#SurvivalStories2021 Award-Winning Books Early Readers Features Genre Horror and Deliverance in Books Lifespan of a Reader Middle Grade Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] To The Unbending, The Undiscovered, and The Unlimited

"The Undefeated" by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson.

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

Our reading theme for October – December is Horror and Deliverance in Books. For nonfiction titles, we are targeting the following books that fit the following deliberately-nebulous criteria:

  1. picturebook biographies of people who write creepy or scary stories
  2. picturebook biographies of people who bring to light injustices and fight for redemption and deliverance from the horrors of inequality
  3. picturebook biographies of people who are light-bearers

This particular title fits our theme on deliverance from daily horrors that most people of color have to endure in this lifetime, and also resonate deeply with our annual reading theme on #SurvivalStories2021.


The Undefeated (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Kwame Alexander Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Published by Versify (2019) Literary Awards: Newbery Medal Nominee (2020), National Book Award Nominee, Young People’s Literature (2019), Caldecott Medal (2020), Coretta Scott King Book Award, Illustrator (2020), Monarch Award Nominee (2021), Kirkus Prize Nominee, Young Readers’ Literature (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee, Picture Books (2019) ISBN: 9781328780966 (ISBN10: 1328780961) Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

I am in awe of Kadir Nelson’s artistic prowess and bowled over by Kwame Alexander’s powerful verse – hence this is a collaboration that is not to be missed.

There is power here – and light – and leashed fury. It lays bare the atrocities that are “unspeakable” juxtaposed with the radiant and unbending.

The strength of this poetry lies in its giving space for the “undiscovered” – the amazing people who are yet to come and make a difference in this bright, broken, beautiful world we live in.

The backmatter that provides biographical sketches of each person portrayed in the pages of this gorgeous book is quite extensive and written with thoughtful deliberation. This picturebook has inspired me to devote 2022 to featuring social justice themed picturebooks. We need more books like this.


#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 104 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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