Tag Archives: Kwame Alexander

Surf’s Up











Surf’s Up

by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Daniel Miyares
North South Books, 2016

When I read that this book was already changing non-reader’s opinion about reading, I had to find out why. I was even more curious when I saw that Newbery Medal award winner, Kwame Alexander, wrote it.  He gives voice to inside tensions, and, in a playful, appealing way, he does that with Surf’s Up.

The story opens with laid-back slang and the promise of surfing, but one character exclaims, “Not yet, Dude,” as he sits riveted to a book.  His friend can’t believe a book has captured his buddy, and he drags his buddy—with his book—towards the beach.  His buddy cries out his excitement as the story’s tension mounts and the friend must ask, “What happened?”  As his buddy draws him into a story of whales and pirates and storms and dangers, the friend, too, becomes excited about the story.  He asks how the story ends, but his buddy says, “Not telling.”  Lured into the story, the friend opens the book, while his buddy surfs the waves.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

The Crossover

The Crossover
by Kwame Alexander
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
Newbery Award Winner

This fast-moving story, written in poem, you will dive you into a family of basketball.  Twins, coached since they were three by their basketball winning father, “Da Man”, sizzle on the court.  Josh and Jordan know every move, every line-up; they know how to play off other’s strengths, and into other’s blindspots; they rule the court.  Coming into the final season games, headed for championship,   Josh’s world starts to change.  Jordan finds a girl friend and Josh becomes the outsider.  Angry, he makes a dumb move, and is removed from all games, but must attend the games from the sidelines.  During this growing up time, he asks that he not be called by his childhood name, Filthy McNasty.  His father’s world is changing too, and we learn why the title fits the story.