Total Pageviews

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We Are The Ship

Have you read this book? It's not just a book, it's a work of art. Literally. Kadir Nelson wrote and illustrated it. Kadir is an incredible painter, and has been working on this book for years. It is the story of the Negro Baseball League.

Every year when I'm planning my curriculum, I get on the ALA (American Library Association) website and look at the notable books from the previous year. You can count on them choosing the best of the best. They are librarians after all. When I saw this book I knew I had to get it. I always try to have something special around Martin Luther King Jr. Day and this was a perfect example of quality African American literature and art. It just so happened to have won the Coretta Scott King award for excellence, too.
Here are the boys taking their test since they just finished the book. They focused on two informational text standards and it took them about two weeks to finish the book. They loved it because there were pictures.

Just look at this illustration! Kadir wrote that he was influenced by Ken Burns's baseball documentary and became fixated on the story of the Negro League. It is indeed a fascinating subject. He said that doing the research was the most difficult thing but that he had a lot of help and encouragement. He writes, "I h ope that I have done justice to these somewhat forgotten men and given them the tribute that they deserve. I have tried to honor them, to portray them as the heroes they were, and to further solidify their place in history. I hope that the reader will agree."

We do, Kadir. We most certainly do.


  1. Nice review. At my post on "We Are the Ship" I have a link to a a Negro League word search and a Jackie Robinson coloring page (based on that last painting you show). Thought your kids might enjoy it.

  2. Thanks Jill! I know where I'll go from now on for some excellent reviews! Love your blog.