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Kwame Alexander presents
reading program to K-12 students

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Kwame Alexander presents
reading program to K-12 students

ENO Assistant Editor Haley Stack interviews guest author Kwame Alexander as he signs books outside the high school arena. This event, which accompanied the 'One District, One Read' program, was Monday, Oct. 1 and sponsored by Prosper ISD librarians. Alexander has written books appealing to readers on different age levels. “I want to inspire young people,” Alexander said. “I think young people are going to be the ones to inspire a better world, and I want to help them do that to make the world a better place.”

ENO Assistant Editor Haley Stack interviews guest author Kwame Alexander as he signs books outside the high school arena. This event, which accompanied the 'One District, One Read' program, was Monday, Oct. 1 and sponsored by Prosper ISD librarians. Alexander has written books appealing to readers on different age levels. “I want to inspire young people,” Alexander said. “I think young people are going to be the ones to inspire a better world, and I want to help them do that to make the world a better place.”

Dianna Weber

ENO Assistant Editor Haley Stack interviews guest author Kwame Alexander as he signs books outside the high school arena. This event, which accompanied the 'One District, One Read' program, was Monday, Oct. 1 and sponsored by Prosper ISD librarians. Alexander has written books appealing to readers on different age levels. “I want to inspire young people,” Alexander said. “I think young people are going to be the ones to inspire a better world, and I want to help them do that to make the world a better place.”

Dianna Weber

Dianna Weber

ENO Assistant Editor Haley Stack interviews guest author Kwame Alexander as he signs books outside the high school arena. This event, which accompanied the 'One District, One Read' program, was Monday, Oct. 1 and sponsored by Prosper ISD librarians. Alexander has written books appealing to readers on different age levels. “I want to inspire young people,” Alexander said. “I think young people are going to be the ones to inspire a better world, and I want to help them do that to make the world a better place.”

Haley Stack, Assistant Editor

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Author Kwame Alexander visited students from grades Kindergarten to 12th for the ‘One District, One Read’ event.

The aim of the event, according to organizers, was to get students of all grade levels engaged in reading, and the author they invited provided the multi-level offerings needed to do so.

“We chose Kwame Alexander because he writes books for children of all ages,” high school librarian Jenna Hutt said. “We really wanted to expand the ‘One District, One Read’ event to all students, not just elementary children.”

The presentation for primary school students featured an acoustic guitarist, student-read/written poetry, games and excerpts read by Alexander himself.

One of the featured poetry-readers was Rucker Elementary’s Peyton Duke in third grade.  

“I thought he was very funny, and he told us little tiny moments about parts of his book, and it had lots of details in it,” Duke said. “I really had a fun time, and it inspired me to buy his book.”

The town of Prosper was Alexander’s last stop before starting his Swing book tour. Swing published Oct. 2.

Kwame Alexander’s latest book is Swing. Alexander spoke to students at the high school arena on Oct. 1. and gave those who attended the following advice: “Read every day even if it’s five minutes or a paragraph.”

Alexander’s first piece was a poem to his mother he wrote at 12 years old, and has been writing ever since. He comes from a family of writers and artists, including his father, who is a publisher and a sister who is also a writer. Langston Hughes, E.E Cummings and Dr. Seuss are some of Alexander’s inspirations.

“I want to inspire young people,” Alexander said. “I think young people are going to be the ones to inspire a better world, and I want to help them do that to make the world a better place.”

He advises kids to read everything they can get their hands on, which is what he did when growing up in New York.

“Read everything,” Alexander said. “Read every day even if it’s five minutes or a paragraph.”

Alexander’s book, The Crossover, won the 2015 Newbery award and recognized his book as the year’s most distinguishable contribution to American literature for children.

“It was life-changing,” Alexander said. “I was this writer who had enjoyed writing, loved it, but this was on a whole other level. More kids had access to my books, and it was a great feeling.”

Although, Alexander said he worries kids won’t be as interested in reading as they might be in other school subjects, which he hopes to change through sharing his writing at schools. He sees his presentations as a way to make his stories involve live-action and to engage more students who don’t enjoy reading.

“I want to show kids that words are powerful, that words are cool,” Alexander said. “I want to help them make the words come off the page and put them on the stage.”

Many of Alexander’s books are focused around sports, which he said he sees as something that a large population of people can relate and apply to their lives.

“I think sports are a great metaphor for our lives,” Alexander said. “Resilience, grit, motivation, teamwork, persistence, exercise, practice – all the things that go into sports really apply to life.”

Currently, Alexander is working on a graphic novel and will continue to do so on his tour.

“The way we learn to become better writers is by reading other people’s writing about what they did,” Alexander said. “Words can change the world.”

About the Writer
Haley Stack, Assistant editor

Haley Stack is a junior and this is her third year on the staff. She competes in UIL journalism and plays lacrosse for the city. One of her most treasured...

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Kwame Alexander presents
reading program to K-12 students