Press Release: May 23, 2020 By Jimmy Patterson Books And HMH Books for Young Readers – James Patterson & Kwame Alexander Join Forces to Write About Young Muhammad Ali
‘Becoming Muhammad Ali’ is a fictional biography about the boxing great, written in partnership with the Ali Estate.
|Credit Jimmy Patterson Books/HMH Books for Young Readers|
Bestselling authors James Patterson and Kwame Alexander will collaborate on a biographical novel, Becoming Muhammad Ali, to be jointly published by JIMMY Patterson Books and HMH Books for Young Readers on October 5, 2020. The project was announced today by Ned Rust, Publisher for James Patterson, and Catherine Onder, Publisher of HMH Books for Young Readers. Written in verse and prose, this fictionalized middle grade biography explores Muhammad Ali’s life as a child before he was a household name – when he was still known as Cassius Clay.
Fully authorized by and written with the cooperation of Lonnie Ali and Authentic Brands Group (ABG), co-owners of the Muhammad Ali Estate, Becoming Muhammad Ali will follow the life of young Cassius Clay up to age 17, revealing his struggles in school, the racism he endured, and his discovery of boxing, as well as his family, friends, neighbors, and significant events of his childhood in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I’m thrilled to be partnering with Kwame in honoring the life of a legend,” said James Patterson. “Few people know Muhammad Ali as Cassius Clay, and his journey to becoming Ali is truly inspiring. It’ll show young kids the importance of perseverance in pursuing their dreams and most importantly, to never give up. When the Ali Estate came to me, I knew this was a project I had to be a part of – and I was ecstatic when my friend Kwame agreed to write it with me.”
“I loved books until I was ten, when the adults in my life began to tell me what to read,” said Kwame Alexander. “Two years later, while cleaning up our garage I stumbled upon The Greatest: My
Story by Muhammad Ali and rediscovered the joy of reading. I couldn’t put the book down. So, when Jim called and said we should write a novel together, about Ali, it was like coming full circle. We’re both about getting kids to want to read, and I hope this book does that.”
“Growing up in 1950s Louisville, a young Cassius Clay faced struggles that helped mold him into the man we came to know as Muhammad Ali,” said Lonnie Ali, wife of the late boxing legend. “Muhammad would be proud to know that this story will be a source of inspiration for kids everywhere.”
Becoming Muhammad Ali will be simultaneously published in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats, and will be edited by Margaret Raymo, Senior Executive Editor at HMH Books for Young Readers. Artist Dawud Anyabwile will contribute black and white illustrations throughout the book.
“James Patterson and Kwame Alexander are heavyweight writers on their own, and together they’re a knockout combination,” said Rust and Onder in a joint statement. “Becoming Muhammad Ali dynamically captures the charisma, outsize personality, and dedication of one of the greatest sports heroes of all time.”
About the Authors
Kwame Alexander is the New York Times best-selling author of thirty-four books, including his Newbery Medal–winning novel The Crossover and The Undefeated, winner of the Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor. He is the founding editor of Versify, which aims to change the world, one word at a time.
James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author. The creator of Max Einstein and Middle School, he founded JIMMY Patterson to publish books that young readers will love. He lives in Florida with his family.
JIMMY Patterson Books
We believe a kid who reads is a kid who can succeed. We believe it’s every adult’s responsibility to get books into kids’ hands and into kids’ lives. We want to make reading fun for kids—through stories and voices that speak to them and expand their world. We want to make books available to kids—through teacher scholarships, bookstore funding, school library support, and book donations. We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY book to say: “PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.”
HMH Books for Young Readers
As part of leading global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, HMH Books for Young Readers is uniquely positioned to offer educational and entertaining content for all audiences. Its distinguished author list includes more than one hundred Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients. Among its celebrated authors and illustrators are Kwame
Alexander, Mary Downing Hahn, Lois Lowry, Linda Sue Park, Chris Van Allsburg, and David Wiesner, as well as iconic characters and brands such as Carmen Sandiego, Curious George®, Little Blue Truck, The Little Prince, and The Polar Express.
Authentic Brands Group/The Estate of Muhammad Ali
Authentic Brands Group (ABG) is a brand, development, marketing and entertainment company, which owns a portfolio of global media, entertainment and lifestyle brands. Headquartered in New York City, ABG elevates and builds the long-term value of more than 50 consumer brands by developing best-in-class partnerships.
Material And Photo Courtesy of: Jimmy Patterson Books And HMH Books for Young Readers Used with permission.
For more information about Becoming Muhammad Ali Please visit; https://www.jimmypatterson.org/titles/james-patterson/becoming-muhammad-ali/9780316498180/
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