Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star and drug addict with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy, including the loss of his mother. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father.
In reality, the only thing Blade and Rutherford have in common is the music that lives inside them. And songwriting is all Blade has left after Rutherford, while drunk, crashes his high school graduation speech and effectively rips Chapel away forever. But when a long-held family secret comes to light, the music disappears. In its place is a letter, one that could bring Blade the freedom and love he’s been searching for, or leave him feeling even more adrift.
“A contemporary hero’s journey, brilliantly told.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A rhythmic, impassioned ode to family, identity, and the history of rock and roll.” —Booklist, starred review
“Many readers will identify with Blade’s struggle to find his place in a family where he feels like an outsider.” —Publishers Weekly
“The authentic character development and tone will strike a chord with young adults.” —School Library Journal
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times bestselling author of 28 books, including Swing, Solo, and Rebound, the follow-up to his Newbery Medal-winning middle grade novel, The Crossover. Some of his other works include Booked, a National Book Award nominee; The Playbook: 52 Rules to Help You Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game Called Life; and the Coretta Scott King Award-winning Out of Wonder. The 2018 NEA Read Across America Ambassador, Kwame is also the host and producer of the literary variety/talk show, Bookish, which airs on Facebook Watch, the cofounding director of the LEAP for Ghana initiative, and the Founding Editor of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.
Mary Rand Hess is a poet, mixed-media artist, screenwriter, and New York Times bestselling author of Solo and Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures, both coauthored with Kwame Alexander.
When America is not so beautiful, or right, or just, it can be hard to know what to do. Best friends Walt and Noah decide to use their voices to grow more good in the world, but first they’ve got to find cool.
Walt is convinced junior year is their year, and he has a plan to help them woo the girls of their dreams and become amazing athletes. Never mind that he and Noah failed to make the high school baseball team yet again, and Noah’s love interest since third grade, Sam, has him firmly in the friend zone. Noah soon finds himself navigating the worlds of jazz, batting cages, the strange advice of Walt’s Dairy Queen-employed cousin, as well as Walt’s “Hug Life” mentality. Status quo seems inevitable until Noah stumbles on a stash of old love letters. Each page contains the words he’s always wanted to say to Sam, and he begins secretly creating artwork using the lines that speak his heart. But when his private artwork becomes public, Noah has a decision to make: continue his life in the dugout and possibly lose the girl forever, or take a swing and finally speak out?
At the same time, numerous American flags are being left around town. While some think it’s a harmless prank and others see it as a form of peaceful protest, Noah can’t shake the feeling something bigger is happening to his community. Especially after he witnesses events that hint divides and prejudices run deeper than he realized.
As the personal and social tensions increase around them, Noah and Walt must decide what is really true when it comes to love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.
Swing:Is written by New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award-winner Kwame AlexanderIs a young adult fiction novel told through Kwame’s one-of-a-kind free-verse poetryIs ripe with themes of hope, courage, and loveMasterfully combines jazz, art, baseball, friendship, and love into what many are calling “Kwame’s best book yet”Tackles some of the most painful social issues of today, including racial prejudice