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Muhammad Ali: Champion of the World
Category->Ethnic Studies
Muhammad Ali: Champion of the World

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By Jonah Winter and Francois Roca (Illustrator). In the history of legendary boxers, there was Joe Louis and Sonny Liston...and then, “the heavens opened up, and there appeared a great man descending on a cloud, jump-roping into the Kingdom of Boxing. And he was called Cassius Clay.” Clay let everyone know that he was the greatest boxer in the world. He converted to the Nation of Islam, refused to be drafted into a war in which he didn’t believe, and boxed his way back to the top after being stripped of his title. The man that came to be known as Muhammad Ali was heard in a voice no one will ever forget. Schwartz & Wade (January 8, 2008), English, Young Reading Edition (age 4-8), Hardcover: 40 pages.

 

Muhammad Ali: Champion of the World begins not with Ali, but with Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world, and then moves on to champions Joe Louis and Sonny Liston. All were great in the ring, but as the questioner asks: “Is that all there is to a boxer?” It is not, of course. “There appeared a great man descending on a cloud, jump-roping into the Kingdom of Boxing,” and Ali is portrayed running alongside a fifties Cadillac in a driving rain. All of Ali’s considerable charisma is vividly captured by Roca’s oil paintings—we see Ali both leading groups of people and facing off in the ring, and always he has that gleam in his eye that could be mischievous or turn malignant. As it tells the story of Ali’s career, culminating with his triumph in the Rumble in the Jungle, this book skillfully introduces young readers not only to Ali’s career and life story but also to his significance. “Muhammad Ali was a new kind of boxer—and a new kind of person,” the kind of African American who is “proud, strong, willing to fight.”--John Green

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