Author Kwame Alexander to visit on "Swing" book tour

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Author Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a heralded writer. A poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 28 books, he will be visiting Baton Rouge and Franklin, Louisiana on tour with his latest title "Swing" on Wednesday, October 17.

Alexander's novel The Crossover won a Newbery medal. Some of his other works include Booked, a National Book Award nominee, The Playbook: 52 Rules To Help You Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game of Life, and picture books Out Of Wonder, Surf's Up, and The Undefeated.

"I'm in Sarasota, Florida," Alexander said on October 11. "Just got in from Denver, where it was snowing. We just got finished speaking to about 200 high school students. We've been around the country sharing our love of reading and the power of poetry with teens to get them engaged in literature to help them find their voice."

Alexander's new book "Swing" was released on October 2.

"It's about baseball, jazz music, love, and social justice," Alexander said. "It's about a lot of different things. It's about two kids trying to find cool, trying to find their place in this world, and when they do and they discover the world is not so beautiful, how they deal with it."

A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Alexander is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Prize, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award.

His secret is that poetry can transform a life. He will share that message October 17 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Teche Theatre 501 Main Street in Franklin, Louisiana and again from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. as part of the Community Evening Event in Baton Rouge at the Main Library 7711 Goodwood Boulevard.

Alexander uses poetry to inspire and empower young people around the world through The Write Thing, his K-12 Writing Workshop. Additionally, the 2018 NEA Read Across America Ambassador, Alexander is the founder of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the host and producer of the literary variety/talk show, Bookish, which airs on Facebook Watch.

Moreover, he has led cultural exchange delegations to Brazil, Italy, Singapore, and Ghana, where he built the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded.

"I try to write books that are inspiring," Alexander said. "That's my whole point. I try to empower kids. We want to make the world a better place. I feel like that's my job."

Alexander is currently married with two daughters. His younger daughter is 10, and Alexander said she loves his books.

"I try to run a lot of things by her," he said. "I live in Virginia. My wife is from Louisiana, so it'll be like a homecoming for me to be back in Louisiana."

Hear Alexander speak tomorrow in Franklin or tomorrow night in Baton Rouge. He is on a 30-city book tour for "Swing" and is doing up to three events each day. Show him some love from his second home, where he said he has spent many holidays.