Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis

In a time when America had a sharp divide between black and white, the country banded together around an African-American boxer as he challenged Germany's Max Schmeling for the world heavyweight title on the eve of World War II.

 A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt de la Pena and illustrated by Kadir Nelson is one of The New York Times Best Illustrated Childrens' Books for 2011.  It is also my January review for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012.

Not surprisingly for a Kadir Nelson book, this is a richly illustrated account with a powerful sense of realism mixed in with the artistry.  Shadow and light is used to great effect and scenes are framed in unique ways to force a different perspective.  De la Pena's text is simple and to-the-point, making it accessible to younger readers while not skirting the difficult issues brought up by a story framed in the racism of both America and Germany in the 1940s.  This is a wonderful introduction to a too-often-unsung hero of the African-American community and America as a whole.

A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis is published by Dial and retails for $17.99 (hardcover).  I read my copy by picking it up from the shelves for a few minutes.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

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