Ali: An American Champion

Barry Denenberg. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0141-8
Using fictional news articles and other documents he creates, Denenberg (Titanic Sinks!) introduces readers to an unvarnished Muhammad Ali. The fabricated headlines, ringside reporting, letters to the editor and man-on-the-street interviews deliver myriad facts and the opinions, moving chronologically through the edgy pugilist's life and career. The author's voice is perhaps heard most clearly in the editorializing commentary of "reporter" Keith Kincaid. His articles for the invented Sportsworld Weekly follow Ali from his gold-medal win in the 1960 Rome Olympics to his shaky Olympic flame lighting in Atlanta in 1996. Reflecting on Ali's life, Kincaid writes, "I had a front-row seat as the big show rolled into town, because no one reflected and refracted the times like Ali did." Contextualizing Ali's story are spreads featuring b&w archival photos and summaries of significant events that shaped the 1960s and 1970s (the March on Washington, the Vietnam War). While Denenberg's unique storytelling format, with its lengthy articles in small newsprint typeface, might be daunting to some, his accessible "reportage" weaves a captivating biography of the iconic sports figure. A timeline and extensive bibliography are included. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 64 pages - 978-1-4814-0143-2
Paperback - 96 pages - 978-1-4814-0142-5
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