The Undefeated
The Undefeated

The Undefeated

Written by Kwame Alexander & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
6 - 9
Reading age
Page count
Words per page
Lexile measure
Apr 2, 2019
Publication date

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What's The Undefeated About

Publisher Summary

The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree. Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.

What Kind of Book is The Undefeated

Primarily about



Race, Ethnicities, & Nationalities

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • What page of the book was your favorite? Flip to the back of the book and see if you can find any additional information about the focus of the page.
  • Did anything in the book make you uncomfortable? While the sad parts of our history can be painful or uncomfortable to reflect on, why do you think it's important to be reminded of and learn about them?
  • If you are parenting a white child, talk to them about the history of racism and the events of this book. Continue learning about the civil rights movement, and celebrate Black accomplishments.
  • On the "this is for the unspeakable" pages, share what happened in a way that is appropriate for your child's age. It is good to know those things are unspeakable, but our kids need context around these events.


Book Lists That Include The Undefeated

The Creatives Behind the Book

Awards Given to The Undefeated

What Has Kwame Alexander Said About This Book

Nothing yet! Let Kwame Alexander know that you want to hear from them about their book.

What Has Kadir Nelson Said About This Book

Nothing yet! Let Kadir Nelson know that you want to hear from them about their book.

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Book Details

Publication Date
April 2, 2019
Text Details
The text type was set in 1822 Caslon. The display type was set in Burford Rustic. The byline type on the jacket was set in Halyard, a typeface designed by Joshua Dardem.
Illustration Details
The artwork in this book was created using oils on panel.
Page Count
Words Per Page
Reading Age
6 - 9 years
Lib. of Congress (LCCN)
WorldCat Number (OCLC)
Est. Lexile® Level
Est. Fountas & Pinnell Level
ATOS® Book Level
Accelerated Reader® Points
Accelerated Reader Interest Level

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