for The Undefeated
by Kwame Alexander
and Kadir Nelson
“This is for the unforgettable. The swift and sweet ones who hurdle history and opened a world of possible. The ones who survived American by any means necessary. ” This is for those with “undeniable” strength, “unforgettable” achievements, “unflappable” courage. This is for “unspeakable” pain that was endured. Kwame Alexander’s powerful ode, a celebration of African American survival, achievement, creativity, and resilience, is brimming with references to historical and contemporary people and cultural touchstones, and incorporates direct quotes that speak to past ( “we shall not be moved” ) and present (“black lives matter”). Events and individuals are further illuminated in Kadir Nelson’s stirring oil-on-panel artwork that expands the emotional resonance of the arresting poem that is also a celebration of the promise of every Black youth today: “This is for you. And you. And you. This is for us.” An author’s note is followed by brief information about each of the individuals and events referenced in the narrative and artwork. (Age 8 and older)
CCBC Choices 2020. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020. Used with permission.
Winner of the 2020 Caldecott Medal
A 2020 Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the 2020 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award
The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree.
Originally performed for ESPN's The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.