Unforgettable. Undeniable. Unflappable. Unafraid. These are just a few of the words that can be used to describe this Caldecott Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-Winning book by author Kwame Alexander and illustrator Kadir Nelson. Filled with moments from the past that lead up to our present, Alexander uses powerful words that tie together Black history and heritage, while Nelson's stunning images capture these moments in time that will without a doubt leave an imprint on your memory.
Alexander explains in the Afterword that he began writing the text as a poem the year his second daughter was born. This was also three months before Barack Obama became the first Black president of the United States. Despite this huge moment in history, Alexander still knew that Black history (which is also very much American history) was still being forgotten and left out of textbooks, leaving Black children without the opportunity to know about important historical figures and to feel excluded and unseen themselves. He continued to write this poem, in hopes of providing a reminder to his daughter and Black children everywhere that they, too, matter and can conquer anything that the world might throw their way.
While this book is very much a heartfelt letter to Black youth, it is important to note that children (and adults) of any color should become familiar with this book. Looking into the lives of people that are different from you (especially through literature) is an ideal way to START examining topics such as race, diversity, inclusion, and privilege.
However, most importantly, this book is a loud reminder to our Black youth that through our many, many wins and even our losses, we will always be Undefeated.
Author Kwame Alexander and illustrator Kadir Nelson discuss their award-winning book The Undefeated.
Below are more great titles written and illustrated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson! All of these are available with your Richland Library card!
Looking for even more good books? Check out our personalized recommendations or call us at 803-799-9084. Find more resources on race, equity, and inclusion, here.
#OwnVoices at Richland Library is a way for African American staff to provide thoughtful and well written book reviews, book lists and blog posts to promote African American authors and their work about the African American experience. The series invites our customers to learn one more way we are continuing the conversation in our community and speaking our voice. Find more resources on race, equity and inclusion, here.