Press Release

HMH Books & Media Introduces Kwame Alexander’s Versify Imprint with Multi-Author Bus Tour

Versify’s debut authors and artists will tour this April; nationwide road trip for paperback editions of Alexander’s The Crossover and Booked to follow

New York City – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) Books & Media today announced a multi-city, multi-author tour to celebrate the launch of its highly anticipated Versify imprint, founded by acclaimed author Kwame Alexander. Beginning April 1, Alexander and Versify’s inaugural group of authors and artists are hitting the road for a weeklong bus tour that will make stops at schools, bookstores and public venues across the Northeast.

Versify’s mission is present books to “electrify, edify, and exemplify” with accessible and powerful prose and poetry that celebrates the lives and reflects the possibilities of all children. Its debut list includes four books: The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles; ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by author/illustrator Raúl the Third; White Rose by Kip Wilson; and Alexander’s own picture book, The Undefeated, which is illustrated by Kadir Nelson, who will join the tour for select events. The books, which go on sale April 2, have earned a combined 13 starred reviews from industry media to date.

In addition to a number of classroom visits, the Versify team will make public appearances with the Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, N.Y. (April 1); Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. (April 2); An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Mass. (April 3); Words Bookstore in Maplewood, N.J. (April 4); Children’s Book World in Haverford, Pa. (April 5); and The National Gallery of Art and Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (April 6). 

“I love visiting schools and meeting readers as much as I love writing the books,” said Alexander. “The bus is a way for me to reach tons more kids in a short period of time. And look cool doing it. I really want to make all books cool for ALL kids. That the Versify authors get to launch their books is apropos, ’cause they’re all rock stars!”

Immediately following the Versify tour, Kwame Alexander will embark on a national bus tour to celebrate the paperback editions of his Newbery Medal–winning verse novel, The Crossover, and its acclaimed follow-up Booked. Starting in Virginia, Alexander will visit children at bookstores, schools, libraries and other venues in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri and Tennessee. He will be joined by musician Randy Preston throughout the tour. r.: Kadir Nelson, Lamar Giles, Kwame Alexander, Kip Wilson, and Raul the Third. Credit: MXBloom Films

“Kwame Alexander events are as dynamic and inspiring as his books,” said Catherine Onder, SVP and Publisher of HMH Books for Young Readers. “These back-to-back tours create a celebratory launch for the Versify imprint while highlighting the groundbreaking books that have earned him fans worldwide.”

Both book tours are supported by education solutions provider Follett, which announced a partnership with Kwame Alexander in fall 2018 to launch All Books for All Kids, a literacy campaign to ensure children have access to a wide range of books, no matter their background.

For additional tour details, visit or

Visit for more information about Follett Book Fairs in elementary and middle schools and #AllBooksforAllKids.

About Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 28 books, including Rebound, the follow-up to 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 Help You Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game of Life, Swing, and the picture books, Out of Wonder and The Undefeated.

A regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, The NCTE/Charlotte Huck Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. He believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people around the world through The Write Thing, his K-12 Writing Workshop. Kwame is the founder of Versify, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the host and producer of the literary variety/talk show, Bookish, which airs on Facebook Watch. He's led cultural exchange delegations to Brazil, Italy, Singapore, and Ghana, where he built the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. Twitter: @kwamealexander Instagram: @kwamealexander

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media
For nearly two centuries, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has published some of the world’s most renowned novels, nonfiction, children’s books, and reference works. As part of a leading global learning company, it is uniquely positioned to offer educational and entertaining content for all audiences. Its distinguished author list includes ten Nobel Prize winners, forty-eight Pulitzer Prize winners, fifteen National Book Award winners, and more than one hundred Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients. Current and recent authors include Tim O'Brien, Natasha Trethewey, Tim Ferriss, Amos Oz, Ursula K. Le Guin, and a celebrated roster of children’s authors and illustrators including Kwame Alexander, Lois Lowry, and Chris Van Allsburg. HMH is also home to The Best American series® The Whole30®, Weber Grill, How to Cook Everything®, and other leading lifestyle properties; books by J.R.R. Tolkien; and many iconic children’s books and characters, including Curious George®, The Little Prince, and The Polar Express. HMH Audio, a newly launched imprint, will publish audio books of HMH front list and backlist titles starting in fall 2019.   

John Sellers
Director of Publicity
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers