Kwame Alexander is a writing genius. Hands down.
First he delivered the masterpiece of The Crossover, and then wrote one of the best picture books I’ve ever read called The Undefeated. It’s just phenomenal how he can make words come alive, like really come alive. His poetry is so unique and creative.
Becoming Muhammad Ali is another excellent book in verse by Alexander, co-authored by James Patterson. The duo weaves a story about the boxing legend, before he was a boxing legend. Before he was even Muhammad Ali. It tells the story of him as a boy named Cassius Clay in Louisville, KY; playing with his friends and younger brother, trying to sneak into the all-white playground, and daydreaming about becoming something great. It’s about how Cassius turned into The Greatest.
What I learned from this book is that Muhammad Ali wasn’t always what some people saw him as: a conceited, somewhat arrogant man. He was very humble at heart and deeply cared for others, especially his family. After reading so much about his youth, I want to learn even more about his accomplishments as an adult.
I recommend this book to readers who love in-verse novels like Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson or one of Kwame Alexander’s other amazing novels. This is a middle-grade novel, so late elementary or middle schoolers will enjoy Becoming Muhammad Ali.
I loved this book! Four out of four roses.