Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson, Kwame Alexander, and Dawud Anyabwile (illustrator)
Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 5, 2020
Cassius Clay Jr. was always the greatest—even if everyone didn’t know it yet. Before the world knew him as Muhammad Ali, Cassius hung out with friends, loved his family, and struggled with school, all against the backdrop of 1950s Louisville, Kentucky. In this fictionalized biography, writers James Patterson and Kwame Alexander show the reader Cassius’ life with a mix of prose and poetry.
The book is engaging and full of heart, with fully realized characters and a well-paced plot. The cover draws you in, and Dawud Anyabwile’s art throughout adds to the book’s appeal. The mix of prose and poetry adds interest. Students will be able to see themselves in Cassius and his best friend, Lucky.
Fans of Torrey Maldonado’s What Lane?, Kwame Alexander’s other sports books in verse, and the Track series by Jason Reynolds and those who enjoy playing sports video games, such as Madden NFL 21, NBA 2K21, and FIFA 21, will find a lot to love here.
—Ness Shortley, Pittsboro, NC
Other Nominated Titles
- Every Single Lie by Rachel Vincent (January 12, 2021)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.