Kwame Alexander

Children, Poetry, Young Adult

Kwame Alexander is a poet and educator who has written 24 books for children of all ages. His young adult novel Solo was nominated for a 2017 NAACP Image Award, and his middle grade novel The Crossover received the 2015 Newbery Medal. Alexander has also received the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, the NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. In 2017, he was the inaugural recipient of the Pat Conroy Legacy Award. His other books include The Playbook: 52 Rules to Help You Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game of Life; the picture books Animal Ark, Out of Wonder, and Surf’s Up; and the novels Booked, He Said She Said, and Rebound, the forthcoming prequel to The Crossover.

Alexander believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through writing workshops. A regular speaker at schools and conferences in the United States, Alexander has also visited Singapore, Brazil, Italy, France, and China, and recently led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they built a library and provided literacy professional development to 300 teachers as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. In 2015, Alexander served as Bank Street College of Education’s inaugural Dorothy M. Carter writer-in-residence. 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.

How to Get Kids Hooked on Books? Use Poetry. It Is a Surefire Way | interview | NPR
How Novelist Kwame Alexander Hooks Teens on Poetry | interview | Mother Jones
Kwame Alexander Aims to Win Readers Who Are at the Age He Hated Books | profile | Washington Post
Kwame Alexander on Children’s Books and the Color of Characters | editorial | New York Times
Kwame Alexander and Nikki Grimes on the Power of Poetry | conversation | Publishers Weekly

Festival Years: 2018