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Becoming Muhammad Ali (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest of all time—but what was his life like before he became a professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist? Kwame Alexander and James Patterson give us a fun and fascinating story that shows this larger-than-life figure just being a kid. We see the challenges he faced at a young age, including struggling in school, being bullied, and dealing with racism in 1950s Louisville. We also see how the love and support of his friends and family along with his own focus and determination set 12-year-old Cassius Clay on his incredible path. Each chapter (called "rounds" in this book) alternates between Patterson’s prose and Alexander’s verse. A fast read and an uplifting story. — Holly (RBB Staff)

— From Becoming Muhammad Ali


From two heavy-hitters in children's literature comes a critically acclaimed biographical novel of cultural icon Muhammad Ali.

*"This utterly delightful story about Ali's childhood is a smash hit."
--School Library Journal (starred review)

Five starred reviews!

Before he was a household name, Cassius Clay was a kid with struggles like any other. Kwame Alexander and James Patterson join forces 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.

Fully authorized by and written in cooperation with the Muhammad Ali estate, and vividly brought to life by Dawud Anyabwile's dynamic artwork, Becoming Muhammad Ali captures the budding charisma and youthful personality of one of the greatest sports heroes of all time.

About the Author

Kwame Alexander is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books, including his Newbery Medal-winning novel The Crossover and The Undefeated, winner of the Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor. He is the founding editor of Versify, which aims to change the world one word at a time.

James Patterson is the world's bestselling author. The creator of Max Einstein and Middle School, he founded JIMMY Patterson to publish books that young readers will love. He lives in Florida with his family.

Praise For…

Praise for Becoming Muhammad Ali:-

*A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today's readers.
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*"The prose and poems reflect Clay's both public bravado and private humbleness as well as his appreciation and respect for family and friends. A knockout!"
Booklist, starred review

*"This utterly delightful story about Ali's childhood is a smash hit. Get this uplifting, informative book onto library shelves and into kid's hands."
School Library Journal, starred review

*"Cassius's narrative illustrates his charisma, drive, and work to know who you are."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Patterson and Alexander, two heavyweights in the world of books, unite to tell the story of how Cassius Clay grew up to be Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers of all time."
The Horn Book Review, starred review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316498166
ISBN-10: 0316498165
Publisher: jimmy patterson
Publication Date: October 5th, 2020
Pages: 320
Series: Becoming Ali