Discussing Slavery in Classrooms — #1 New York Times Bestselling Author’s New Book Shows the Way


On January 3, 2023Kwame Alexander, the #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of The Crossover, The Door of No Return and The Undefeated, will kick off a national tour at Judy Blume’s in Key West, Florida for An American Story, a bold children’s picture book that explains American slavery through the voice of a teacher who is struggling to help her students understand its place in history.

Told through lyrical writing and stunning illustrations, the powerful, multilayered narrative by Alexander and artist/sculpturist Dare Coulter will take educators, parents and young people from fireside tales in an African village, through the passage across the Atlantic and the backbreaking work in the fields of the South to eventual emancipation.

“I wrote this book after a rather difficult parent-teacher conference back in my daughter’s fourth grade school year,” said Alexander, whose book The Crossover is a forthcoming Disney+ television series. “An American Story is for all teachers and parents trying to find their voices, trying to share a lesson that we all find so difficult to discuss. It is a story for readers of all ages — a story of a people’s struggle, strength, horror and hope that needs to be told and understood by all of us.”

Coulter, a longtime sculpturist and illustrator, said: “I want there to be these big assemblies of beautiful, hopeful kids reading this book, to whom we can say, ‘Yes, this did happen, yes, it is terrible; but the way forward is acknowledgement and understanding.’ I want readers to walk away feeling resilient.”

Alexander’s national tour for the book launches with a live virtual conversation from Judy Blume’s Key West, Florida bookstore, Books and Books, on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 12 p.m. EST on his Facebook page (Facebook.com/KwameAlexanderBooks). The virtual event will be followed by a nine-city book tour, which kicks off on Jan. 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina and includes stops in Jacksonville, FloridaCharleston and Charlotte. Learn more at kwamealexander.com.


Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher and New York Times bestselling author of 37 books, including the Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, the Newbery medal-winning novel, The Crossover (a forthcoming TV series on Disney+), and Becoming Muhammad Ali, co-authored with James Patterson. He is also a regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition.

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Her fiction writing has received the Author / Ambassador at Library Journal Self-e Authors, Winner Queen of the West Reader Favorite Award, Amazon Bestseller - Historical, Double finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Mystery and Humorous Categories. Writing humorous cozy mysteries and romantic comedy, Jocie can find humor in most everything, even when she shouldn't. She lives in the Midwest on Dust Bunny Farm with her family.