The Undefeated

By Kwame Alexander, Kadir Nelson (illustrator),

Book cover of The Undefeated

Book description

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…

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. (learn more)

Why read it?

3 authors picked The Undefeated as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Kwame Alexander is a creative force of nature, an award-winning author of poetry and children’s fiction, such as Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, Becoming Muhammad Ali, co-authored with James Patterson, and The Crossover, soon to be a Disney+ television series. In The Undefeated, Alexander displays masterful lyrical language skills, and by telling us what we are not, shows us what we are: resilient, strong, and brave. Read this book to Black children and bask in the love.

From Charlotte's list on life-affirming books for Black children.

So gorgeous! The wonderful poetry and masterful images will surely open up a discussion about the many African Americans portrayed in the masterful illustrations. There is an afterward at the end that gives a little bit of information about the figures portrayed which, I hope will lead you and your kids to investigate your favorites further. Also, Kadir Nelson is one of my favorite illustrators of all time!

It’s a poetry picture book, but it works for basically any school-aged child - even high school - because of how the author writes about Black life, struggles, and triumphs over time. Every time we read this book as a family, we learn something new - either about a point in time in history, about an important person, or about how we can think about our world and our communities differently. Plus, we love the author Kwame Alexander!

Want books like The Undefeated?

Our community of 6,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like The Undefeated.

Browse books like The Undefeated

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in African Americans, Langston Hughes, and anti-racism?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about African Americans, Langston Hughes, and anti-racism.

African Americans Explore 474 books about African Americans
Langston Hughes Explore 10 books about Langston Hughes
Anti-Racism Explore 13 books about anti-racism