January 7, 2023
With the support of our community, we brought Kwame Alexander and Dare Coulter to visit with the students of Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill. Kwame and Dare jumped out of their tour van and lit up the entire library with their brilliance, joy, poetry and artwork. They had kids singing in Swahili and teachers shouting out lines of poetry.
Kwame read An American Story to the students - a powerful picture book that tells the story of American slavery through the voice of a teacher struggling to help her students understand. Dare brought sculptures that she made for the artwork in the book and passed them around for the kids to examine.
At the end of the event, Kwame and Dare signed books (and even a couple of foreheads!). Again, with the community's support, Prism was able to donate enough books that each student could get one signed.
We are so grateful to have support from people who value the impact that this poet and artist have had on our youth. A special thanks goes to Ms. Kat Cole, NES Librarian; Ms. Coretta Sharpless, NES Principal; Flyleaf Books; and Briana Brough for beautifully photographing the event.
Kwame, Dare, and An American Story
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.