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About Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author of 35 books, including BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI (co-authored with James Patterson), SOLO, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, The Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book, THE UNDEFEATED, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and, his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. Kwame is the Founding Editor of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that aims to Change the World One Word at a Time.
Kwame's most recent book is LIGHT FOR THE WORLD TO SEE: A THOUSAND WORDS ON RACE AND HOPE. Find out more info on Kwame and where he'll be at www.KwameAlexander.com.
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Books By Kwame Alexander
This powerful memoir from a #1 New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Medalist features poetry, letters, recipes, and other personal artifacts that provide an intimate look into his life and the loved ones he shares it with.In an intimate and non-traditional (or "new-fashioned") memoir, Kwame Alexander shares snapshots of a man learning how to love. He takes us through stories of his parents: from being awkward newlyweds in the sticky Chicago summer of 1967, to the sometimes-confusing ways they showed their love to each other, and for him. He explores his own relationships—his difficulties as a newly wedded, 22-year-old father, and the precariousness of his early marriage working in a jazz club with his second wife. Alexander attempts to deal with the unravelling of his marriage and the grief of his mother's recent passing while sharing the solace he found in learning how to perfect her famous fried chicken dish. With an open heart, Alexander weaves together memories of his past to try and understand his greatest love: his daughters.
Full of heartfelt reminisces, family recipes, love poems, and personal letters, Why Fathers Cry at Night inspires bravery and vulnerability in every reader who has experienced the reckless passion, heartbreak, failure, and joy that define the whirlwind woes and wonders of love.
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A million copies sold
‘With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .
The court is SIZZLING.
My sweat is DRIZZLING.
Stop all that quivering.
Cuz tonight I'm delivering’
12-year-old Josh and his twin Jordan have basketball in their blood. They’re kings of the court, star players for their school team. Their father used to be a champion player and they each want nothing more than to follow in his footsteps.
Both on and off the court, there is conflict and hardship which will test Josh’s bond with his brother. In this heartfelt novel in verse, the boys find that life doesn’t come with a play-book and it's not all about winning.
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"Will resonate with any kid who's ever felt different—which is to say, every kid." —Time
Great stories take flight in this adventurous middle-grade anthology crafted by ten of the most recognizable and diverse authors writing today. Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander delivers a story in-verse about a boy who just might have magical powers; National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson spins a tale of friendship against all odds; and Meg Medina uses wet paint to color in one girl’s world with a short story that inspired her Newbery award-winner Merci Suárez Changes Gear. Plus, seven more bold voices that bring this collection to new heights with tales that challenge, inspire, and celebrate the unique talents within us all.
AUTHORS INCLUDE: Kwame Alexander, Kelly J. Baptist, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, Jacqueline Woodson
“There’s plenty of magic in this collection to go around.” —Booklist, Starred
“A natural for middle school classrooms and libraries.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
“Inclusive, authentic, and eminently readable.” —School Library Journal, Starred
“Thought provoking and wide-ranging . . . should not be missed.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred
“Read more books by these authors.” —The Bulletin, Starred
Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag 2020 Readers Awards
'With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . . The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. 'Cuz tonight I'm delivering,' raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood – he's got mad beats, too, which help him find his rhythm when it's all on the line.
See the Bell family in a whole new light through Dawud Anyabwile's dynamic illustrations as the brothers' winning season unfolds, and the world as they know it begins to change.
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL and the CLIPPA
‘Hoop kings SOAR
in kicks with wings.
Game so sweet
it’s like bee stings.’
It's 1988. Charlie Bell is still mourning his father, and struggling to figure out how he feels for his best (girl) friend, CJ. When he gets into trouble one too many times, he's packed off to stay with his grandparents for the summer. There his cousin Roxie introduces him to a whole new world: basketball. A legend on the courts is born. But can Charlie resist when trouble comes knocking once again?
From the New York Times-bestselling author Kwame Alexander, Rebound is a stunning coming-of-age novel in verse about basketball, family and staying true to yourself.
A prequel to The Crossover, winner of the Newbery Medal, and follow-up to Booked, highly commended for the CLiPPA prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
With comic-book illustrations from award-winning graphic novel artist Dawud Anyabwile.
Before he was a household name, Cassius Clay was a kid with struggles like any other. Kwame Alexander and James Patterson join forces to vividly depict his life up to age seventeen in both prose and verse, including his childhood friends, struggles in school, the racism he faced, and his discovery of boxing. Readers will learn about Cassius' family and neighbors in Louisville, Kentucky, and how, after a thief stole his bike, Cassius began training as an amateur boxer at age twelve.
Before long, he won his first Golden Gloves bout and began his transformation into the unrivaled Muhammad Ali.
Fully authorized by and written in cooperation with the Muhammad Ali estate, and vividly brought to life by Dawud Anyabwile's dynamic artwork, Becoming Muhammad Ali captures the budding charisma and youthful personality of one of the greatest sports heroes of all time.
The #1 New York Times bestseller
'At once vivid and simple, lyrical and surgical, expressive and exacting' Lupita Nyong'o
Dreams are today’s answers for tomorrow’s questions.
Eleven-year-old Kofi Offin has dreams of water, of its urgent whisper that beckons with promises and secrets. He has heard the call on the banks of Upper Kwanta, West Africa, where he lives. He loves these things above all else: his family, the fireside tales of his father’s father, a girl named Ama, and, of course, swimming. But when the unthinkable – a sudden death – occurs during a festival between rival villages, Kofi ends up in a fight for his life. What happens next will send him on a harrowing journey across land and sea, and away from everything he loves. Yet Kofi’s dreams may be the key to his freedom…
A companion to the Newbery Medal-winning middle grade novel The Crossover, the basis of the show streaming on Disney+!
What can we imagine for our lives? What if we were the star players, moving and grooving through the game of life? What if we had our own rules of the game to help us get what we want, what we aspire to, what will enrich our lives?
Illustrated with photographs by Thai Neave, The Playbook is intended to provide inspiration on the court of life. Each rule contains wisdom from inspiring athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Carli Lloyd, Steph Curry, and Michelle Obama. Kwame Alexander also shares his own stories of overcoming obstacles and winning games in this motivational and inspirational book for readers of any age and for anyone needing a little bit of encouragement.
You gotta know the rules to play the game. Ball is life. Take it to the hoop. Soar.
Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can’t nobody stop you/can’t nobody cop you…
Twelve-year-old Nick is a football-mad boy who absolutely hates books. In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel The Crossover, football, family, love, and friendship take centre stage as Nick tries to figure out how to navigate his parents’ break-up, stand up to bullies, and impress the girl of his dreams. These challenges – which seem even harder than scoring a tie-breaking, game-winning goal – change his life, as well as his best friend’s. This energetic novel-in-verse by the poet Kwame Alexander captures all the thrills and setbacks, the action and emotion of a World Cup match.
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Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess is a New York Times bestseller! Kirkus Reviews said Solo is, “A contemporary hero’s journey, brilliantly told.” Through the story of a young Black man searching for answers about his life, Solo empowers, engages, and encourages teenagers to move from heartache to healing, burden to blessings, depression to deliverance, and trials to triumphs.
Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy, including the loss of his mother. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father.
In reality, the only thing Blade and Rutherford have in common is the music that lives inside them. And songwriting is all Blade has left after Rutherford, while drunk, crashes his high school graduation speech and effectively rips Chapel away forever. But when a long-held family secret comes to light, the music disappears. In its place is a letter, one that could bring Blade the freedom and love he’s been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.
- Is written by New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Book Award-winner Kwame Alexander
- Showcases Kwame’s signature intricacy, intimacy, and poetic style, by exploring what it means to finally go home
- An #OwnVoices novel that features a BIPOC protagonist on a search for his roots and identity
- Received great reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus.
If you enjoy Solo, check out Swing by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess.
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In this evocative and playful companion to their New York Times bestselling picture book How to Read a Book, Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander teams up with poet Deanna Nikaido and Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet to celebrate the magic of discovering your very own poetry in the world around you.
with a question
like an acorn
waiting for spring.
From this first stanza, readers are invited to pay attention—and to see that paying attention itself is poetry. Kwame Alexander and Deanna Nikaido’s playful text and Melissa Sweet’s dynamic, inventive artwork are paired together to encourage readers to listen, feel, and discover the words that dance in the world around them—poems just waiting to be written down.
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A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree offer a glorious, lyrical ode to poets who have sparked a sense of wonder.
Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award–winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.
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