The Writerly Life
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author of 21 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children and the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor. For this event, Mr. Alexander shares a bit of conversation, a dash of storytelling, and a splash of performance from his recent children’s books, educational insights, and worldwide experiences.
Mr. Alexander 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 released by Scholastic. 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, Mr. 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, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an International literacy program he co-founded.
In a recent piece for the New York Times, Mr. Alexander noted the following: “The mind of an adult begins in the imagination of a child. If we don’t give children books that are literary mirrors as well as windows to the whole world of possibility, if these books don’t give them the opportunity to see outside themselves, then how can we expect them to grow into adults who connect in meaningful ways to a global community, to people who might look or live differently than they. You cannot. Am I saying that poetry and literature are the answer to Baton Rouge and Dallas and Orlando and Charleston? No. But their capacity to entertain, enlighten and empower — all at the same time — is an answer, and without them, we most certainly obstruct our children’s vision.”