Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is the author of 37 books, The Undefeated, How to Read a Book, Swing, Rebound and his middle grade novel, The Crossover. As the host of the new kid’s television program, WordPlay, and Founding Editor of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Kwame aims to Change the World One Word at a Time. James Patterson is a prolific author who has written detective stories, thrillers, science fiction, romance and young adult novels. Many of Patterson’s books have featured Detective Alex Cross, the protagonist of Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, and Pop Goes the Weasel. He holds The New York Times record for most #1 New York Times bestsellers by a single author. The creator of the Max Einstein series and founded JIMMY Patterson to publish books that young readers will love. Illustrator Dawud Anyabwile, formerly known as David J. A. Sims, produced the Brotherman Comics series which was instrumental in bringing awareness to Black owned comic book publishing companies.

Before he was a household name, Cassius Clay was a kid with struggles like any other. In Becoming Muhammad Ali (Jimmy Patterson) Alexander and Patterson join forces with illustrator Dawud Anyabwile to vividly depict his life up to age seventeen in both prose and verse, including his childhood friends, struggles in school, the racism he faced, and his discovery of boxing. Readers will learn about Cassius’ family and neighbors in Louisville, Kentucky, and how, after a thief stole his bike, Cassius began training as an amateur boxer at age twelve. Before long, he won his first Golden Gloves bout and began his transformation into the unrivaled Muhammad Ali. Kirkus reviews celebrated it noting that “the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change.”