How to Read a Book (Hardcover)

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How to Read a Book Cover Image
By Kwame Alexander, Melissa Sweet (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

Bookmarks hosted Kwame Alexander at our 2015 Festival, and we're thrilled to introduce this picture book to our readers this summer! Limited signed copies available.

Award-winning, bestselling author and illustrator team up for the first time! This picture book is the first-ever collaboration between Kwame Alexander and Melissa Sweet, each award winners and bestsellers in their own right. Melissa’s art is stunning and complements Kwame’s lovely poem perfectly, and the package of this book is unique: it features a gatefold page as well as an interior die-cut. It is truly a sensory experience to read, and readers will love holding it in their hands as they read it over and over.The text of this picture book is a poem by Kwame, and poetry is on the rise in children’s literature.

— Beth

Summer 2019 Kids Indie Next List

“Once you’ve flipped through these pages, there is no going back. You’re never going to forget it. The whimsy and wonder of each page of this book are astounding; Melissa Sweet has perfectly illustrated Kwame Alexander’s lovely poem.”
— Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL


A stunning new picture book from Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander and Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet! This New York Times bestselling duo has teamed up for the first time to bring you How to Read a Book, a poetic and beautiful journey about the experience of reading.

Find a tree—a

black tupelo or

dawn redwood will do—and

plant yourself.

(It’s okay if you prefer a stoop, like Langston Hughes.)

With these words, an adventure begins. Kwame Alexander’s evocative poetry and Melissa Sweet’s lush artwork come together to take readers on a sensory journey between the pages of a book.

How to Read a Book has received three starred reviews!

About the Author

Kwame Alexander is a poet, an educator, and the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-nine books, including Rebound, the follow-up to his Newbery Medal–winning novel, The Crossover. Kwame writes for children of all ages. His other picture books include Undefeated, Animal Ark, and Out of Wonder. A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of several awards, including the Coretta Scott King Author Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, three NAACP Image Award nominations, and the 2018 inaugural Conroy Legacy Award. He believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his writing workshop, the Write Thing. Kwame is also the host and producer of the literary variety/talk show Bookish. You can visit him at

Melissa Sweet has illustrated more than one hundred books. Her work has been in magazines, on greeting cards, and on her living room walls. Melissa has received the Caldecott Honor Medal twice, among many other awards, including the Sibert Medal, and is a New York Times bestselling author and artist. Melissa lives in Maine. You can visit her at

Praise For…

★ “[An] engaging and mesmerizing ode to reading…delightful and appealing.”
— ALA Booklist (starred review)

★ “A linguistic and visual feast.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

★ “A beautiful book not to be rushed through, but to be enjoyed morsel by tasty morsel.”
— School Library Journal (starred review)

“[This] love poem to literacy conjures up startling, luscious images...By turns dreamy and ecstatic.”
— Publishers Weekly

“This is a party for a select (but hopefully large) list of like-minded young literati, who know how to ‘squeeze every morsel of each plump line until the last drop of magic drips from the infinite sky’ and revel in their fandom.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

★ “Readers who will want to head right back to the beginning and soak in this lovingly rendered testimonial more than once…Sweet’s distinctive hand-lettered text, which itself becomes another part of the artwork, is a perfect complement to Alexander’s prose.”
— BookPage (starred review)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062307811
ISBN-10: 0062307819
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: June 18th, 2019
Pages: 32
Language: English