The Undefeated


The Undefeated celebrates the unforgettable, the survivors…. and those who did not survive. Kwame Alexander’s narrative poem acclaims history makers of America, who suffered and fought oppression and continue to do so. From those in chains, to those in rings or courts, to those on the White House lawn, we celebrate the determined fight and progress of African- Americans.

This title is significant to us as an historical record of progress, loss, survival, achievement and unfairness. There are familiar figures within Alexander’s roll call, from Ella Fitzgerald to Serena Williams. However just as important are those people who have been erased from history because of their race.

Kadir Nelson’s pictures are magnificent. His arrangements of photo realistic painted portraits, to the searing clarity of white doves in flight, demonstrate huge consideration and skill. This is a work of impact and meaning. Bookwagon is so proud to present The Undefeated to our readers.

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The Undefeated

Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

(Andersen Press)

The Undefeated is a poem of respect to those who have survived against the odds. It’s a register of people who have defied insurmountable odds of oppression, misunderstanding, mistrust and opposition because of their race. Kwame Alexander, award winning poet novelist of Booked amongst other works, began writing this work more than ten years ago. He sought to recognise the trailblazers in American history who dared to stand up to prejudice, and break down barriers. However, this poem continues the fight for he acknowledges those who have been overwhelmed and misjudged, alongside those people of colour who continue the fight. The language is glorious- ‘This is for the unlimited,/ unstoppable ones./ The dreamers/ and doers/ who swim/ across The Big Sea of our imagination….’ Thereafter, Kadir Nelson’s pictures are quite magnificent. Somehow he empowers each photo realistic image with significance and strength.
The Undefeated is meaningful. The figures Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson celebrate deserve our recognition and acclaim. Meanwhile, this title merits its reward as a Caldecott Winner.


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