Ya’ll Fest

Lineup Announcement: Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is the founding Director of Book-in-a-Day, a program that teaches and inspires teenagers to write and publish their own books. Kwame has written 14 books—two for children, two for young adults—owned owned several publishing companies, directed plays, written an episode of Hip Hop Harry, recorded a CD, performed around the world, produced jazz and book festivals, hosted a weekly radio show, worked for the U.S. Government, and taught in a high school…But, what he loves to do most, is watch his teenage daughter become a smart and beautiful woman, listen to his brilliant and wonderful wife laugh, and sit in his library reading and writing poems about both of them, like this one he wrote for his teenage daughter:

10 Reasons Why Father’s Cry at Night

1. Because teenagers don’t like park swings or long walks anymore unless you’re in the mall

2. Because holding her hand is forbidden and kisses are lethal

3. Because school was fine, her day was fine, and yes, she’s fine (so why is she weeping?)

4. Because you want to help, but you can’t read minds

5. Because she’s in love and that’s cute, until you find his note asking her to prove it

6. Because she didn’t prove it

7. Because next week she’s in love, and this time it’s real, she says her heart is “heavy”

8. Because she yearns to take long walks in the park with him

9. Because you remember the myriad woes and wonders of spring desire

10. Because with trepidation and thrill, you watch your daughter who suddenly wants to swing all by herself