RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 23 Kwame Alexander

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 23

Kwame Alexander




 Today’s guest blogger is a man of many talents.

One of them happens to be writing a Newbery Award Winning book for kids!


Newbery                the crossover

If you have not read THE CROSSOVER, go, right now and find it, if you can, and read it! It took me about 6 weeks to get my copy and I read it cover to cover the day I received it in the mail. As a mother of 2 teenage boys, a mother of 2 teenage girls who date boys, and as a friend of a family who recently lost their father much too soon…this book is moving, relevant and so, so powerful in it’s playfulness with words. This is a book that will bring teens to poetry for years to come. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Kwame in person this summer at the LA SCBWI Conference. I was one of the lucky few who got into his intensive and I will be sitting there, taking notes, listening to every single word and waiting patiently until I can give a proper hug to Kwame Alexander. His book, his integrity and his genuine care for children make me proud to be a children’s author! Plus I am so happy that his favorite word is…Yes!

I am over the moon

to introduce

Kwame Alexander

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather

As I contacted Kwame to be a guest blogger, honestly thinking that I wouldn’t get a response as he was nominated for The Newbery Award and so busy. I reached out via Facebook message, which by the way is how I snag most of my amazing guest bloggers, and he immediately responded. We agreed on a blog post topic and all was set.

Then he won.

He kindly messaged me at around 3:00 am two days later and very sweetly said, I haven’t slept, I’m not sure what town I’m in right now. I have barely eaten anything and I still want to help you but what can we do to simplify this?

As I am always on my toes, I said,” What if my 14 year old son Mitch comes up with 20 one word answer questions for you and we’ll call it 20 Questions with Kwame?


he said.

So, I am proud of my youngest son for enthusiastically coming up with some fun questions and am happy to say he was equally as enthusiastic to hear the responses, and…is reading The Crossover right now. Thank you Mitch! I’m pretty sure he did this whole thing without even one eye roll! = )

Kwame told me that another Newbery Award winner told him that the price of winning this award is a book. He will be speaking, touring, conferencing and honored at banquet after banquet for at least a full year. He tells me he still writes but it’s tough. Thank you Kwame Alexander for saying yes and for giving the youth of today a literal, literary hero to look up to!

I give you

Kwame Alexander

20 Questions for Kwame

by Mitch Karcher

Mitch                  kwame 2

          Mitch Karcher         Kwame Alexander


Mitch: What is your favorite time of day?
Kwame: 6 am, when no one else is awake, and I can return emails, listen to jazz, and plan my day.


What is your junk food of choice?


Who inspires you?
My daughters. Students. The energy and innocence and freedom of youth.


What are you reading now?
These questions…Seriously.

I am reading Margarita Engle’s new memoir in verse. WOW!


What is your favorite sport?
To watch: Basketball
To play: Tennis


What do you order to eat/drink at Panera Bread?
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Large Lemonade. No ice.


Do you prefer the mountains or the beach?
The beach.


What book would you like to see made into a movie, besides The Crossover?
Ha! Very funny! My next one…


Are you a cat person or dog person?


Are you an early riser or a night owl?


If you weren’t a writer what career would you choose?
A pediatrician by day, stand-up comedian by night. (I have a friend who is a cardiologist and a country music star. Check out Cleve Francis)


Who was your favorite teacher?
Nikki Giovanni


What kind of music do you listen to?
Jazz. Country. Hip Hop. Soul. Classical. Everything else.


What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Double fudge chocolate


What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
Play Uno. Also, travel.


What is your favorite word?


What is your favorite dance move?
My wife teachers Zumba. Every move she does when she’s teaching. Pretty cool!


What is one piece of advice you have for kids?
Never listen to advice from people who make up stories for a living…Also READ a lot.


What country would you like to visit?
Antarctica. Is that a country?


Finish this sentence: If I had a million dollars I would:
buy a cupcakery.



cc factory

Here you go Kwame!



About Kwame:

Kwame Alexander is a poet and author of eighteen books, most recently THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children. His other works include the award-winning children’s picture book “Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band,” recently optioned as a children’s television show, and the Junior Library Selection, “He Said She Said,” a YA novel. Alexander believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his Book-in-a-Day literacy program which has created more than 3,000 student authors at 69 schools across the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. A regular speaker and workshop presenter at conferences in the U.S., he also travels the world planting seeds of literary love (Brazil, Italy, France, and Turkey). 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, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an International literacy program he co-founded. 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. In 2015, Kwame will serve as Bank Street College of Education’s first writer-in-residence. Visit him at KwameAlexander.com.

the crossover

Buy It Here


Buy It Here

he said

Buy It Here


Buy It Here


The Crossover: A Novel (2014)
He Said, She Said: A Novel (2013)
Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (2011) (NAACP Image Award Nominee)
Indigo Blume and the Garden City (2010) (NAACP Image Award Nominee)
And Then You Know: New and Selected Poems (2008)
Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones, ed. (2007)
Crush: Love Poems (2007)
The Way I Walk: short stories and poems for Young Adults, ed. (2006)
Dancing Naked on the Floor: poems and essays (2005)
Do The Write Thing: 7 Steps to Publishing Success (2002)
Kupenda: Love Poems (2000)
360°: A Revolution of Black Poets, ed. (1998)
Tough Love: Cultural Criticism and Familial Observations on the Life and Death of
Tupac Shakur, ed. (1996)
Just Us: Poems & Counterpoems, 1986-1995 (1995)
The Flow: New Black Poets in Motion, ed. (1994)



SCBWI Winter Conference (Keynote Speaker)
NCTE/ALAN (Keynote Speaker)
American Library Association (Featured Author)
Long Island Literacy Council (Keynote Speaker)
International Reading Association (Featured Presenter)
Arkansas Reading Association (Keynote Speaker)
New York State Reading Association (Keynote Speaker)
Virginia State Reading Association (Keynote Speaker)
Miss Ghana Tourism Pageant (Judge)
Florida Council of English Teachers Conference (Keynote Speaker)
Library of Congress “Afternoon Poetry Series” (Guest Poet)
Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, VA (Poet-in-Residence)
Cass Technical High School, Detroit High School (Book-in-a-Day)
New York State English Council Annual Conference (Keynote Speaker)
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH (National Poetry Month Speaker)
Howard University, Washington, DC (Publishing Workshop)
Northern Virginia Community College (Poetry/Publishing Workshop)
Virginia Teachers of English, Annual Conference (Keynote Speaker)
Long Island City High School, Astoria, NY (Literacy Professional Development)
Stafford Middle School, Plattsburg, NY (Writer-in-Residence)
West Babylon Junior High School, Long Island, NY (Poet-in-Residence)
Crossland High School, Temple Hills, MD (Book-in-a-Day)
Great Bridge High School, Chesapeake, VA (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Great Bridge Intermediate, Chesapeake, VA (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, VA (Literacy Professional Development)
Washington & Lee High School, Arlington, VA (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Central High School, Little Rock, AK (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Washington, DC (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Wilson High School, Washington, DC (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Oyster School, Washington, DC (Poet-in-the-Schools)
Niskayuna High School, Niskayuna, NY (Poet-in-Residence)
South Carolina Library Association, Annual Conference (Keynote Speaker)
National Council for Teachers of English (Workshop Presenter)

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 23


This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.


Today’s writing prompt is to take the day off and eat cupcakes! Red. Velvet. Cupcakes.




Watch the



Here on Youtube!

Please share this link!



We are pleased to announce the

RhyPiBoMo 2015

Best in Rhyme Award Committee!

Rhyme Award Best In Rhyme

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for your beautiful award designs!

This committee of dedicated RhyPiBoMo members is busy reading, reviewing and nominating the best rhyming picture books and poetry books of 2015. Only members of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group may nominate books to the committee for consideration. There will be much more information coming soon with specific guidelines and voting  requirements!


Thank you to the 15 members of this committee!

Dawn Young – Co-chair

Mandy Yates – Co-chair

Deirdre Sheridan Englehart – Co-chair

Kenda Henthorn – Co-chair

Danna York

Annie Bailey

Patricia Toht

Gayle C. Krause

Deb Williams

Corey Rosen Schwartz

Darlene Ivy

Lori Degman

Suzy Leopold

Angie Karcher – Founder

Tanja Bauerle – Illustrator


Angie will soon be blogging about some of the best rhyming picture books and poetry books we come across, so please contact her if you want your book to be highlighted.





What a month! What a week! What a day!

Don’t Miss the

Friday Night BIG Finale Rhyming Party!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Rhyming Party


Today is Poem In Your Pocket Day!

Print out copies of your favorite poem and hand them out to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Let’s all celebrate Poetry by actively making a difference in someone’s day by reading a poem.

Share! Share! Share!

Poem in your pocket

Sponsored by Poets.org

More info on Poem In Your Pocket Day


Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

ONLY 1 spot left!

The $99.00 discounted price ends Thursday.

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!


Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!




Need a Rhyming Picture Book Critique?

Angie offers

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.



RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook


Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!



Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

YouPlease comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

You to be eligible for today’s prize!


79 thoughts on “RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 23 Kwame Alexander

  1. Zainab Khan

    It was a pleasure meeting Kwame Alexander and hearing him speak and read his poems. All I can say is….

  2. Angie, I can’t open the YouTube and I don’t have sound on this computer. What’s the big announcement??? (In print, please.)
    And I am definitely going to have to read Kwame Alexander’s Newbery book.

    • Steph, Thank you for being so supportive and so excited for the good news! You are awesome! We must meet in person…maybe New York in November…
      Just so everyone knows, I told Stephanie the good news on Facebook. lol

  3. Hello Kwame! Thanks for the interview and Mitch for your intriquing questions. Kwame, the first time I head about you is after you won, but now I will read your poems and books because I know you better now. Can’t wait to start!!

  4. This was a fun post. Nice work Mitch Karcher! Congrats again, Angie, on your fabulous news! I’m so excited to be part of the committee and to read some great books! — Annie Bailey

  5. I love interviews like this as it’s a great way to get to know the person behind the book better. Thank you to both Kwame and Mitch! And awesome news, Angie! That is truly, wonderful news for the rhyming PB community!

  6. Rita Allmon– Thanks Kwame and Mitch for the fun interview. Now I’m hungry for Red.Velvet. Cupcakes… yes, more than one! (That would call for a lot of Zumba moves.)… Way to Go! Best in Rhyme Award Committee! Lovely art design, Tanja!

  7. Omy gosh! awesome, awesome ending to rhypibomo! I had trouble hanging in there… mostly out of intimidation for rhyme. I still think it’s rocket science but it proves that children’s books are art, masterpieces even!

  8. Maria Marshall – Excellent interview questions, Mitch. What a fun way to catch a glimpse behind the book. Gotta find Kwame’s book. Congrats on the committee – great news.

  9. Caroline Twomey- Well done Mitch! Great way of getting to know the man behind the words! I love cupcakes too “) Congratulations Kwame, a great achievement, I’m looking forward to reading THE CROSSOVER! And congratulations Angie and co on the awards committee-best of luck with that “)

  10. Lori Mozdzierz:

    Fun post! Kwame and Mitch are great sports 😀

    “Kwame’s Cupcakery”
    Where do we place our orders!?

    Angie, what exciting news on the BEST IN RHYME awards ceremony!
    Wish I could be there. Hope to see it on You Tube 😀

  11. Mona Pease Kwame is amazing!!! I was fortunate to see and hear him as keynote at our NESCBWI conference last week-end. He had us laughing, and sighing and crying. I purchased Crossover. It’s right on a spot where I can walk by and rub my hand over the embossed Newberry and Coretta Scott King medals, or open it just to gaze at his signature. Thanks to him and Mitch for the Q&A…so many things I can relate to- quiet early morning, Zumba, Yes, cupcakes (with lots of frosting!). Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Angie, thank you!

  12. Thank you Kwame. What a fun interview and now I have a new favorite quote: “Never listen to advice from people who make up stories for a living” .
    Clark Haaland

  13. Kwame, this was a fun interview! I really enjoyed hearing you speak in NYC and meeting you at the NESCBWI. And even though basketball isn’t my thing, your book is. It made me laugh and cry and I’m not surprised you won the Newbury Medal. Bravo!

  14. What fun questions from your son to Kwame, Angie! I am so impressed with Kwame’s domestic and international literacy work and can’t wait to read THE CROSSOVER and his picture books as well. Congratulations to you, Angie, on your announcement; I’m so glad rhyming picture books have such a dedicated advocate.
    -Melanie Ellsworth

  15. Mitch and Kwame thanks for such a great post. Mitch really wonderful questions, the best was the flavor of ice cream. It tells a lot about the person. Kwame such great answers to Mitch’s questions. It’s always nice to find a fellow red velvet cupcake lover. Kwame continued success and I am looking forward to the SCBWI coference in LA also.

  16. Thanks to Mitch for your very entertaining interview with Kwame!
    Kwame, if you’re ever in Lafayette, IN, my teenager would happily play a tennis match with you.
    Angie, I ‘m happy for you and the rhyming loving community that your dream as come true.
    – Manju Howard

  17. A fun exchange — “double fudge chocolate” and “read a lot” are a perfect combination. Thanks Kwame and Mitch. Val McCammon

  18. Thanks, Mitch & Kwame–that was fun to read. I loved The Crossover, even with zero knowledge of basketball 🙂

    Maria Gianferrari

  19. Today’s post was just so uplifting! Angie, I know you are just BEAMING as a mom right now and I loved learning more about Kwame in this way 🙂 I am also thrilled for RhyPiBoMo! Congrats to Kwame, Mitch and Angie 🙂

  20. Joanne Sher is ABSOLUTELY amazed by this man. VERY cool. Great job, Mitch, for making up the questions – I really feel like I know Kwame. And, of course, thanks a TON for a wonderful month, Angie! Will watch the Youtube video as soon as I can find my headphones.Excited!!

  21. Linda Schueler: I have admired Kwame Alexander since I first heard about him in a course last year. It’s fun to hear some personal things about him. It’s great that you get your whole family involved, Angie. And congrats, Angie, for the big award news!!

  22. Mitch, Angie and Kwame – excellent and thank you. I had to read through twice and I was happy both times!
    Elizabeth Saba

  23. Great post, Angie. Wonderful questions; even more wonderful answers! I think Kwame is a guy that would fun to hang around with! It’s been a great month, Angie. Thanks!

  24. It’s nice to “meet” you, Kwame! Congratulations in your success. Late nights AND early mornings are sometimes necessary, aren’t they? I hope you get some sleep soon! Angie, Dawn, and Tanja congrats on the news and thanks for all you do to make RhyPiBoMo great! Carrie Charley Brown

  25. I’m an admirer of Kwame’s and his talent for poetry. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us as we can only imagine how busy your life is. Danielle Hammelef

  26. Natasha Garnett
    Well done, Mitch. Thanks to you I know more about Kwame Alexander than I did this morning. Cupcakery !!!! I heard Kwame speak at the SCBWI conference in Springfield- if you think he has heart and charm and wit and depth on paper, wait until you hear him live. Inspiring and super cool.

  27. Jill Proctor – Thank you, Angie, and Congratulations! Red carpet and all! And thank you, Mitch, for your great questions and, of course, Kwame, for your wonderful answers! I can’t wait to read your work!

    • Sorry! That’s what you get when the kitten helps type the response.

      It’s great to find the sparkle in Kwame’s eye be translated into words.

  28. Bravo! Great questions, Mitch. Fabulously fun answers, Kwame. Congrats and thank you for this month, Angie. – Ellen Izenson

  29. Appreciations from Jan Annino.

    It was a joy to learn about Jen, Kwame’s wife teaching Zumba.
    And all the short Qs & As. So fun to read that format of interview.
    And cool to see your very own Mitch Archer as the Interviewer.
    I expect to become a fan of CROSSOVER – it’s on the list.
    Joy, joy, Angie!

  30. Kathy Mazurowski
    Wonderful interview. It proves real peoplewin these awards. Thank you! This has been a wonderful month. I am sorry April is over.

  31. Thank you Kwame and Mitch for a fab interview! You two go good together 🙂 Kwame, thank you for bringing inspiration to us with your books and words. You are a humanitarian as well as a poet-best regards! Mitch, you go guy!

    Angie, Dawn, Tanja and committee-you ladies rock the world-keep it up!!! Looking forward to more RhyPiBoMo magic 🙂

  32. Patricia Toht
    Great questions, Mitch! And, Kwame, I’m so excited for your Newbery win and I’m loving the wonderful ways you are connecting with your readers. You are an inspiration.

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