Kwame Alexander

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Kwame Alexander
Alexander at the 2019 Texas Book
Alexander at the 2019 Texas Book
Born (1968-08-21) August 21, 1968 (age 53)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Alma materVirginia Tech
GenreChildren's literature
Notable awards
  • John Newbery Medal
  • The Coretta Scott King Author Honor
  • The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Prize
  • 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award
SpouseStephanie Stanley

Kwame Alexander (born August 21, 1968) is an American writer of poetry and children's fiction. His verse novel The Crossover won the 2015 Newbery Medal recognizing the year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."[1] It was also selected as an Honor book for the Coretta Scott King Award. He also won a 2020 Newbery Honor for his illustrated poem The Undefeated.[2] His picture book Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band, was selected for the 2014 "Michigan Reads! One State, One Children's Book" program.[3]

Personal Life and Education[edit]

Alexander attended Virginia Tech.[4] He runs the Bookinaday program to introduce children to writing and publishing and was born in Manhattan, New York.[5] His name Kwame comes from Ghana and it means born on a Saturday, but Alexander was born on a Wednesday.


  • Tough Love: Cultural Criticism and Familial Observations on the Life and Death of Tupac Shakur, ed. (1996)
  • Do the Write Thing (2002) (with Nina Foxx)
  • Kwame Alexander's Page-to-Stage Writing Workshop (2016)


  • He Said, She Said: A Novel (2013)
  • The Crossover: A Novel (2015)
  • Booked (2016)[6][7][8]
  • Solo (2017) (with Mary Rand Hess)
  • Rebound (2018) (prequel to The Crossover)
  • Swing (2018) (with Mary Rand Hess)

Picture books[edit]

  • Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (2011)
  • Indigo Blume and the Garden City (2012)
  • Little Boys Soar (2014)
  • Surf's Up (2016)
  • How to Read a Book (2019), illustrated by Melissa Sweet
  • The Undefeated (2019), illustrated by Kadir Nelson


  • The Flow: New Black Poets in Motion, ed. (1994)
  • Just Us: Poems & Counterpoems, 1986–1995 (1995)
  • 360°: A Revolution of Black Poets, ed. (1998)
  • Kupenda: Love Poems (2000)
  • Dancing Naked on the Floor: poems and essays (2005)
  • The Way I Walk: short stories and poems for Young Adults, ed. (2006)
  • Crush: Love Poems (2007)
  • Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones, ed. (2007)
  • An American Poem (2008)
  • And Then You Know: New and Selected Poems (2008)
  • The Book Party (2016)
  • The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score into in This Game Called Life (2017)


  1. ^ The best children's books: Newbery, Caldecott winners announced, Ashley Strickland, CNN, February 2, 2015
  2. ^ de León, Concepción (January 27, 2020). "Graphic Novel Wins Newbery Medal for the First Time". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band Chosen as 2014 Michigan Reads! Book",, September 5, 2014.
  4. ^ Alexander, Santat win top children's book prizes, HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer, February 3, 2015
  5. ^ Barron, Christina (November 18, 2015). "Kwame Alexander aims to win readers who are at the age he hated books". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  6. ^ "Children's book roundup: Kwame Alexander's 'Booked,' more". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "Starred reviews, March/April 2016". Horn Book Magazine. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  8. ^ "Children's Book Review: Booked by Kwame Alexander". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved March 29, 2016.

External links[edit]