Becoming a member of the LoveReading4Schools community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unconditional book love and reading recommendations for your students and children.

You can create your own school's page, develop tailored reading lists to share with peers and parents...all helping encourage reading for pleasure in your children.

Find out more

The Undefeated

Written by Kwame Alexander

Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Key Stage 1 Key Stage 2 History People / Places Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

LoveReading View on The Undefeated

A brilliantly bold, poetically rousing picture book presentation of Black American history and achievements.

Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2020

Written for and about “the swift and sweet ones/who hurdled history and opened a world of possible”, for those who “survived America by any means necessary. And the ones who didn’t,” this is an inspiring ode to the author’s forebears and to the world-changing feats of unforgettable Black American figures.

Author Kwame Alexander’s initial inspiration for this book came in the year his second daughter was born, the same year Barack Obama became the first African American president of the USA. As a result, Alexander wanted his daughters “to know how we got to this historic moment”, which is exactly what this stirring book does. The chained slaves who kept faith, the elite Olympians, the innovative musicians, the seminal scientists, the courageous activists - people from all walks of life are celebrated in Alexander’s poetically poised words, and gloriously illustrated by Kadir Nelson, with much for young children to ponder and ask questions about. As well as being a wonderful way for parents to explore Black American history with their little ones on a one-to-one basis, this will also work well with older children in a classroom context. Indeed, this is one of those rare and wonderful picture books that defies age boundaries - a radiant, resonant unforgettable tour de force, as befits its theme.

Joanne Owen

More About This Book

Find out more about the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

And find out more about the UKLA Awards 2021 here


The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson ( Andersen), uniquely could be creatively used across the whole age range and provide multiple impetus for further study. A book that is both beautiful and important, delivering universal messages with such powerful impact. UKLA 2012 Winner of the Information Books category

The Undefeated Synopsis

This is for the unforgettable. The unafraid. The undefeated.

From New York Times bestselling-author Kwame Alexander comes this powerful and important ode to black history: the strength and bravery of everyday people and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest artists, athletes, and activists.

With references to lyrics and lines originally shared by our most celebrated heroes, this poem digs into the not-so-distant past to underline the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.

The Undefeated Press Reviews

A powerful tribute to the African-American experience...This book will fill readers with a sense of the wealth and the cost of history. - New York Times

A beautiful volume that encourages multiple viewings and further research. With a lengthy roster of accolades and best-seller credits between them, this untouchable duo's book will fly off the shelf. - Booklist, starred review

An incredible connector text for young readers eager to graduate to weighty conversations about our yesterday, our now, and our tomorrow - Kirkus, starred review

Alexander's magnificent anthem to the courage and genius of black Americans is paired with stunning portraits by Nelson. - Publishers Weekly, Best Children's and YA Books of 2019

The elegance of the language and the rhythm of the words are married with Kadir Nelson's heart-stoppingly beautiful illustrations and the outcome is an absolutely breathtaking picturebook. - CLPE, Staff Picks 2019

Book Information

ISBN: 9781783449293
Publication date: 20th February 2020
Author: Kwame Alexander
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 40 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2
Topics: History, People / Places, Personal Social Health Economic , Racism / Multi-Culturalism

About Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, public speaker, performer, and winner of the Newbery Medal for his novel-in-verse, The Crossover. He conducts creative writing workshops in middle and high schools, often reaching more than five hundred students monthly. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area. 

More About Kwame Alexander

More Books By Kwame Alexander

Cover for The Crossover Graphic Novel by Kwame Alexander
Cover for The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
Cover for Rebound by Kwame Alexander
View All Books By Kwame Alexander

Share this book