers of the present and the future... Alexander and Nelson present an exceptionally moving and triumphant work. This book is an essential first purchase for all libraries. - School Library Journal, starred review

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781783449293
Publication date: 20/02/2020
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781783449286
Publication date: 03/10/2019
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781783449286
Publication date: 3rd October 2019
Author: Kwame Alexander
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 40 pages
Suitable for: 5+ readers, 7+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: History, Poetry, Personal Social Health Economic
Recommendations: Books of the Month

About Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, public speaker, performer, and winner of the Newbery Medal for his novel-in-verse, The Crossover. He conducts creative writing workshops in middle and high schools, often reaching more than five hundred students monthly. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area. 

More About Kwame Alexander

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