How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander

How to Read a Book

A poetic journey about the experience of reading.Find a tree—ablack tupelo ordawn redwood will do—andplant yourself.(It’s okay if you prefer a stoop, like Langston Hughes.)With these words, an adventure begins. Kwame Alexander’s poetry and Melissa Sweet’s artwork come together to take readers on a journey between the pages of a book.

Details How to Read a Book

TitleHow to Read a Book
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Poetry, Writing, Books About Books

Reviews How to Read a Book

  • David Schaafsma
    My family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books every year. This is book #13 (of more than 20) of 2019, and statistically this looks like one of there two best of the year for my family. It's a fairly predictable (and marketable) topic for a book to be purchased by elementary school teachers, parents and librarians about reading, but it features colorful collage art we (collectively) at least found unique and interestingLyra (12) ...
  • Kate
    For a book on 'How to read a book" this is really hard to read... like physically, it is hard to read the actual text. The collage like art combined with overly bright colors and mismatched patchwork font choices are jarring to the eye. I'm not sure what they were thinking, but some poor design choices were made on this one. Shame on the art director for this one. The text is your standard Kwame Alexander poetry, though some of the word choices c...
  • kelly
    I know some will disagree but I found the book very hard to read. While I enjoyed the artful illustrations, I felt that a young child who may try to read this would have difficulty due to the font style interspersed with the collage work. I love the poem. I love the artwork. I don't love them together.
  • Dreaday
    This could have been fine, but the writing was almost indistinguishable from the art, which made it really difficult to read the actual poetry. I couldn’t make it through while I was at the store today. I will have to dedicate some actual time to it, which I assume I would if I were to purchase it, but... ehhh. To summarize, I did not enjoy the art style. No comment on the poetry since I was UNABLE TO CONCENTRATE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY READ IT.
  • Mary Lee
    Wow. Melissa Sweet pulled out all the stops on this one. Hidden Nikki Grimes quote in the spread between the title page and the dedication page, before Kwame's poem begins (took me about four reads to find it). Gatefold, two small pages with cutouts, neon colors, and of course her amazing collages and lettering. The illustrations kind of overwhelm the poem a bit, if I'm going to be honest, but I love Kwame's metaphor of reading: peeling and eatin...
  • Danielle
    Yup, yup, soak this one up!!
  • Deborah
    Lush and psychedelic collage on the exploration of reading. It felt like an acid trip with pages popping out in neon colors and torn strips and verses of wandering fingers, rustling pages, and blooming souls. Yet this is a child's picture book. Go figure.
  • Rod Brown
    Goodreads Choice Awards Project: Read as many of the opening round Best Picture Book nominees as possible. 9 to go!Visual and verbal gibberish make for the instruction manual from hell. Why did a copy of Bambi have to be sacrificed for this collage-strophe? And I was never able to ascertain the purpose of the recurring X's, targets and asterisks. Any ideas?
  • Shari
    Gorgeous book by a dynamic duo. Adult book nerds will appreciate the incredible artwork, clever language, and connections to notable poets. Kid book nerds will enjoy the clever structural features. OK, the adults like the structural features, too.
  • Laura Harrison
    I am in awe of How to Read a Book! The gorgeous cover art draws you in and the text wow's you! Melissa Sweet is one of the very best picture book illustrator's of our time. She has topped herself with this one. Every page is an inspired wonder. There isn't a question in my mind that How to Read a Book will win awards. It is spectacular.
  • Jillian Heise
    This one would likely not make a good read aloud because of how busy the pages are and how the words are illustrated making it harder to read. As a lap story, it would be good, and has a beautiful way of saying what it has to say.
  • Amanda
    What a dilemma! She is one of my favorite illustrators. I love poetry. Put these together and it should be a WIN! No.The illustrations tangled me badly. I was lost and ill-sorted and ill-suited against the collages and bright pops. *hangs head in defeat* What I normally cherish lead me astray and befuddled me; I feel frustrated and vexed. I kept checking and re-checking each page to make sure that I didn't miss anything. I would love to use this ...
  • Carolyn
    How fun, an ode to reading. Instructional in the best way. "Once you're comfy, peel its gentle skin, like you would a clementine...Next, did your thumb at the bottom of each juicy section and POP the words out." I can't decide if I prefer the illustrations or the writing better, both are so complementary and enjoyable. Check this book out!
  • Donna
    Lyrical, beautiful, mesmerizing. The power of reading a form of bibliotherapy in itself. Bookart collages and zany colourways abound. Love it.
  • Liesl
    Images: 2 starsStory: 2 starsFor a book called How to Read it sure is hard to read with it's neon colors and unusual fonts. And the description of reading "peel its gentle skin..." really creeped me out. Just in general not a fan of this book which means it will probably win an award.
  • Melissa
    1.5/5 SURPRISE!It's a book partystacked with allyour favoritefriends:A picnic ofwords+soundsin leaps+bounds This is a picture book poem about the joy of reading.While I thought the poem was pretty good, I found it to be a bit too abstract for kids - for example, it describes opening a book as "peel its gentle skin, like you would a clementine". If I'm being perfectly honest, I wasn't the biggest fan of the collage-style illustrations either. I fo...
  • Jen
    I really wanted to love this book as I've read rave reviews on it. While I do love the poem that this is based on, the art form used to illustrate the book made some of the pages very difficult to read. I found myself double checking to make sure I read everything that I was supposed to. I'm thinking younger readers may have the same issue.
  • Amy!
    KWAME!! SWOON.Also, I would like several of these illustrations for my walls.
  • Ben Truong
    How to Read a Book is a children's picture book written Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, which is a wonderful ode to reading.Alexander's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and lyrical. It depicts the joys and wonders of reading with verse and beautiful imagery. Sweet's illustrations riff on his verse, line by line, imbuing spreads with the feel of a continually evolving, handmade love letter.The premise of the book is ra...
  • Candace
    A poem about how to read a book. The artwork is busy and brilliantly colorful, mixed with collages and cutouts. At times I felt the poem got lost in the artwork. I had to read pages more than once to make sure I was seeing it correctly. I recommend this book as a one on one reading experience.
  • Kate Willis
    I dearly love this illustrator's style, so I picked this book up not knowing anything else about it. Some of the pictures were enjoyable, and I liked a few of the metaphors in the poem. Unfortunately, the decision to do the text in a collage style mixed with the pictures made it very hard for me to read. I also didn't connect well with the poem, but that's just me. ;)
  • Alexandria
    It was unique and I get what they were going for but honestly it was hard to read and the collage was off putting.
  • Ann Haefele
    Found this difficult to read as both the words and pictures seemed to overwhelm me. (Ironic that a book titled “How to read a book” is hard to read. )
  • Rebecca Ann
    I really wanted to like this book but it just didn't happen for me. Kwame alexander is very talented and the text of the book is poetic, but how anyone could read this font is beyond me. it feels like a picturebook that is really meant for adults.
  • Marcia
    Wow! This book is stunning on both sides: Kwame Alexander's poetry sparkles and transports, a loe letter to reading a book. Melissa Sweet's collage illustrations are amazing and the perfect accompaniment. I've read the book to classes six times this week and each gets better and better. This one is a gem.
  • Molly
    Oof. I can't tell what it means that I had to take breaks reading this because the oranges and pinks literally hurt my eyes. I like the writing, and I like the art; but the colors were too bright for me, and some of the words were difficult to read because of the way they were drawn/colored in. Maybe this would be best for kids just looking at the pictures? I think it was an interesting and bold choice to make, design-wise, and I'm sure that many...
  • Adam
    Wow. What did I just read? I had such a hard time following the story because the highlighter colored neon text was a real assault on the eyes. And the word choices were...weird. No thank you. Pass.
  • Tara Schaafsma
    Seems like I've come across a fair number of books with this type of title. So I wasn't expecting a lot. But the art was fabulous, and the story really was nice and fresh.
  • Jennifer
    I want to gush over this book, fawn over it, tell you all how good it is. And I will, but only to an extent. I love the poem that makes up the book's text. I love the illustrations. Where it falls short is that there is so much going on, and the poem is a bit abstract—it's so busy that my 6th grader had trouble following it, other than to point out one instance of figurative language that stood out to him. When we were done reading it, I asked ...