Book Review: The Undefeated
by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Publication Date: Apr 02, 2019
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Parent Company: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Book Reviewed by Vanessa Vanzie
ℐf you have been searching for a book that will fill a child with the greatest sense of self-worth just for being who they are, then look no further. Talented author, Kwame Alexander has placed the representation bar higher than the stratosphere in his book, The Undefeated. His poetic writing style fuses seamlessly with the bold illustrations of Kadir Nelson. Written as a tribute to his second daughter and the nation’s first African American President, Barack Obama, Alexander wants to inspire all people of color to “keep rising”. Together, these artists have perfectly captured the essence of Black pride.
This is a book that will initially require some “woke” adult guidance. You would not want an impressionable child of color to miss a single gem of historical information that is detailed throughout the poem and in the full color pages of artwork. Inquiring young minds will begin to ponder over each line of the poem and every page that exhibits native figures from the past and the present. It will be your honored task to enlighten a young child who will ask questions about the strange faces that carry a certain familiarity. Fortunately for you, if you are not fully acquainted with all of the featured Black heroes by name, Alexander has placed a “historical figures and events” reference page in the back of the book. There you will find a brief synopsis that entails the African American figures’ dates of birth, death and accomplishments. It is just enough to wet the appetite which, hopefully, will lead to a search for more information, books and, videos about each historic individual represented in the book. If that is not enough, you will be pleased to find an extra added bonus on the last page of the book. Alexander gives the readers an opportunity to download a free audio version of the poem.
Alexander has brilliantly written a book that will create an atmosphere of unity wrapped in culture and tied in a beautiful bow of wisdom. New heights of empowerment will be attained through the careful reading of this poem. Self-love is encompassed within the pages of Alexander’s poetic hardcover book. What an invaluable literary gift to bestow on a young person who is living in a world that seeks to negate the majesty of African culture. The author has intentionally placed seeds of hope in every line of the poem so that we parents, guardians and teachers can cultivate, in every African American child, a garden of adroit minds and lovely spirits for a higher purpose and a brighter future.