Bluestem 2021: The Undefeated

Posted by Kerrie Huizinga on 4/16/2020

The Undefeated (Caldecott Medal Book): Alexander, Kwame, Nelson ...

Today's book from the 2021 Bluestem Award Nominee List is The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander. (Book is available as an ebook from the Digital Library of Illinois. Access through Bloomington Public Library.)

This book won the 2020 Caldecott medal and is based on a poem the author started writing in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president. The poem is an ode to the history of African Americans, their struggles and their triumphs. Each page has illustrations of famous African Americans or important moments in African American history.

Not only is this a powerful poem but the illustrations by Kadir Nelson are beautiful and realistically rendered. One of my favorite parts of this book is the list at the end of the book of "Historical Figures and Events." The author gives a short summary of each person and important event. Many of these were people I already knew about but some like Romare Bearden and Phyllis Wheatley were new to me. No matter how much you think you already know about African American history, this book will inspire you to learn more!

Author Kwame Alexander's website

At Home with Kwame - website with writing tips and other learning resources