Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kwame Alexander at GEMS Modern Academy

Monday 24th of April was a special day for The Resource Centre. Newbery Award-winning author Kwame Alexander visited our library and had a book discussion with the students.

“Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator and New York Times bestselling author of 24 books. He received the Newbery Medal for his novel The Crossover. Newbery Medal, is the American Library Association’s top award given to the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Kwame Alexander regularly travels the world as a literacy advocate and expert.”

His book Crossover has many features that distinguish it from other novels. The novel is basically in the form of poetry. In other words, it can be called as a novel in verse. Words change from line to line and sometimes drops diagonally across a page as if the narrator moves down a basketball court. 12-year-old Josh Bell offers his story in a painful, sad and funny way. The story is quite compelling. Although the story tells a lot about basketball, it rummages through deeper issues like tension revolving around Josh and his twin brother. In Alexandre’s own words he tried to bring into attention in Crossover, the joy and sense of humor that was ubiquitous in his family.

It is not a small achievement to listen to a Newbery Award winner who is as persuasive and alluring as Mr. Alexander. He captured the attention of a large group of students from different grades with ease. He kept on switching from personal anecdotes, reading out his poems and asking questions to the students that made up the audience. Among the questions were who among the audience is a great basketball player and who is the best rapper among the audience.He recited some of his poems for the audience.

The students in the library were literally celebrating the moments with Mr. Alexander and passionately asked him questions like what inspired him to be a writer, what was his latest work, how many books he has written, why did he choose basketball as a theme in his novel and what made him switch on from basketball to soccer to endangered species and finally to a novel. Mr. Alexander was taken by surprise at the variety of questions coming from the students.

His another work ‘Booked’ deals with serious issues among middle schoolers like bullying, racism, and education. It is relatable equally to students, parents, and educators. It has a lot of message about family, friendship, and learning. One of the beautiful chapters that caught my attention while having a quick glance through his work ‘Booked’ is given below.

Basketball Rule #1

In this game of life
Your family is the court
And the ball is your heart.
No matter how good you are,
no matter how down you get,
always leave
your heart
on the court.

It was a wonderful experience to listen to such an appealing writer as Mr. Alexander. The students who attended the session were indeed lucky to have interacted with such a great author. His presence in the library was electric and heartfelt at the same time and he kept the students on their toes till the end. Applause to Ms. Madhur who arranged such a wonderful event in the library which I feel will remain in memory forever for all who attended the session.

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Jonathan Livingston Seagull

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