Books by Kadir Nelson

BABY BEAR by Kadir Nelson
Released: Jan. 7, 2014

"Resonant. (Picture book. 4-7)"
The award-winning Nelson turns from nuanced treatments of historical subjects to this exploration of a classic preschool trope: a lost animal's search for home. Read full book review >
NELSON MANDELA by Kadir Nelson
Released: Jan. 2, 2013

"A beautifully designed book that will resonate with children and the adults who wisely share it with them. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)"
An inspirational ode to the life of the great South African leader by an award-winning author and illustrator. Read full book review >
I HAVE A DREAM by Kadir Nelson
Released: Oct. 9, 2012

"A title for remembrance and for re-dedication to the dream, published in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. (Informational picture book. 5 & up)"
An award-winning artist captures the passion and purpose of this most notable 20th-century American speech in beautifully realized oil paintings. Read full book review >
HEART AND SOUL by Kadir Nelson
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 27, 2011

"This intimate narrative makes the stories accessible to young readers and powerfully conveys how personal this history feels for many African-Americans. (Nonfiction. 10 & up)"
In an undertaking even more ambitious than the multiple-award-winning We Are the Ship (2008), Nelson tells the story of African-Americans and their often central place in American history. Read full book review >
A NATION'S HOPE by Matt de la Peña
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2011

"No backmatter is included to expand upon a story that seems as perfunctory as the one-round match itself. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)"
When Joe Louis fought Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium in 1938, the bout was for more than the heavyweight title; it was the coming together of Black and White America against Nazi oppression. Read full book review >
MAMA MITI by Donna Jo Napoli
Released: Jan. 5, 2010

"Deserving of a special place with Claire Nivola's Planting the Trees of Kenya (2008), this is, in a word, stunning. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Napoli adopts a folkloric narrative technique to showcase the life work of Wangari Maathai, whose seminal role in Kenya's reforestation earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Read full book review >
TESTING THE ICE by Sharon Robinson
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"This fond daughter's reminiscence is a welcome addition to the life story of one of America's best-known athletes and civil-rights advocates. (Picture book/memoir. 7-10)"
In 1955 Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers beat out the Yankees and the Robinson family left New York City for a secluded home in Connecticut. Read full book review >
ALL GOD’S CRITTERS by Bill Staines
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: Jan. 27, 2009

""All God's critters got a place in the choir," indeed. (Picture Book. 4-8)"
The catchy, feel-good folk song comes to life like never before in this spirited production. Read full book review >
CHANGE HAS COME by Kadir Nelson
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 13, 2009

"The unabashed feeling conveyed in every loose line helps to make this a lovely memento, just in time for Inaguration Day. (Picture book. All ages)"
Two-time Caldecott Honor winner Nelson here gives up his studied compositions and meticulous applications of color in favor of quick, emotion-laden graphite sketches that commemorate Barack Obama's groundbreaking campaign and victory. Read full book review >
CORETTA SCOTT by Ntozake Shange
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

"A double-page spread of freedom marchers carrying American flags silhouetted against a yellow sky will resonate with children and linger in their minds. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)"
There have been many books written about Martin Luther King Jr., but precious few about Coretta Scott King. Read full book review >
ABE’S HONEST WORDS by Doreen Rappaport
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 7, 2008

Rappaport plainly explicates the major events in Abraham Lincoln's life from his poor beginnings to the assassin's bullet. Read full book review >
WE ARE THE SHIP by Kadir Nelson
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 8, 2008

"Along with being absolutely riveted by the art, readers will come away with a good picture of the Negro Leaguers' distinctive style of play, as well as an idea of how their excellence challenged the racial attitudes of both their sport and their times. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)"
Nelson continues to top himself with each new book. Read full book review >
MICHAEL’S GOLDEN RULES by Deloris Jordan
FICTION
Released: Jan. 23, 2007

"Someone, somewhere, needs to think about some golden rules of writing for children. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Michael Jordan's mother and sister return with another story about his childhood, this one more didactic than Salt in His Shoes (2003). Read full book review >
HENRY’S FREEDOM BOX by Ellen Levine
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

Nelson's powerful portraits add a majestic element to Levine's history-based tale of Henry "Box" Brown, a slave who escaped by having himself mailed to freedom in a crate. Read full book review >
MOSES by Carole Boston Weatherford
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

"Transcendent. (foreword, author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)"
In elegant free verse, Weatherford imagines Tubman's remarkable escape from slavery and her role in guiding hundreds to freedom. Read full book review >
PLEASE, PUPPY, PLEASE by Spike Lee
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 2005

"A memorable climactic spread (with no text) shows the puppy bringing his ball back to the children, showing that the kids really can control their puppy after all. (Picture book. 2-6)"
Two adorable African-American preschoolers, a boisterous puppy and a marmalade cat are the characters in this exuberant story suitable for children from toddlers to those just learning to read a few words on their own. Read full book review >
HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS by Kadir Nelson
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"Moving, reverent, spiritual indeed. (musical arrangement to close) (Picture book. 5-7)"
Nelson uses the old spiritual—offered here, astonishingly, in its first singleton, illustrated edition, though it's available in many collections—as a springboard to celebrate family togetherness. Read full book review >
THE REAL SLAM DUNK by Charisse K. Richards
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

"Not quite a slam-dunk, but the straightforward, accessible story will invite them to stay for the end of the game. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Marcus and Mia Robinson, genial elementary-school–aged twins, are excited about meeting fictional NBA star Jason Carter. Read full book review >
HEWITT ANDERSON’S GREAT BIG LIFE by Jerdine Nolen
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Jan. 1, 2005

"Here's proof that, when it comes to heart, physical size isn't the whole story. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Low on suspense but high on sheer feel-goodness, this Tom Thumb–like original tale will elicit sighs of content from readers and listeners needing a change of pace. Read full book review >
ELLINGTON WAS NOT A STREET by Ntozake Shange
POETRY
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

"Exquisite. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Deeply colored paintings enrich this homage to African-American men who made history and influenced culture, including Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, Dizzy Gillespie, and W.E.B. DuBois. Read full book review >
THUNDER ROSE by Jerdine Nolen
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Throughout, she shows a reflective bent that gives her more dimension than most tall-tale heroes: a doff of the Stetson to her and her creators. (author's note) (Picture book. 7-9)"
Nolen and Nelson offer a smaller, but no less gifted counterpart to Big Jabe (2000) in this new tall tale. Read full book review >
PLEASE, BABY, PLEASE by Spike Lee
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2002

"The repetitive text, sunny illustrations, and entirely familiar scenarios will make this a favorite of parents and children alike. (Picture book. 1-4)"
Parents and caregivers will recognize the ritualistic pleading that takes place when spending the day with a toddler. Read full book review >
UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"Both poetry and art succeed in being forceful without being preachy and sweet without being saccharine. (Poetry. 6-10)"
Grimes (Talkin' About Bessie, p. 1530, etc.) explores the Christmas season through a poetic prism, examining both positive and negative aspects of the holiday. Read full book review >
THE VILLAGE THAT VANISHED by Ann Grifalconi
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

In this powerful tale presented in the style of African storytelling, a girl, mother, and grandmother draw upon their individual strengths to help save their Yao village from slave traders. Read full book review >
JUST THE TWO OF US by Will Smith
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: May 1, 2001

"This might make reading awkward for happily married fathers, but it's a unique and beautiful title, and for some it will fit the bill. (Picture book. 6-10)"
The lyrics from Smith's rap (of the same title) are beautifully illustrated here in this selection for one-on-one reading that celebrates the bond between father and son. Read full book review >
SALT IN HIS SHOES by Deloris Jordan
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

"Put this next to the shoes, ball, and Bulls jersey under the tree. (Picture Book. 6-9)"
Mother and sister combine to tell of a sweet-natured family reminiscence based on the childhood of America's most famous athlete: the one and only Michael Jordan. Read full book review >
DANCING IN THE WINGS by Debbie Allen
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"Little girls who long for pretty tutus and pointe shoes of their own will like this sassy lassie. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Dancer-choreographer Allen (of Fame fame) joins forces again with Nelson (Big Jabe, p. 565) in their second dance-themed picture book, following Brothers of the Knight (1999). Read full book review >