Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is Born (Paperback)
"A high-quality children’s biography that little readers are sure to enjoy. There are themes of hard work, determination, overcoming obstacles, boxing, sports, persistence, and confidence—something Muhammad Ali clearly had plenty of."*
In this picture book biography of Muhammad Ali, author Gene Barretta and illustrator Frank Morrison tell the unforgettable childhood story of this legendary boxing champion and how one pivotal moment set him on his path to become the Greatest of All Time.
The Louisville Lip. The Greatest. The People’s Champion. Muhammad Ali had many nicknames. But before he became one of the most recognizable faces in the world, before the nicknames and the championships, before he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, he was twelve-year-old Cassius Clay riding a brand-new red-and-white bicycle through the streets of Louisville, Kentucky. One fateful day, this proud and bold young boy had that bike stolen, his prized possession, and he wouldn’t let it go. Not without a fight.
This would be the day he discovered boxing. And a champion was born.
Back matter includes biographical overview, photos, bibliography, and more resources.
Frank Morrison is the award-winning illustrator of many books for young readers, including Jazzy Miz Mozetta by Brenda C. Roberts, winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; Katheryn Russell-Brown's Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book; and Gene Barretta's Muhammad Ali. Before becoming a children's book illustrator and fine artist, Morrison toured the globe as a break-dancer. He lives in Georgia with his family. You can visit him online at www.morrisongraphics.com.
“There are highlights of his boxing fame, later years and racial-justice and humanitarian work. Morrison gives the art a joyful zing and a serious yet eminently kid-friendly vibe.” — New York Times Book Review
“Boxing legend Muhammad Ali comes to life for young readers. Close-up, in-your-face oil illustrations and a lively text design with plenty of onomatopoeia (”POW! POW! POW!”) and quotations from the champ give readers a sense of the life and style of the great Muhammad Ali.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Working in acrylic, Morrison creates visceral, dynamic action shots, whether it’s a young Cassius racing down a rainy street on his bicycle or an opening fight sequence...An extensive afterword fills in details about Ali’s life, faith, and activism.” — Publishers Weekly
“Morrison’s dynamic oil paintings complement Barretta’s lively text, capturing a self-assured Ali in detailed spreads. Action scenes full of movement and intensity draw readers into the boxing ring and depict Ali’s growth from a gangly youth to a dominant athlete.” — School Library Journal
“The book emphasizes the positive role model Ali became as he fought against racial and religious prejudice.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Praise for The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver: "An expressive picture book... Barretta creates a strong impression of Carver’s delight in nature, drive to learn, and sense of purpose. The oil paintings by Morrison, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor recipient, reinforce those impressions with glorious scenes of the woodland garden and sensitive, dignified portrayals of Carver." — Booklist (starred review)
"The beautiful oil on board illustrations show the wonder of young Carver as he contemplates the petals on a flower or the first green sprouts of spring. Barretta’s prose, combined with Morrison’s art, fully illuminates the depth of Carter’s considerable contributions to the science of agriculture, the farming community, and racial equality… A well-thought-out biography that highlights a different side of Carver and will be a first purchase for school and public library collections." — School Library Journal (starred review)
"The substantial text holds readers on each spread long enough to appreciate not only the subject matter of the painted illustrations, but Morrison's artistic techniques—strong strokes and careful dots, artful combinations of textures and shapes... Memorable art earns this biography a respectable place on the shelf. " — Kirkus Reviews
"Barretta opens this sensitive biography on a moment of triumph as Carver overcomes the scorn of a roomful of white congressmen in 1921... Through myriad lush garden scenes and impressive portraiture by Morrison, Carver emerges as a generous figure, a “living folk hero,” able to do whatever he set out to and “always ready to serve humanity.”" — Publishers Weekly