A little while back I blogged about Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Peña. That book is a YA novel, edgy and quick paced, quite fabulous, but definitely for middle school and up.
Here, we have a completely different kind of book by the same author. This is a picture book, illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson. The story is about the 1938 boxing match between the heavyweight champion, an African American, Joe Louis and the German fighter Max Schmeling. Now perhaps that doesn't seem like much, but at the start of World war II, this was a VERY important match, and not just in the boxing world. Max Schmeling was the only man to have knocked Joe Louis down in a match before. Max Schmeling was a sort of poster child for Hitler's perfect race and a symbol of Hitler's regime. the whole country was rooting for Joe Louis, regardless of their skin color. Again, to many of you reading this blog, that probably doesn't seem like much, but in the 1930's, there was a lot of discrimination against people of color.
This is a fascinating story, well told and beautifully illustrated. Highly recommended.