Kwame Alexander on stage.

On Oct. 21,  author of “The Crossover,” and winner of the 2015 Newbery Award, Kwame Alexander, visited Bellingham High School to discuss his book. His book, which is written entirely in verse poetry, portrays the life of two African-American twin brothers who share a love for basketball. Inspired by his writings, many students created their own poetry and art work.

The night began with student art work displayed for attendees to admire in the high school cafeteria. Shortly thereafter, a group of 30 students from different elementary and middle schools throughout Bellingham schools read their poems aloud for waiting audience members. Once the students had finished, guests made their way into the theater for a poetry presentation by the fifth grade class at Happy Valley Elementary.

“My students were excited for their performance which displayed how this book engaged and inspired them,” said Brooke Wertz, Happy Valley Elementary School fifth grade teacher. Wertz noted that the class had been working with Nancy Johnson, professor of Arts and Literature at Western Washington University (WWU) and Sylvia Tag, librarian at WWU, to write the poetry that was shared. 

Author Kwame Alexander was welcomed to the stage, to discuss his book and how he became inspired to write through not only poetry but through children’s literature as well. After his presentation, Alexander stayed to converse with the kids about their poetry, inspirations and to sign his book.






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