The Undefeated. A new book for children.
Our beloved author Kwame Alexander, author of The Crossover, won the American Library Association’s 2020 Randolph Caldecott Medal with illustrator Kadir Nelson for The Undefeated. This book was originally performed for ESPN’s show by the same name, and offers history, perspective on the present, and insight into the future.
“This is for the unflappable. The sophisticated ones who box adversity and tackle vision.”
A recent conversation
A colleague and I were chatting after the recent holiday celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She has a kindergarten-aged daughter, and was teaching her about Dr. King’s life and work, and why we honor him. A child’s innocent questions about the cause of Dr. King’s death came up in their talk, and my colleague had to figure out, without time to prepare, how to explain to a young child about shootings with a gun (not a shot from a nurse with a needle) and killings and the hatred and fear that cause such actions.
This new book can help
I didn’t know then, but I know now, of the poem and book named The Undefeated. This book is age-appropriate for young children. The Undefeated acknowledges suffering, pain and loss, individually and collectively, in a way that opens the door for heartfelt discussions among family and friends about our history, our present, and our future. It is sensitive and profound. It is real.
Alexander’s and Nelson’s work also celebrates achievements, milestones, barrier-breaking. The Undefeated recognizes the arts, music, sports, bravery. The poetry very beautifully provides the foundation for discussion without taking over the conversation. And the illustrations are sad and heartbreaking and beautiful and liberating as the poem moves through history.
And in the end, The Undefeated is for today’s children, pictured in Nelson’s final illustration.
We purchased a copy for our center. You will find it in our family room on the main floor.
We hope you are as touched by it as we have been. Please read and share.