Poet Profile: Kwame Alexander

A native of New York, Kwame Alexander now lives in Northern Virginia with his family while he travels the world encouraging young people to write. His books, like The Crossover, have won awards both for their merit as poetry and as exceptional children’s literature. In an interview, he told NPR, “The power of poetry is that you can take these emotionally heavy moments in our lives, and you can distill them into these palatable, these digestible words and lines and phrases that allow us to be able to deal and cope with the world”1.

Books of Kwame Alexander Available at John Tyler Community College:

The CrossoverThe Crossover – available at Chester & Midlothian PZ7.5.A44 Cr 2014

 (from goodreads.com):

“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,” announces dread-locked, 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.

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.


Booked – available at Midlothian PZ7.5.A44 Bo 2016

(from goodreads.com):

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.

This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!
1Alexander, Kwame. “How to Get Kids Hooked on Books? ‘Use Poetry. It’s a Sure-Fire Way.’ NPR.org. 3 April 2016. http://www.npr.org/2016/04/03/472859082/how-to-hook-kids-on-books-try-poetry.

Kwame is also a really nice person!  Here he is at a meet and greet with one of our Tyler librarians, Molli Gonzalez, at the Virginia Library Association conference in October 2016!

Kwame and Molli

This article has 1 comment

  1. Tierney Mason

    I think this is awesome of Kwame Alexander to create these books. It allows children and adults to take a deeper look into themselves. I really appreciate the brief overview shared here and am interested in reading his poetry with my sons. THANK YOU for sharing this!

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