Eight books by award-winning artist, author and illustrator Kadir Nelson: 

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan In Pursuit of a Dream

by Delores Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan,

Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

The mere mention of the name conjures up visions of basketball played at its absolute best. But as a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. That’s when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion — patience, determination, and hard work. 

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Ellington Was Not A Street

by Ntozake Shange, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Noted poet Ntozake Shange recalls her childhood home and the close-knit group of innovators that often gathered there. These men of vision, brought to life in the majestic paintings of artist Kadir Nelson, lived at a time when the color of their skin dictated where they could live, what schools they could attend, and even where they could sit on a bus or in a movie theater. Yet in the face of this tremendous adversity, these dedicated souls and others like them not only demonstrated the importance of Black culture in America, but also helped issue in a movement that “changed the world.”

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Heart and Soul: The Story of Americans and African Americans

by Kadir Nelson

The story of American and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it’s about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it’s about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It’s a story of discrimation and broken promises, determination, and triumphs.

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Coretta Scott

by Ntozake Shange, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Walking many miles to school in the dusty road, young Coretta Scott knew the unfairness of life in the segregated south. A yearning for equality began to grow. Together with Martin Luther King, Jr., she gave birth to a vision of change through nonviolent protest. It was the beginning of a journey — with dreams of freedom for all.

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Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

by Ellen Levine, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Henry Brown doesn’t know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves’ birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom, but that dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a warehouse. Henry grows up and marries, but he is again devasted when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. After an arduous journey in the crate, Henry finally has a birthday — his first day of freedom.

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Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

This poetic books is a resounding tribute to Tubman’s strength, humility, and devotion. With proper reverence, Weatherford and Nelson do justice to the woman who, long ago, earned over and over the name Moses.

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Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln (Big Words)

by Doreen Rappaport, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

From the time he was a young boy roaming the forests of the unsettled Midwest, Abraham Lincoln knew in his heart that slavery was deeply wrong. A voracious reader, Lincoln spent every spare moment of his days filling his mind with knowledge, from history to literature to mathematics, preparing himself to one day lead the country he loved toward greater equality and prosperity.

A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis

by Matt De La Pena, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

On the eve of World War II, African-American boxer Joe Louis fought German Max Schmeling in a bout that had more at stake than just the world heavyweight title. For much of America, their fight came to represent America’s war with Germany. This elegant and powerful picture book biography centers on this historic fight in which the American people came together to celebrate our nation’s founding ideals.

Visit Kadir Nelson at: kadirnelson.com

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The book descriptions used are primarily the publishers.

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