Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 24 books, including The Crossover, a middle grade novel in verse, which received the 2015 Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, and other awards. The Crossover follows the experiences of twin basketball stars who struggle with challenges on and off the court while their father ignores his declining health. His follow-up novel Booked, longlisted for a National Book Award in 2016, similarly follows 12-year-old soccer aficionado Nick who discovers the power of words while wrestling with problems at home. Alexander’s newest book is The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life.
Kwame believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his Page to Stage Writing and Publishing Program. A regular speaker at schools and conferences in the U.S., he also travels the world planting seeds of literary love: Singapore, Brazil, Italy, France, Shanghai, and recently, Alexander led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they delivered books, built a library, and provided literacy professional development to 300 teachers. The Kwame Alexander Papers, a collection of his writings, correspondence, and other professional and personal documents is held at the George Washington University Gelman Library.
“This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. . . . Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.” (The Crossover) —Kirkus, starred review
12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander.
In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER, soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read. Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
NEW! The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life
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 provides his own poetic and uplifting words, as he shares stories of overcoming obstacles and winning games in this motivational and inspirational book just right for graduates of any age and anyone needing a little encouragement.
Praise for Kwame Alexander:
“Kwame Alexander’s cadenced basketball novel is a gem of poise and grace. His players come alive with the precision and control of an orchestrated musical composition. The poetry of the telling rings through to the heart. The Crossover crosses over as a gift to all ages.” —Ashley Bryan, Two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner.
“The poems dodge and weave with the speed of a point guard driving for the basket, mixing basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh’s sincere first-person accounts that swing from moments of swagger-worth triumph to profound pain.” (The Crossover) —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“With Booked, a novel about a soccer-obsessed tween boy written entirely in verse? In a word, yes. Kwame Alexander has the magic to pull off this unlikely feat, both as a poet and as a storyteller. (Booked)” —The Chicago Tribune
“Newbery-winning poet Alexander once again brings to life a novel in verse that equally captures the rapid-fire excitement of a soccer match and the palpable pain of a young boy whose family is falling apart. Another winning goal for Alexander and middle school readers alike.” (Booked) —School Library Journal