Me and Muhammad Ali by Jabari Asim, Illustrated by AG Ford

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books

Summary:  Langston is excited when he learns that Muhammad Ali is coming to his town. Langston admires Ali as much for his poetry as for his fighting, and his mom likes that the boxer is fighting to make the world a better place.  On the day of the big event, Langston gets his Afro shaped to look just like his hero’s, listening to the men in the barbershop talk about their own athletic exploits as well as their stories of Muhammad Ali.  Finally, Langston and his mom arrive at the high school, only to be stopped by a security guard who tells them the event is only for students.  No matter how much they plead with the guard, he refuses to let them inside.  “What’s the problem here?” asks a man, and when Langston looks up, Muhammad Ali is standing right in front of them.  Ali personally escorts them inside, and Langston’s dream comes true.  Includes an author’s note about the 1975 event that inspired this story.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  It’s great to see so many Black history books for younger kids this year.  This one includes some of Muhammad Ali’s poetry, as well as poems that Langston makes up.  The illustrations do a great job of capturing the 1975 vibe.

Cons:  No list of additional resources on Ali.

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