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Featured books by Charles Smith

Meet Charles Smith, award winning writer and photographer. Smith often writes about sports and sports heroes such as Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali, but also uses sports as a metaphor for success in both word and image. You'll want to read these books out loud to hear the rhythm and rhyme and examine the pictures closely — in these books that appeal to a wide range of readers.

Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson

By: Charles Smith
Illustrated by: Shane Evans
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Arthur John Johnson became known as Black Jack, the world's first black heavyweight champion and one of the best known boxers of the 20th century. Readers meet him through a rhythmic text and bold illustrations that present a clever, hardworking, and confident man. The book is published just in time to commemorate the anniversary of historic fight, July 4, 1910.

Dance with Me

By: Charles Smith
Illustrated by: Noah Jones
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Join two children as they shake and dance and enjoy their neighborhood and get others to join in on the beat. Rhythmic language and jaunty, child-like illustrations make a trek all the way to a party.

I Am America

By: Charles Smith
Illustrated by: Charles Smith
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Look how different we are and see how much we are the same! Readers will surely see themselves in the pages of this book, which is full of color photographs of children's faces. The rhyming text and images celebrate the tapestry of cultures, religions, and physical appearances of children throughout the United States.

Let's Play Baseball

By: Charles Smith
Illustrated by: Terry Widener
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A baseball encourages a boy to play the game, to enjoy the sounds, excitement, and camaraderie of the game. The short, rhyming text is accompanied by humorous illustrations for a playful look at baseball for younger children.

Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls, & Rhythms

By: Charles Smith
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A range of emotions flows from each short piece in poetry and prose as readers share the ups and downs of basketball. Sophisticated readers will see themselves in both word and image, all attractively formatted in a distinctive design.

The Mighty 12: Superheroes of Greek Myth

By: Charles Smith
Illustrated by: P. Craig Russell
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Greek gods and goddesses are the stuff of contemporary superheroes. Dramatic full-color, exaggerated comic book illustrations are used to present a dozen of the ancient heroes, sure to thrill contemporary, more experienced readers.

Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali

By: Charles Smith
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This sophisticated biography briefly examines the life of Muhammad Ali. Born Cassius Clay, Ali changed more than just his name through his confidence and convictions. A staccato rhythm emulates a rap and Ali's words to combine with illustrations for a memorable look at a unforgettable figure.

Books illustrated by Charles Smith

I Am America

By: Charles Smith
Illustrated by: Charles Smith
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Look how different we are and see how much we are the same! Readers will surely see themselves in the pages of this book, which is full of color photographs of children's faces. The rhyming text and images celebrate the tapestry of cultures, religions, and physical appearances of children throughout the United States.

If

By: Rudyard Kipling
Illustrated by: Charles Smith
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Kipling's classic poem exploring the attributes that allow a boy to grow into a man has been reinterpreted through Smith's artful photographs of contemporary young adults. Each action-filled image focuses on a sport for a refreshing version of an older poem.

My People

By: Langston Hughes
Illustrated by: Charles Smith
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Handsome, artistic sepia portraits of young and older African Americans combine with Hughes' short poem. Together image and word presents a memorable celebration of beauty and diversity of a people. Smith includes a note describing how he approached the classic poem.

Interested in wonderful interviews with tween and teen authors? Hop on over to our sister site, AdLit.org, and browse the library.

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