Perfect Picture Book Friday: A Fist for Joe Louis


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.

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5 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday: A Fist for Joe Louis

  1. Gabi Snyder says:

    This sounds like a moving story and also a great mentor text; thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My dad was a Golden Gloves boxer, and I remember stories that my older brother told me about Dad teaching him to box, not all of them nurturing. This book sounds like a great read. Will add it to my TBR pile. Thanks for the rec!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fascinating story. I only know Trinka Hakes Noble from THE DAY JIMMY”S BOA ATE THE WASH. I guess I have some exploring to do at the library. Thanks for the heads up on this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a touching story about boys taking boxing lessons and looking up to their hero, Joe Louis. Like the historical background. Many kids are interested in boxing — and it’s become a physical therapy for those with Parkinson’s disease.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing such a moving story. It sounds like a great mentor text. Mush check this out in our local libraries here

    Liked by 1 person

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