Today I’m participating in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. Be sure to check it out here.
Title: A Fist for Joe Louis and Me
Author: Trinka Hakes Noble
Illustrator: Nicole Tadgell
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2019, Historical Fiction
Audience: Ages 6-9 (and up)
Themes: Friendship, loyalty
Opening lines: Every Friday, after he came home from working at the auto plant, my father gave me a boxing lesson. “Keep your fists up, Gordy,” he’d say, holding up his big strong hands like targets.
Synopsis: Gordy and Ira form a friendship against the backdrop of Detroit and the Great Depression. They share a love for boxer, Joe Louis, who is set to fight Max Schmeling in 1938’s Fight of the Century which comes to symbolize good vs. evil. As their friendship grows, Gordy learns what it means to stand up for a friend.
Why I Like This Book: Trinka Hakes Noble is a master at creating tender stories within a historical background, and this one is no exception. The characters are stand-outs with authentic dialogue that connects to readers. The realistic illustrations enhance the reactions and feelings of the characters. An author’s note (always a plus) provides contextual background and reveals the source of the idea. This would be a wonderful addition to any classroom library and can be used in social studies curriculum.
For Susanna’s complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.