I don't know what it is about an event at Words in Maplewood. It always involves traffic. Last year, it involved rain and terrible traffic. Oh! And, the parking! It's terrible! But it's always worth it. I had made a mental note to trek there for the Versify Tour well before a FB Memory popped up in my timeline. A year ago, on April 3, 2019, I tolerated a truly horrendous experience on the Garden State Parkway to hear Kwame Alexander talk about and read from Rebound.
Thursday evening, I dashed from my yoga nidra class to the GSP only to sit in stop-and-go traffic from exit 165!!! Yeah, it took over an hour to get to Words, and it wasn't raining. Once I got there, it too another fifteen minutes to find a parking space. Yikes! This town needs a few lots. Thankfully, the event started late. I did get a seat though. Here are the pix:
Introductions by the rather stressed-out and standoff-ish co-owner of the store. I know these things are stressful, but...
she could be a bit more welcoming and happy about turnout and such.
Kip Wilson went first and, performed a poem from her debut, White Rose, without reading from her book! Impressive. We Will Not be Silent is one of my favorite non-fiction books ever. White Rose looks like a perfect fiction/ non-fiction pairing.
Lamar Giles read from his delightful MG debut, The Last Last Day of Summer. I had actually read and reviewed this fun novel here.
Raul the Third read from ¡Vamos! Let's Go to Market. This looks like such a fun book.
Kadir Nelson speaks about the fact that he now just about only illustrates what he writes, but made an exception for The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander.
Finally, our emcee and all-around ice-breaker, Kwame Alexander, sporting a shirt that I covet (and googled and found not only tees but mugs), read from The Undefeated. My heart nearly stopped and my eyes definitely brimmed with tears with his reading.
I got my books signed and headed out. I wonder if HMH used the same bus from the Rebound tour and repainted it:
ETA: I reread my post, found a typo, fixed it and then realized that I never talked about Versify. The authors on tour are on the initial list of Alexander's imprint - Versify. I love the name and he chose a great bunch to launch his imprint. Good luck Versify!