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Area Author Alexander Earns Newbery Medal

by Karen Goff February 3, 2015 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Kwame Alexander/Courtesy of Kwame AlexanderReston-area author Kwame Alexander was honored with the prestigious 2015 Newbery Award on Monday for his recent book The Crossover.

The Crossover (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a work written in verse and told from the perspective of 12-year-old twin boys who play basketball.

The New York Times calls the middle readers book a “a beautifully measured novel.”

The Newbery is considered the highest award for children’s literature. It is named for 18th-century British bookseller John Newbery. Two other books, Two books, El Deafo by Cece Bell and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, were awarded Newbery Honors.

Alexander has written for television, the stage, and authored 14 books including the best-selling Do The Write Thing: 7 Steps to Publishing SuccessAnd Then You Know: New & Selected Poems, and a young adult title, Crush: Love Poems

“When I got the call at 7:16 am today, I literally could not move,” Alexander wrote on his Facebook page. “When the man on the other end of the phone said, “I…happy…inform…Newbery…Medal…” I was like, did you just say ‘Medal? Are you sure?’ It was, and is surreal. I am wordbound. Mazy, even. Lost and found. Am I ready? Of course. Am I prepared? No. Who is ever prepared for the big sea? But, I will swim, and laugh, dive and cry, and thank my sister and brother, my father and mother, each of you for your cheers and support.”

Locally, Alexander has served on the Herndon Council for the Arts, and regularly conducts workshops and presentations at area schools. He is well known for his “Book in a Day” program that has helped created young writers at schools nationwide.

The Crossover/Houghton MifflinRecently, 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 in New York’s first writer-in-residence.

He will still conduct a workshop at Herndon Elementary School later this month, as well as at Lake Anne Elementary School, among others, later this spring.

Photos — Top: Kwame Alexander/Credit: Bookinaday.org. Bottom: The Crossover/Credit: Houghton Mifflin

  • Constance (Connie) Hartke

    Congratulations, sir! My grandchildren and I have enjoyed your “Acoustic Rooster and his Barnyard Band.” My little guy with long curls and I met you at the Lake Anne Farmers Market a few years ago.

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