Unfortunately, today’s guest blogger was unable to send her blog post, so I decided to share one of the most popular blog posts from last year. My youngest son Mitch interviewed author Kwame Alexander after he won the Newbury Award. We get to know him through 20 Questions for Kwame!
I’m pleased to
Today’s guest blogger is a man of many talents.
One of them happens to be writing a Newbery Award Winning book for kids!
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!
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?
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!
20 Questions for Kwame
by Mitch Karcher
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?
RED. VELVET. CUPCAKES.
Who inspires you?
My daughters. Students. The energy and innocence and freedom of youth.
What are you reading now?
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?
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?
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.
Here you go 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.
Kwame’s latest novel in verse released April/2016
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)
Thank You Kwame and Mitch!
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