But, ah, well, you didnít get it. You worked and you begged
and maybe you even saved but you didnít get what it was that
you wanted. You were sad, but you got over it. Youíll try
again, work harder, save more and, as in The
Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson, one
day, youíll reach your goal.
This book is just for you. But itís something you have to
share because itís ďfor the unforgettable,Ē too. Itís for
those people who opened the doors to all kinds of new
opportunities for everyone, but they never became famous for
Itís for people who did whatever it took to get to America,
to thrive and find a home and happiness. This book is for
people who struggled, and for those who didnít.
Itís about people who were strong and were admired for that
strength. Itís for those who believed in themselves but who
also put their faith in a higher power. Itís for those who
ďtackle visionĒ and those who donít hide their light behind
Itís for soldiers and dancers, marchers and players, boxers
and parents and kids, and itís for you. Itís for Black lives
that matter and for the people who never got a chance to
know that. Itís because of the ďunspeakable.Ē
Share this book for those who wonít be stopped, whoíll keep
dreaming and reaching and imagining and proving. Itís for
the athletes we know, and for the ones we donít know about
yet. Itís for performers we sing along with, and for songs
not written. Itís for those who tried and tried until the
last breath they had.
Youíll have to share it, but this book is for you. Itís ďfor
is one of those things thatís really had to nail down.
Itís a quick read that may be too quick for some
kids; itís over almost before it begins because author Kwame
Alexanderís words are spare and not very attention-grabbing
for the very youngest of children. It doesnít help that the
picture-book-style illustrations are attractive but they
arenít particularly colorful or active.
For gradeschoolers, none of that will matter because The
Undefeated is a poem set to picture and itís
inspirational for them, especially if theyíre just learning
about African American history. But thereís a possibility
for those kids that the power behind the illustrations by
Kadir Nelson might be missed because the stories of the
people in this book are at the end and not always with
Adults, however, might find this book to be a treasure.
Alexanderís poem pulses with strength and the artwork, from
an adultís POV, is perfectly rendered. You may recognize the
people depicted Ė and if not, thereís always the back of the
The trick, perhaps, is to carefully share this book with the
child you love, explain, and let it spark conversation. Once
kids understand, The Undefeated is a book theyíll
want very much.