“’Nos are a part of life,” said Newbery Award Winning author Kwame Alexander to the captivated crowd of Middle and Upper School students and faculty during Monday’s Grizzly Gathering in Garland Theater. The power of being able to recover from rejection was the theme of Mr. Alexander’s energetic presentation at GFS that combined poetry, song, games and conversation with the students and faculty. Aided by guitarist Randy Preston, Mr. Alexander shared his journey from learning to love poetry as a result of a few high school failures to being rejected by 18 publishers before releasing his book The Crossover, which went on to win the 2015 Newbery Medal.
A poet, educator and author of 21 bestselling books, Mr. Alexander encouraged each girl to “be a star” in her own way and to embrace the inevitable rejection that comes with working toward realizing a dream. Mr. Alexander was told that The Crossover, which is a poetic story about two young basketball players, wouldn’t sell because “boys don’t read poems and girls don’t read books about sports–” two assumptions that the book’s sales would quickly prove wrong. After sharing his story with the students, Mr. Alexander had groups of faculty and students engage in a fun competition for a book giveaway and answered questions from the audience. The visit ended with students wrapped around the theater to have their books signed by Mr. Alexander.