McHENRY, Ill., Jan. 26, 2022 – Follett School Solutions and Kwame Alexander, one of the country's most acclaimed children's book authors and literacy innovators, are teaming up to unveil a new experiential, student-led classroom book club. The Kwame Alexander Bookfest provides students in grades 3-8 the opportunity to choose their own books and gives teachers the resources to inspire student-led discussions.
Alexander has curated the grade-appropriate collection that he says will ensure students see the woes, wonders, and possibilities of their lives reflected in what they read, while providing valuable opportunities for kids to engage with each other in lively discussions. A high priority, he said, was selecting stories that were "accessible, inspiring, challenging and positively entertaining, because ultimately the goal is getting kids to want to read."
"I curated the Bookfest collection with the help of literacy and writer friends. The books are designed to support the whole student, promote academic achievement, and encourage positive, healthy behaviors in and outside of school," Alexander said. "There is no such thing as a reluctant reader if you hand a kid the right book. More than anything, I wanted to create an amusement park of incredible literature where students could choose their own rides, have fun, and learn a lot."
Alexander is the New York Times best-selling author of more than 30 books, including Becoming Muhammad Ali, which he co-authored with James Patterson, and The Crossover, his Newbery medal-winning novel-in-verse about 12-year-old basketball-playing twins, which will debut as a TV series on Disney+ in January 2023.
Last year, Kwame's picture book, The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, also received Newbery recognition and the Caldecott Medal. The Newbery and Caldecott medals, presented by the American Library Association, are considered the highest awards for children's literature and illustration.
This is the latest partnership between Follett and Alexander. In 2018, the two teamed up to launch All Books for All Kids, a literacy campaign to ensure children have access to a wide range of books no matter their background.
"Follett and Kwame share a similar passion with not only getting kids to read but keeping them reading," said Britten Follett, CEO of Follett Content Solutions. "The Bookfest emphasizes student choice, which we recognize is critical from an engagement perspective. The collections are designed to help kids see themselves and others, as well as embark on new horizons to better understand and appreciate their neighbors and the world."
Follett herself has started reading books from the collection, beginning with Jason Reynolds' "Look Both Ways." She details why she is enjoying the award-winning book why it's "exactly the type of book our customers are asking for," in a recent LinkedIn post.
The collection varies from coming-of-age adventure to novels-in-verse, from nonfiction picture books to graphics novels and biographies. "There is something magnificent and meaningful for each student in all of these books," said Alexander, adding that only three of his own books are among the 30 books selected.
Each of the six grade-level collection includes:
- five books (six copies of each, or 30 per grade);
- educator guide featuring tips and tricks to implement a successful classroom book club;
- teacher and student discussion guides for each title;
- podcasts that provide access to interviews between Alexander and select authors; and
- book bin for easy organization and storage.
For more information and samples about the Kwame Alexander Bookfest, visit www.titlewave.com/main/bookfest.
About Follett School Solutions
Follett School Solutions is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to grades K-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers, and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, ebooks, and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.