Here is a book to not miss, one that takes only a few minutes to read but can be studied for a long time.
“The Undefeated” is the rare children’s book to be honored both with a Newbery honor (for prose) and the Randolph Caldecott Medal (for illustration). How rare? This has happened only three times in the nearly 100-year history of the awards.
The text is a poem by Kwame Alexander, an appreciation of and homage to black Americans, “the ones who survived America by any means necessary. And the ones who didn’t.”
The powerful poem fits beautifully with Kadir Nelson’s realistic paintings of soldiers, boxers, churchgoers, singers, children. Some are of people you will recognize — Wilma Rudolph, Trayvon Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Martin Luther King. And Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair, the four children killed in the Birmingham church bombing in 1963. In the context of this powerful book, their story is one more reason to — as Alexander says in his afterword — “never, ever give up. … Keep rising.”