How to Write a Poem (Hardcover)

How to Write a Poem By Kwame Alexander, Melissa Sweet (Illustrator), Deanna Nikaido Cover Image

How to Write a Poem (Hardcover)


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In this evocative and playful companion to their New York Times bestselling picture book How to Read a Book, Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander teams up with poet Deanna Nikaido and Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet to celebrate the magic of discovering your very own poetry in the world around you.


with a question

like an acorn

waiting for spring.

From this first stanza, readers are invited to pay attention—and to see that paying attention itself is poetry. Kwame Alexander and Deanna Nikaido’s playful text and Melissa Sweet’s dynamic, inventive artwork are paired together to encourage readers to listen, feel, and discover the words that dance in the world around them—poems just waiting to be written down.



Kwame Alexander is a poet, an educator, and the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-five books, including his Newbery Medal–winning middle grade novel The Crossover. Some of his other works include Booked, which was longlisted for the National Book Award; The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called LifeSwing; the picture books How to Read a Book and How to Write a Poem (coauthored with Deanna Nikaido), both illustrated by Melissa Sweet; and The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Caldecott Medal, a Newbery Honor, and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. He is a regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, currently serving as their poet ambassador. He lives in Virginia with his family. Visit his website at 

Melissa Sweet has illustrated more than one hundred books, including Kwame Alexander’s How to Read a Book and How to Write a Poem, and has written and illustrated her own work. Her work has been featured in magazines, on greeting cards, and on living room walls. Melissa has received the Caldecott Honor Medal twice, among many other awards, including the Sibert Award, and is a New York Times bestselling author and artist. Melissa lives in Maine. You can visit her at

Product Details ISBN: 9780063060906
ISBN-10: 0063060906
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: April 4th, 2023
Pages: 32
Language: English

"An exquisite guide that inspires and encapsulates the essence of poetry." — Booklist (starred review)

"Both a teaching tool for writing poetry as well as an ode to poetry itself. Highly recommended." — School Library Journal (starred review)

"Marvelously crafted to inspire blooming writers." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A highly welcoming invitation to write that makes clear poetry is for everyone—reader and writer alike." — Publishers Weekly