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January 6, 2023

We're thrilled to host poet, educator, publisher and NYT best selling author, Kwame Alexander to speak to Northside Elementary students. He will be joined by local artist and illustrator, Dare Coulter, as they kick off their book tour for An American Story.

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Kwame Alexander has written 36 books, three of them in a chair next to a fireplace at his neighborhood Panera Bread. For the past three years he wrote in a penthouse in London, where he lived. But, he missed the writing studio he built in Virginia so he moved back, and now his six foot daughter gets to go to high school in America. Kwame has eaten snails, chocolate covered bugs, and grasscutter, which is like a big rat, which he had no idea he was eating because it was in a really tasty stew he ate in Ghana while building a library and a health clinic in a village called Konko. He’s never eaten frogs. But, he has written a book about them called Surf’s Up. And, some other books you may have heard of like The Crossover and Swing and The Undefeated and Becoming Muhammad Ali, all New York Times Bestsellers, which his Dad likes to brag about in grocery stores and doctor’s offices. Kwame loves jazz. Kwame loves his family. Kwame loves his job. Part of Kwame's job is to write and produce the Disney Plus TV series based on his novel The Crossover which he produced with a basketball player named LeBron James. The other part of Kwame’s job is to Change the World One Word at a Time. Oh yeah, he also won the Newbery Medal. Whoa!

Dare Coulter is an award-winning artist, muralist, and sculptor. Her mission for her artwork is primarily to create positive imagery of black people and families. Her most recent notable work includes a 200ft mural (with Kotis Street Art) in Greensboro honoring oft-unmentioned black cowboys and a commission of a painting of Nina Simone from the National Trust for Historic Preservation that was used to raise funds to restore Nina Simone's childhood home. She has illustrated three children's books, including You Are My Sunshine and My N.C. From A to Z, written by Michelle Lanier and commissioned by the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission. Her primary focus is monumental sculpture—fundraising for her first sculpture was just announced!

She was born in Augusta, GA and raised in Lorton, VA. For the second half of her life she has lived in and around Raleigh, NC where the bulk of her public art work has been created. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s in Art + Design, but considers herself a graduate of Meredith College’s art program, as well.         from

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