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[Literary News]
Nikki Giovanni: “Everyone in America should read this book. Kwame is one of my favorite writers, and this is one of my favorite books. So proud of my former student and literary son.”
Photo: Kadija Bangura

Kwame Alexander’s latest book, THE UNDEFEATED, has been nominated for the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and is a finalist for The Kirkus Prize, one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000.

On the 400th anniversary of the arrival in America of the first enslaved people from West Africa, Alexander is currently on a 25-city US tour promoting the book, which is beautifully illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

Everyone in America should read this book. Kwame is one of my favorite writers, and this is one of my favorite books. So proud of my former student and literary son,” said writer, poet and educator Nikki Giovanni.

The New York Times calls The Undefeated, “a powerful tribute to the African-American experience.”

It’s a “love letter to black life in the United States, an exploration through words and pictures of the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes,” says Alexander, who originally wrote the piece for ESPN's The Undefeated.

In 2016, he wrote a similar piece, Take a Knee, honoring the Black Lives Matter Movement, which he later performed for ESPN and as a special guest on Comedy Central’s The Jordan Klepper Show.

While on tour, Alexander will release The Crossover as a graphic novel illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile and two new titles under his Versify imprint; ANYA AND THE DRAGON by Sofiya Pasternack and EMMY IN THE KEY OF CODE by former Uber engineer, Aimee Lucido. Tour stops will include: New York, Georgia, Chicago, San Francisco, South Bend, and New York.

Additional details can be found at

About Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is the American School in London’s Innovator-in-Residence, and New York Times Bestselling author of 33 books, including the NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER, Some of his other works include BOOKED, a National Book Award Nominee and OUT OF WONDER, which won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. Kwame is the Founding Editor of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers whose mission is to Change the World One Word at a Time. Additionally, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded, he built the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

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