He was appearing (with his bus) at Words Books in Maplewood. I was very happy to learn that this signing was at five instead of the usual four. Four o'clock signings during the week are impossible for me to leave school and arrive on time. Five o'clock is doable. But what with the rain and the usual Garden State Parkway traffic, a 35 minute ride was close to an hour. Believe me, I almost turned around. But it was Kwame Alexander and all I could think about was the two students who are his biggest fans at my school and how happy getting to read Rebound would make them.
I did arrive late, but didn't miss anything. It started a bit late. Didn't get a seat either, but I'm used to standing. Here's what I learned about Rebound:
While it took him five years to write The Crossover, it took two years to write Rebound.
He had never intended on writing more/ a sequel to The Crossover, but as he traveled and visit with kids, they kept asking for a sequel. If you haven't read The Crossover, I won't spoil why a sequel would've been hard. Once he nailed down the possible plot, he wrote. He wrote in planes and hotel rooms and at his mom's hospital bedside. Rebound is dedicated to his mother.
He brought along a friend with a guitar. His name, Randy Preston, rang a bell. Once he started singing, I recognized him as the singer in Solo. More about that book in a Teen Tuesday blog post later this month.
There were about twenty-five kids sitting on the floor at his feet so eager to hear what he had to say. It was so obvious that they all read his books - closely. They finished his rhymes. They laughed at the in-jokes and even made some. They had inhaled and assimilated his books. There was even a young beat boxer in the audience who provided beats for part of the reading.
Here are some photos: