Written by Steve Sheinkin

Publisher’s Summary:
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team is an astonishing underdog sports story–and more. It’s an unflinching look at the U.S. government’s violent persecution of Native Americans and the school that was designed to erase Indian cultures. Expertly told by three-time National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin, it’s the story of a group of young men who came together at that school, the overwhelming obstacles they faced both on and off the field, and their absolute refusal to accept defeat.

Primary Source Pairing:
Steve Sheinkin has aptly woven together multiple storylines of history in this book. The development of the game of football that we all know today is overlaid with the history of the team who revolutionized the game one play at a time. The assimilation of Native American students at Carlisle School is combined with the discrimination Native Americans faced across the country. This book will appeal to readers of all interests, and with so many primary sources interspersed through the text, it is an accessible read for middle-grade readers.

For this primary source pairing, invite students to use the Undefeated Primary Source Analysis bookmark (shown above and linked below) as they are reading. Challenge students to study each primary source, read the accompanying caption, and consider the discussion questions on the bookmark. This process of slow looking will increase comprehension of the text and allow for visual connections to the written word.

Additionally, integrate the Assimilation Through Education Primary Source set on the Library of Congress website into your teaching of this book.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Examine the primary source.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What is happening in the image?
  • How does the image connect to what you are reading?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • How does this primary source help you follow the action of Jim Thorpe’s life and what was happening in the United States during this time?
  • What questions do you still have?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Undefeated_ReadersBookmark: Created by JMarek