Barretta, Gene Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born, illustrated by Frank Morrison PICTURE BOOK. 25 pgs. Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins), 2017. $18.00
This picture book is the story of Muhammad Ali, though before his conversion to the Muslim faith, he was named Cassius Clay. We learn of the segregation in his home town and how having his bicycle stolen was the very thing that started him on his path to boxing fame. Readers also discover how his dedication, hard work, and confidence helped him to achieve his goals. The afterward includes more biographical information including how he was very active politically in his view against discrimination and racism. Large illustrated pages that are easy to share with a group.
This is one of the best picture book biographies I have read in a long time. I felt like I was watching a movie. First off the artwork is full of movement and very engaging. Secondly, the events are written so that it grabs the readers attention and isn’t too wordy. Could be shared as part of a biography unit, a sports unit, a civil rights unit, a unit on famous African Americans or famous people that are Muslim. I had this on my desk at work and already have a waiting list for students who want to check it out.
EL(K-3), EL –ESSENTIAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.