Kwame Alexander Q & A

Get to know the multi-talented writer, poet, teacher, inspirational speaker and January's Author of the Month, Kwame Alexander as he debunks five myths about his new book, The Crossover, talks about what got him started in writing and what inspires him.

Where did you get your idea for this book?
Six years ago in New York City, at Book Expo, in the autographing area, table 2, I was talking to an editor friend of mine, about writing for boys, writing for reluctant readers, writing in verse, and VOILÀ!

What was your favorite book when you were growing up?
The Greatest, My Own Story, Muhammad Ali’s autobiography. I didn’t know it when I read it at age 10, but Toni Morrison was his editor at Random House. How cool is that. And, I just found this book on my Dad’s book shelf, and I “borrowed” it.

How old were you when you started writing?
I wrote my first poem at age 12. As a mother’s day gift. It was terrible, but mom loved it. I probably was 18 or so when I really started writing seriously. Love poems. Or at least I thought I was serious.

What is your favorite word?
YES! I love saying "yes" to most things, to walking through doors not knowing what’s on the other side and being inspired by the woes and wonders of the world.

What is your favorite book about Chicago?
Bronzeville Boys and Girls by Gwendolyn Brooks, which my parents read to me as a child. Authentically beautiful poetry about her neighborhood. I still have this book, too. I’ve read some of it to my six year old.

Is there a sequel?
This is the question I get asked the most. It really is flattering for a reader to ask this question. It means that the book was meaningful and perhaps it impacted readers enough that they want to know more. I’m really humbled by all the best of lists and starred reviews the book has garnered, but every time a kid, in general, and a boy, in particular, tells me how much they loved the book, it inspires me tremendously. As for a sequel, if I can figure out what happens next, or what happened before, I’d love to try it.

Find out even more about Kwame Alexander and The Crossover.