The question always comes.
After the flood of excitement and gratitude, a Newbery winner must face the inevitable blank page.
Kwame Alexander, author of Newbery Medal-winning The Crossover, faced the blank page and lived to tell about it. His new book, called Booked, arrives on April 5, 2016. Today we have a first look at the cover.
I talked to Mr. Alexander about things.
Travis Jonker: Down the road, your friend wins the Newbery. *Ring* *Ring*
“What’s this going to be like, Kwame?”
Kwame Alexander: It’s going to be like that time when you were eight and you won the elementary spelling bee, and for a single day, every teacher in school smiled when you walked by, every aunt and uncle stopped by to give you $5, your parents let you watch TV ’til you fell asleep, and that one girl you crushed on came and sat at your lunch table. Only it’s not a single day, it’s FOREVER! That’s what it’s going to be like: breathtaking and mind blowing! (Also, you’ll need to hire an assistant).
TJ: Is there a particular piece of wisdom you always try to share with young writers?
KA: I tell’em three things: Read, Read, and Read. We learn how to write, what works and what doesn’t, by reading other writers. Also, we broaden our experiences by getting between the lines and discovering things that we may not have ever experienced or even wondered about. To have something worth writing about, you have to live a meaningful and worthy life, and reading is a fairly cheap and exciting way to begin doing, or at least understanding how to do that.
TJ: Your next novel-in-verse! What’s the story behind Booked?
KA: I’ll tell you the story behind the story. Writing a novel after The Crossover was daunting and fun. I found myself competing against myself, comparing myself to myself, until one day in Panera, I said to heck with that drama. I decided to do something completely different, not in story per se–I mean I’m still dealing with sports (soccer) and family and friendships and word–but in terms of technique. Booked (which is the term for getting a red card or thrown out of soccer match), in many ways, is more experimental, and more dramatic, than anything I’ve written, and I had so much fun writing it.
Thanks for the conversation, Kwame. Now let’s have a first look at the cover…
(Click to enlarge)
Should we give away a copy? Let’s give away a copy.