Twelve Rounds to Glory

By Charles R. Smith Jr.

Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee in this inspiring biographical guide to the life of boxer Muhammad Ali.

From the moment a fired-up teenager won 1960 Olympic gold to the day when a retired legend, hands shaking from Parkinson’s, returned to raise the Olympic torch, the boxer known as "The Greatest" waged many a fight. Some were in the ring, against opponents like Sonny Liston and Joe Frazier; others were against societal prejudice and a war he refused to support because of his Islamic faith. The rap-inspired verse weaves and bobs and jabs, while bold collage artwork matches every move – capturing the "Louisville loudmouth with the great gift of rhyme" who shed the name Cassius Clay to take on the world as Muhammad Ali.

Categories: Non-Fiction

For readers aged: 9+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780763650025
  • Published: 04 Oct 2010
  • Price: £7.99
  • Size: 255 x 280 mm
  • Pages: 80

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Customer reviews


'Smith's most ambitious project to date…attractive, impressive and dramatic.' Kirkus Reviews

'A visual and textual celebration of the life and times of a great American hero.' Richie’s Picks

'Smith's honest portrayal of Ali's strengths and flaws results in an impressive testimony to a man who never backed down from his beliefs. A first purchase for any collection looking for strong, well-rounded biographies.' School Library Journal

'Twelve Rounds to Glory definitely showcases the myth over the man; but it also provides insight into the nuances of Ali’s personality and the racism he fought with words and fists.' The Horn Book

'It is Charles Smith Jr.’s rhythmic, rap-influenced narratives that make this book so special.' Chicago Tribune

'Celebrates a legendary hero…Brian Collier’s art matches Ali’s every move.' Sunday Republican

'A new picture book with almost as much attitude as its subject…a dense, poetic biography.' Columbus Dispatch

'The life story of the ‘Louisville loudmouth’ is told in poetry form…with dramatic illustrations.' Louisville Courier-Journal

'This unique and thorough tribute to a complex American hero should readily enthrall those seeking a less conventional biography.' Publishers Weekly

'Included in Black History Preview' Booklist

'With striking, innovative artwork, this picture book employs rhyme, just as Muhammad Ali often did, to tell the story.' Journal Inquirer

'[A] unique work of art…Every page has wonderfully bold-colored, collage-style artwork enhancing the text.' VOYA

'King Honor noted' PW Daily

'Collier’s bold pictures…are among the best of his illustrious career, capturing both nuance and excitement.' Booklist (starred review)

'Noted in “Good Reads For Kids”' Daily Herald

'King Honor noted' Cincinnati Enquirer

'A challenging book that demands to be read aloud and will be a knockout for sharing.' Parent Wise Austin

'Stunning illustrations.' San Francisco Chronicle

'Included in a roundup of books for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day' Albany Times-Union

'[The art’s] varied angles and dark moodiness offer a satisfying complement to Smith’s text.' BCCB

'Intriguing material that captures students’ attention and demonstrates the effective use of poetic techniques.' Library Media Connection

'Smith's rap-style verse gives readers a sense of the bobbing and weaving that Ali went through in the boxing ring and in his life.' Kansas City Star

'The perfect introduction for young readers to the life of the famous boxer.' Times-Picayune

'Featured in a giveaway' Working Mother e-newsletter

'Mesmerizing.' McClatchy News Services

'Author reading download featured' ABC Toolbox newsletter

'Inspired…Collier’s watercolor and collage illustrations are simply spectacular.' Buffalo News

'Coretta Scott King Author Award noted' Scripps Howard News Service

'Included in a roundup of inspiring tales of black Americans' Idaho State Journal

'A wonderful book…[with] punchy rhymes.' Writing and Ruminating blog

'Coretta Scott King Honor noted' Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

'Included in a roundup of books about role models' Butler Eagle

'Coretta Scott King Author Honor noted' Library Media Connection

'Stunning illustrations.' Saginaw News

'This vibrant, pulsing biography begs to be read aloud.' The Times-Picayune

'Appears on a parents’ guide to appropriate content for children' Wisconsin State Journal

'Coretta Scott King Award noted' Washington Post

'The text…illuminates the dazzle and daring of Ali, and ultimately the spiritual calm.' New York Times Book Review

'Smith’s sophisticated and lengthy rap-inspired verse…will appeal to a range of readers.' School Library Journal

'A shout-out read-aloud with dynamic images.' Book Links

'Charles R. Smith mentioned for Coretta Scott King Honor on Kids Page' Lake Charles American Press

'Charles R. Smith mentioned for Coretta Scott King Honor' The Progress-Index

'The words seem to evoke the energy of the man and add vitality to each page…glorious full-page paintings…bring this oversized book to life.' Newton’s Book News, included in a graduation roundup

'Collier’s explosive artwork is coupled with 12 rhyming poems that capture the larger-than-life personality of Muhammad Ali and echo those peculiar, taunting rhymes so powerfully ingrained in our boxing, and cultural, lore.' Booklist, top 10 sports books for youth feature

'Featured/recommended' NoveList K-8 (online)

'Featured/recommended' Raleigh News & Observer

'featured/recommended' NoveList curriculum guide

'Each and every one of Smith's poems is a stunner, and coupled with Bryan Collier's oversized bold paintings it's almost an overwhelming read.' Eclectica e-zine

'Featured/recommended' Galleycat (Mediabistro blog)

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