Calling all middle and high school teachers in West Michigan! 

You’re invited to bring your students to hear Kwame Alexander at the 2018 Festival of Faith & Writing and then stick around for a special meet and greet just for your kids.

Thursday, April 12th
Van Noord Arena Calvin College
keynote: 121pm
meet & greet for local students: 1:15–3pm

Reserve free tickets for your class here or keep reading for more details.

Author of 24 books including the 2014 Michigan Reads! One State, One Children’s Book selection Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band, Kwame Alexander is a dynamic ambassador for the power of literature in the lives of young people. He believes poetry can change the world and he uses it to inspire students, traveling around the world to present writing workshops for kids, support library initiatives, and offer professional development programs for teachers. Read about his numerous awards and projects here.

Kwame will be in Grand Rapids to kick off the 2018 Festival of Faith & Writing with an opening keynote inspired by his latest bestselling YA novel Solo that underscores how reading and writing empower young adults. And we’d love to pack out the Van Noord Arena at Calvin College with local students for his talk.

Tickets are free, but must be reserved here. Tickets (approximately 2,500!) are available on a first-come, first-served basis until they’re gone, or until April 1.

More details:

  1. Kwame writes for a wide range of ages, and Solo is geared toward the upper end of that range as it includes themes appropriate for older YA readers. Please familiarize yourself with the book to confirm it’s right for your students before signing up your class.
  2. Reserving tickets to see Kwame is easy. All you need is contact information for the group’s adult leader and the total number of tickets needed. If you need to adjust your number of tickets up or down after you have registered, please contact Sarah Turnage at slt8@calvin.edu.
  3. Kwame loves to meet young readers and we’re thrilled to give students a chance to meet a famous writer. But we realize that not all classes will have time in their school day to stay for the meet and greet and you are welcome to bring your students just for the keynote. You will be asked to indicate your plans when you reserve your tickets. We have a few different options for the format of the meet and greet depending on how many students stay. All of these formats are efficient while still being fun for the students, but groups are likely to need to wait for some period of time to meet Kwame. So we ask for your patience in advance. We’ll have more details about this portion of the event when it gets closer.
  4. Busing information: Busses will be scheduled to arrive between 10:30am and 11:30am. Both parking and drop-off options are available. Detailed arrival instructions will be sent to confirmed groups no less than two weeks before the event. 
  5. Students are welcome to bring snacks and/or sack lunches to eat in the seats.
  6. As is the case at all Festival keynotes, Kwame’s books will be on sale at this event through the Calvin College bookstore. The bookstore typically offers a 20% discount off retail price during the Festival and we will send registered ticket holders a list of titles that will be available closer to the event that they’re welcome to share with their classes, if they so choose. Students should feel no pressure to purchase books at the event, but they will be available.

More questions? Contact our office at 616-526-6770 or email ffw@calvin.edu.

Festival Hall Pass


Many teachers and librarians attend the Festival and we’re happy to plan a good deal of our programming with you all in mind. But we also know that not all educators can join us for the full three days. That’s why we’re pleased to be able to offer a limited number of Festival Hall Passes to teachers and librarians in West Michigan. A Hall Pass provides access to the evening keynotes on both Thursday and Friday and to the full day of events on Saturday for the reduced price of $125.

To access your Hall Pass, send the following information to Sarah Turnage at slt@calvin.edu:
- your school and/or library name
- the city, state
- the grade(s)/subject(s) you teach and/or your library position

Please note: In 2018, the Thursday evening keynote features Parker Palmer and Carrie Newcomer and starts at 7:30pm. The Friday evening keynote features Edwidge Danticat and starts at 5pm.

State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs)


The Festival of Faith & Writing has qualified to provide continuing education clock hours (SCECHs) in previous years and we hope to provide this service again in 2018. We’re currently in the process of confirming that our 2018 program meets the State of Michigan’s requirements. More information will be posted here as soon as it is available.