cover image Heroic Heart: An Illustrated Biography of Joe Delaney

Heroic Heart: An Illustrated Biography of Joe Delaney

Frank Murphy and Charnaie Gordon, illus. by Anastasia Magloire Williams. Triumph, $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-6372-7316-6

Via brief free-verse poems, this fact-forward picture book biography from Murphy and Gordon highlights the career and legacy of American football running back Joe Delaney (1958–1983). Moving quickly through his birth and childhood, the creators next detail Delaney’s first loves (“running./ Then running with a football”) and desire to play pro football. His siblings, recognizing his talent, took on his chores to allow him time to train. Spreads run beat by beat through his marriage, college football, pro career, and dedication to family and community before delving into his death trying to save three boys from drowning in a pond, then lingering on the aftermath of that event and the way his “heroic heart lives on.” In panels and full spreads, fine-lined portraiture from Magloire Williams highlights moments and people in Joe’s life. Back matter includes information about Delaney and a creator’s note. Ages 6–12. (Oct.)