cover image Me and Muhammad Ali: My Day with Muhammad Ali

Me and Muhammad Ali: My Day with Muhammad Ali

Jabari Asim, illus. by AG Ford. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3988-1

Asim pays tribute to Muhammad Ali (1942–2016) in this uplifting picture book about a child’s encounter with the boxer. Young Langston, portrayed as Black, is overjoyed upon spotting a flyer announcing an upcoming visit from his hero, Ali. Leading up to the athlete’s arrival, metropolitan scenes paint tg exalted picture of him: kids trade boastful Ali-inspired rhymes on the playground; at home, Mom reflects on the champ’s honesty; and at the barbershop, someone recounts a famous fight. Momentary tension arises around Langston’s entering the event, but Ali comes to the rescue, inspiring the boy’s concluding lines: “I’m quick and I’m strong./ I’m Black and I’m free./ I’m brave and I’m bold,/ like Muhammad Ali.” With vibrant colors, Ford’s acrylic paintings evoke the pride Langston and his community take in Ali. An author’s note concludes. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)