Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Non-Fiction Picture Books Inspire

Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  I always learn from these books, am happy that they are more and more available today for children, for everyone!

          Perhaps you who are reading this have already seen and read Kwame Alexander's poem, The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. I had not but finally was able to get the book. The poem, first performed for ESPN's 'The Undefeated", includes references to words first said by the people celebrated. Using brief and powerful words for the unforgettable, those who survived, and didn't, the unflappable and those who shone, Kadir Nelson's beautiful art expands those brief words into what feels like a long, long look. Both did not forget the unspeakable, too. Black.Lives.Matter!

                   Here is one special group of words, accompanied by Nelson's image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
                            This is for the unlimited,
                              unstoppable ones,
                              The dreamers
                               and doers
                               who swim
                               across The Big Sea
                               of our imagination
                               and show us
                               the majestic shores
                               of the promised land:

        How wonderful it would be to use this book in classrooms, each student learning about one or more, perhaps writing a poem or prose piece for a performance celebration? If you have it for a class, or for your grandchildren, it is one to read aloud, to savor the pictures and if you don't recognize them, to discover them as new people to know.
         The book ends with a glossary of the figures acknowledged in the book and an afterword by Alexander, who writes that he wrote the poem in 2008, the year his second daughter, Samayah, was born. "Three months later, Barack Obama became the first African American president of the United States." This poem is his tribute to both.

         Throughout the pages, cranes are flying, perhaps showing the "rising" written about by Maya Angelou that Alexander references in his Afterword: "I did get knocked down flat in front of the whole world, and I rose." 


  1. I "read" this to my two-year-old grandson. The text was too long (though beautiful) for him, but we were both entranced by the illustrations. So beautiful!

    1. Aw, that's wonderful. I imagine you'll read it with him again!

  2. Linda, Kwame was on Long Island a week and a half ago and he showed me this magnificent book. Your post reminded me to gather the photos of the barbecue get-together and post them to FaceBook.

    1. That is fabulous, Carol. It is so, so special, another book that makes me want to be in the classroom again!


Thanks for visiting!