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Lee Bennett Hopkins (1938–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1938, in Scranton, PA; Education: Newark State Teachers College (now Kean College), B.A., 1960; Bank Street College of Education, M.Sc., 1964; Hunter College of the City University of New York, Professional Diploma in Educational Supervision and Administration, 1967.

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Career

Public school teacher in Fair Lawn, NJ, 1960–66; Bank Street College of Education, New York, NY, senior consultant, 1966–68; Scholastic Magazines, Inc., New York, NY, curriculum and editorial specialist, 1968–74; full-time writer, 1976–. Lecturer on children's literature; host and consultant to children's television series Zebra Wings, Agency for Instructional Television, beginning 1976. Consultant to school systems and publishers. National trustee, National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, beginning 1991. Namesake and founder of Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for poetry, established in 1993, in cooperation with Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, established in 1995, in cooperation with International Reading Association.

Member

International Reading Association, American Library Association, National Council of Teachers of English (member of board of directors, 1975–78; chair of 1978 and 1991 poetry award committees; member of Commission on Literature, 1983–85; member of Children's Literature Assembly, 1985–88; honorary board member of Children's Literature Council of Pennsylvania, 1990–).

Honors Awards

Don't You Turn Back: Poems by Langston Hughes, Rainbows Are Made, Surprises, and A Song in Stone chosen as American Library Association notable books; Outstanding Alumnus in the Arts award, Kean College, 1972; Notable Book selection, National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), for Mama; To Look at Any Thing chosen a choice book of 1978 International Youth Library exhibition (Munich, Germany); Children's Choice Award, International Reading Association (IRA)/Children's Book Council (CBC), 1980, for Wonder Wheels; honorary doctor of laws, Kean College, 1980; Phi Delta Kappa Educational Leadership Award, 1980; IRA Broadcast Media Award for Radio, 1982; named Ambassador Extraordinary in the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, (NC), 1982; IRA Manhattan Council Literacy Award, 1983; named National Children's Book Week Poet, 1985; Pick-of-the-List selection, American Booksellers Association (ABA), 1988, for Side by Side: Poems to Read Together, and 1988, Voyages: Poems by Walt Whitman; University of Southern Mississippi Medallion; Pennsylvania Author of the Year award, 1989; ABA Choice Award, 1991, for Good Books, Good Times!; Child Study Committee Children's Books of the Year award, 1992, for Ring out Wild Bells: Poems of Holidays and Seasons and Questions: An I-Can-Read Book; Pick of the List selection, ABA, and Southern California Council of Literature and Young People Excellence in Illustration award, both 1994, both for Extra Innings: Baseball Poems; Outstanding Children's Book designation, Westchester Library System, 1994, for The Writing Bug: An Autobiography; New York Public Library Best Children's Books designation, Few Good Books selection, Book Links, and Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies designation, CBC/NCSS, all 1994, and ABC Choice Award, 1995, all for Hand in Hand: An American History through Poetry; Best Books of the Year selection, School Library Journal, 1995, for Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life; Pick of the List, ABA, 1995, for Blast Off: Poems about Space; Best Books of the Year selection, School Library Journal, 2005, for Oh, No! Where Are My Pants?, and Other Disasters.

Writings

(With Annette F. Shapiro) Creative Activities for Gifted Children, Fearon, 1968.

Books Are by People, Citation Press (New York, NY), 1969.

Let Them Be Themselves: Language Arts Enrichment for Disadvantaged Children in Elementary Schools, Citation Press (New York, NY), 1969, second edition published as Let Them Be Themselves: Language Arts for Children in Elementary Schools, 1974, third edition, Harper (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Misha Arenstein) Partners in Learning: A Child-Centered Approach to Teaching the Social Studies, Citation Press (New York, NY), 1971.

Pass the Poetry, Please!: Bringing Poetry into the Minds and Hearts of Children, Citation Press (New York, NY), 1972, third revised edition, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.

More Books by More People, Citation Press (New York, NY), 1974.

(With Misha Arenstein) Do You Know What Day Tomorrow Is?: A Teacher's Almanac, Citation Press (New York, NY), 1975.

The Best of Book Bonanza, Holt (New York, NY), 1980.

The Writing Bug: An Autobiography, Richard C. Owen (Katonah, NY), 1994.

Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1995.

Pauses: Autobiographical Reflections on 101 Creators of Children's Books, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.

YOUNG-ADULT NOVELS

Mama, Dell (New York, NY), 1977, reprinted, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2000.

Wonder Wheels, Dell (New York, NY), 1980.

Mama and Her Boys, Harper (New York, NY), 1981, reprinted, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2000.

FOR CHILDREN

Important Dates in Afro-American History, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1969.

This Street's for Me (poetry), illustrated by Ann Grifalconi, Crown (New York, NY), 1970.

(With Misha Arenstein) Faces and Places: Poems for You, illustrated by Lisl Weil, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1970.

Happy Birthday to Me!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1972.

When I Am All Alone: A Book of Poems, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1972.

Charlie's World: A Book of Poems, Bobbs-Merrill (New York, NY), 1972.

Kim's Place and Other Poems, Holt (New York, NY), 1974.

I Loved Rose Ann, illustrated by Ingrid Fetz, Knopf (New York, NY), 1976.

A Haunting We Will Go: Ghostly Stories and Poems, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry, Albert Whitman (Chicago, IL), 1976.

Witching Time: Mischievous Stories and Poems, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry, Albert Whitman (Chicago, IL), 1976.

Kits, Cats, Lions, and Tigers: Stories, Poems, and Verse, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry, Albert Whitman (Chicago, IL), 1979.

Pups, Dogs, Foxes, and Wolves: Stories, Poems, and Verse, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry, Albert Whitman (Chicago, IL), 1979.

How Do You Make an Elephant Float?, and Other Delicious Food Riddles, illustrated by Rosekranz Hoffman, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1983.

Animals from Mother Goose, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1989.

People from Mother Goose, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1989.

Good Rhymes, Good Times!, illustrated by Frane Lessac, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.

Mother Goose and Her Children, illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi, Emilie Chollat, and Gerardo Suzan, Sadlier-Oxford, 1999.

Alphathoughts: Alphabet Poems, illustrated by Marla Baggetta, Wordsong (Honesdale, PA), 2003.

COMPILER

I Think I Saw a Snail: Young Poems for City Seasons, illustrated by Harold James, Crown (New York, NY), 1969.

Don't You Turn Back: Poems by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Ann Grifalconi, foreword by Arna Bontemps, Knopf (New York, NY), 1969.

City Talk, illustrated by Roy Arnella, Knopf (New York, NY), 1970.

The City Spreads Its Wings, illustrated by Moneta Barnett, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1970.

Me!: A Book of Poems, illustrated by Talavaldis Stubis, Seabury (New York, NY), 1970.

Zoo!: A Book of Poems, illustrated by Robert Frankenberg, Crown (New York, NY), 1971.

Girls Can Too!: A Book of Poems, illustrated by Emily McCully, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1972.

(With Misha Arenstein) Time to Shout: Poems for You, illustrated by Lisl Weil, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1973.

(With Sunna Rasch) I Really Want to Feel Good about Myself: Poems by Former Addicts, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1974.

On Our Way: Poems of Pride and Love, illustrated by David Parks, Knopf (New York, NY), 1974.

Hey-How for Halloween, illustrated by Janet McCaffery, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1974.

Take Hold!: An Anthology of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poems, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1974.

Poetry on Wheels, illustrated by Frank Aloise, Garrard, 1974.

Sing Hey for Christmas Day, illustrated by Laura Jean Allen, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1975.

Good Morning to You, Valentine, illustrated by Tomie de Paola, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1976.

Merrily Comes Our Harvest In, illustrated by Ben Shecter, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1976.

(With Misha Arenstein) Thread One to a Star, Four Winds (New York, NY), 1976.

(With Misha Arenstein) Potato Chips and a Slice of Moon: Poems You'll Like, illustrated by Wayne Blickenstaff, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1976.

Beat the Drum! Independence Day Has Come, illustrated by Tomie de Paola, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1977.

Monsters, Ghoulies, and Creepy Creatures: Fantastic Stories and Poems, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1977.

To Look at Any Thing, illustrated by John Earl, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1978.

Easter Buds Are Springing: Poems for Easter, illustrated by Tomie de Paola, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1979.

Merely Players: An Anthology of Life Poems, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1979.

My Mane Catches the Wind: Poems about Horses, illustrated by Sam Savitt, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1979.

By Myself, illustrated by Glo Coalson, Crowell (New York, NY), 1980.

Elves, Fairies, and Gnomes, illustrated by Rosekranz Hoffman, Knopf (New York, NY), 1980.

Moments: Poems about the Seasons, illustrated by Michael Hague, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1980.

Morning, Noon, and Nighttime, Too!, illustrated by Nancy Hannans, Harper (New York, NY), 1980.

I Am the Cat, illustrated by Linda Rochester Richards, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1981.

And God Bless Me: Prayers, Lullabies and Dream-Poems, illustrated by Patricia Henderson Lincoln, Knopf (New York, NY), 1982.

Circus! Circus!, illustrated by John O'Brien, Knopf (New York, NY), 1982.

Rainbows Are Made: Poems by Carl Sandburg, illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1982.

A Dog's Life, illustrated by Linda Rochester Richards, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1983.

The Sky Is Full of Song, illustrated by Dirk Zimmer, Harper (New York, NY), 1983.

A Song in Stone: City Poems, illustrated by Anna Held Audette, Crowell (New York, NY), 1983.

Crickets and Bullfrogs and Whispers of Thunder: Poems and Pictures by Harry Behn, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1984.

Love and Kisses (poems), illustrated by Kris Boyd, Houghton (Burlington, MA), 1984.

Surprises: An I-Can-Read Book of Poems, illustrated by Meagan Lloyd, Harper (New York, NY), 1984.

Creatures, illustrated by Stella Ormai, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1985.

Munching: Poems about Eating, illustrated by Nelle Davis, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1985.

Best Friends, illustrated by James Watts, Harper (New York, NY), 1986.

The Sea Is Calling Me, illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kessel, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1986.

Click, Rumble, Roar: Poems about Machines, illustrated by Anna Held Audette, Crowell (New York, NY), 1987.

Dinosaurs, illustrated by Murray Tinkelman, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1987.

More Surprises: An I-Can-Read Book, illustrated by Meagan Lloyd, Harper (New York, NY), 1987.

Voyages: Poems by Walt Whitman, illustrated by Charles Mikolaycak, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1988.

Side by Side: Poems to Read Together, illustrated by Hilary Knight, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1988.

Still as a Star: Nighttime Poems, illustrated by Karen Malone, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1988.

Good Books, Good Times!, illustrated by Harvey Stevenson, Harper (New York, NY), 1990.

On the Farm, illustrated by Laurel Molk, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1991.

Happy Birthday: Poems, illustrated by Hilary Knight, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.

Questions: An I-Can-Read Book, illustrated by Carolyn Croll, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

Through Our Eyes: Poems and Pictures about Growing Up, illustrated by Jeffrey Dunn, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1992.

To the Zoo: Animal Poems, illustrated by John Wallner, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1992.

Ring out, Wild Bells: Poems of Holidays and Seasons, illustrated by Karen Baumann, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1992.

Pterodactyls and Pizza: A Trumpet Club Book of Poetry, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, Trumpet Club, 1992.

Flit, Flutter, Fly!: Poems about Bugs and Other Crawly Creatures, illustrated by Peter Palagonia, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1992.

Ragged Shadows: Poems of Halloween Night, illustrated by Giles Laroche, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1993.

Extra Innings: Baseball Poems, illustrated by Scott Medlock, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1993.

It's about Time: Poems, illustrated by Matt Novak, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993.

Hand in Hand: An American History through Poetry, illustrated by Peter Fiore, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1994.

April, Bubbles, Chocolate: An ABC of Poetry, illustrated by Barry Root, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1994.

Weather: An I-Can-Read Book, illustrated by Melanie Hill, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1994.

Blast Off: Poems about Space: An I-Can-Read Book, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.

Small Talk: A Book of Short Poems, illustrated by Susan Gaber, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1995.

School Supplies, illustrated by Renee Flower, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.

Opening Days: Sports Poems, illustrated by Scott Medlock, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1996.

Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems, illustrated by Karen Barbour, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

Song and Dance, illustrated by Cheryl Munro Taylor, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

All God's Children: A Book of Prayers, illustrated by Amanda Schaffer, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Mary Perrotta Rich) Book Poems: Poems from National Children's Book Week, 1959–1989, Children's Book Council, 1998.

Climb into My Lap: First Poems to Read Together, illustrated by Kathryn Brown, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

Dino-Roars, illustrated by Cynthia Fisher, Golden Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Lives: Poems about Famous Americans, illustrated by Leslie Staub, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.

Spectacular Science: A Book of Poems, illustrated by Virginia Halstead, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.

Sports! Sports! Sports!: An I-Can-Read Book, illustrated by Brian Floca, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.

My America, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

Yummy!: Eating through a Day, illustrated by Renee Flower, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

Hoofbeats, Claws & Rippled Fins: Creature Poems, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Home to Me: Poems across America, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn, Orchard (New York, NY), 2002.

A Pet for Me: Poems, illustrated by Jane Manning, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

Wonderful Words: Poems about Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening, illustrated by Karen Barbour, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.

Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry, illustrated by Melanie Hall, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

Christmas Presents: Holiday Poetry, illustrated by Melanie Hall, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

Days to Celebrate: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating Facts, and More, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2005.

Valentine Hearts: Holiday Poetry, illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

Oh, No! Where Are My Pants?, and Other Disasters: Poems, illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

Halloween Howls: Holiday Poetry, illustrated by Stacey Schuett, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

Got Geography!, illustrated by Philip Stanton, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2006.

OTHER

Also author of "Poetry Plus" column in Creative Classroom magazine, and "A Poetry Workshop in Print" column in Teaching K-8.

Sidelights

Lee Bennett Hopkins is "one of America's most prolific anthologists of poetry for young people," according to Anthony L. Manna in the Children's Literature Association Quarterly. The compiler of numerous children's verse collections, "Hopkins has spent his career trying to make the crystal image accessible to children," noted Manna. His collections encompass a variety of topics, including animals, holidays, the seasons, and the works of noted poets like Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg. Poetry, Hopkins stated in Instructor magazine, "should come to [children] as naturally as breathing, for nothing—no thing—can ring and rage through hearts and minds as does this genre of literature."

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1938, Hopkins grew up in a poor but close family. At age ten, his family moved in with other relatives to make ends meet, and he spent most of his youth in Newark, New Jersey. The oldest child in the family, Hopkins had to help out with the family finances, often missing school so he could work. Though the family was able to get on its feet again and rent a basement apartment, relations soon deteriorated between Hopkins's parents, leading to a lifelong separation. The circumstances of his youth would later play a prominent part in his fiction writing for young adults.

Early reading encompassed everything from comic books and movie magazines to the occasional adult novel, and in spite of frequent absences, Hopkins maintained passing grades in school, excelling in English classes. Then a schoolteacher reached out to the boy and helped to change his life. "Mrs. McLaughlin saved me," Hopkins wrote in Something about the Author Autobiography Series (SAAS). "She introduced me to two things that had given me direction and hope—the love of reading and theatre."

After graduating from high school, Hopkins determined that he would like to teach. To pay his way through a teacher's training college, he worked several jobs. Taking a job in a suburban, middle-class school district after graduation, he soon became the resource teacher, gathering and organizing materials for the other teachers. It was during this time he came up with using poetry as an aid in reading. However, it quickly became apparent to him that poetry could be expanded to introduce all subject areas. In the 1960s, Hopkins was a consultant at Bank Street College of Education, where he again used poetry as a learning tool. In 1968 he became an editor at Scholastic, a post he held until 1976 when he became a full-time writer and anthologist.

During his years at Scholastic, Hopkins hit on his charmed formula for poetry anthologies, a pattern apparent in one of his earliest volumes, the award-winning Don't You Turn Back: Poems by Langston Hughes. Writing in SAAS, Hopkins described the key elements in his compilations. "Balance is important in an anthology. I want many voices within a book, so I rarely use more than one or two works by the same poet. I also envision each volume as a stage play or film, having a definite beginning, middle, and end. The right flow is a necessity for me. Sometimes a word at the end of a work will lead into the title of the next selection. I want my collections to read like a short story or novel—not a hodgepodge of works thrown together aimlessly." Since 1969, Hopkins has compiled scores of poetry anthologies, each employing this same successful formula. Further anthologies of individual poets include Crickets and Bullfrogs and Whispers of Thunder: Poems and Pictures by Harry Behn, Rainbows Are Made: Poems by Carl SandburgRainbows Are Made: Poems by Carl Sandburg and the award-winning Voyages: Poems by Walt Whitman. Reviewing the latter title, Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman called it a "spacious, handsome edition that helps make accessible a poet of vigor and sensitivity." In Horn Book, Nancy Vasilakis deemed Voyages a "well-conceived and elegantly produced anthology."

Hopkins often works with single themes for his anthologies. One of his seasonal collections, The Sky Is Full of Song, was described by a Language Arts reviewer as a "rare gem [that] poetically radiates the unique sense of each season." The reviewer added that each poem is "short, crisp, and in tune with the quartet of seasons." Steven Ratiner commented in the Christian Science Monitor that The Sky Is Full of Song "is an attractive packet of poetry for a young reader, pleasing to both the ear and eye." Holidays are presented in Ring Out, Wild Bells, and Halloween in particular is celebrated in Ragged Shadows, a "collection of well-chosen and cleverly illustrated poetry [that] will claim a place of its own," according to Meg Stackpole in School Library Journal.

Other individual themes are presented in Weather, It's about Time! and Blast Off!: Poems about Space. Reviewing Blast Off! in Horn Book, Maeve Visser Knoth dubbed the volume a "perfect match of subject, format, and interest level," making the collection for beginning readers "a sure winner." Food is served up in Yummy!, a "book to be savored in many delicious bites," according to Kathleen Whalin in School Library Journal. Whalin further observed that "Hopkins's mastery of the art of creating a delectable anthology is quite clear."

Bugs and insects take center stage in Flit, Flutter, Fly!, a "charming assortment of 20 easy-to-read creature features," according to Booklist critic Quraysh Ali, the critic further commenting that young readers "will find the book a dance for the senses." Musical and dance themes come to play in Song and Dance, "an inspired and free-spirited arrangement of poems with musical themes," as a reviewer for Publishers Weekly described the collection.

Hopkins turns his editorial gaze to school days with School Supplies, "one of his best collections," according to a contributor for Publishers Weekly. School subjects also crop up in Marvelous Math, Got Geography!, and Spectacular Science, both of which collect poems dealing with those seemingly non-poetic subjects. Reviewing Marvelous Math in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Elizabeth Bush concluded that the anthology is a "delight for independent readers" and a "boon to teachers attempting to integrate math across the curriculum." Lee Bock Brown, writing in School Library Journal, called the same book a "delightful collection." In Spectacular Science, Hopkins gathers verse dealing with topics from what happens to insects in winter to magnets. "Hopkins, familiar poet and anthologizer, has rounded up a satisfying variety of works," noted Stephanie Zvirin in a Booklist review. Carolyn Angus, reviewing Spectacular Science in School Library Journal, called the book a "delightful, thought-provoking anthology that is—in short—spectacular."

U.S. history, geography, and biography are presented in other anthologies by Hopkins. Hand in Hand includes over seventy verse selections that offer "a singular out-look on American history as viewed by some of America's foremost poets, past and present," according to Nancy Vasilakis in Horn Book. As Vasilakis concluded, "This well-conceived anthology should be a welcome supplement to any study of American history." Noted Americans are celebrated in Lives: Poems about Famous Americans, an anthology with many poems specially commissioned for inclusion. Thomas Edison, Sacagawea, and Rosa Parks are among the fourteen featured Americans. "Teachers looking for poetry to enhance social-studies units will find several good choices here," noted Carolyn Phelan in a Booklist review. My America is a geographical description of the country in verse form, focusing on eight regions. Barbara Chatton, writing in School Library Journal, concluded that "this volume will enrich literature and social-studies units."

Wonderful Words: Poems about Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening deals with the subjects of the language. "Hopkins's selection of poems about words will delight both readers and children," a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote of the collection. Corrina Austin commented in School Library Journal that "all of the selections are excellent," although Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman advised that the poems "will work best if an adult reads the poems aloud."

Hopkins turns his compiler's attention to sports in several volumes, including Extra Innings, Sports! Sports! Sports!, and Opening Days. In Sports!, Sports! Sports! he gathers verse about SCUBA diving, baseball, and ice skating, among other sports in an easy reader that is "a good way to attract new readers to poetry," according to Booklist reviewer Zvirin. Andrew Medlar, writing in School Library Journal, found the selections to be "short, entertaining, and energetic."

Several of Hopkins's collections feature animals, among them A Pet for Me: Poems and Hoofbeats, Claws & Rippled Fins: Creature Poems. The former title describes the love between the narrators of the poems and their pets, which come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and include such creatures as tarantulas, turtles, cats, and dogs. Jane Marino, writing in School Library Journal, noted that the collection will make "a charming addition to either poetry or easy reader shelves." The poems "capture the lure of pets," according to Ilene Cooper in Booklist. The creatures addressed in Hoofbeats, Claws & Rippled Fins are more wild and exotic than their domesticated counterparts. "Each selection centers around physical images of the animals' distinctive movement, body, and personality," noted Gillian Engberg in Booklist. Noting that there are other books of poetry about wild creatures, Nina Lindsay, writing in School Library Journal, noted that the collection "provides new material for the same audience."

The importance of home is the central theme of Home to Me: Poems across America, a collection inspired by the locations from all over the United States where the book's contributors call "home." Some focus on the place, while others focus on people or experiences that make a place become home. Each poem is surrounded with text by Hopkins, introducing the poet of the piece and describing the unique region where the poet lives. Booklist reviewer Diane Foote considered the title "a welcome addition to the poetry shelves." Shawn Brommer commented in School Library Journal that "the poems celebrate simple, basic aspects of life," giving each a universal feel, despite the different locations. "What has emerged is a rather powerful sense of Americans who not only love their country, but their particular corner of it," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor.

Excruciating embarrassment and other difficult emotions are the subject of the fourteen poems in Oh No! Where Are My Pants?, and Other Disasters: Poems. The poetry in this collection deals with a host of "familiar situations," according to a School Library Journal contributor, those situations including bad hair-cuts, fumbling a catch during a baseball game, stage fright, and the death of a pet. Martha V. Parravano noted in Horn Book that the first-person narration in each poem makes it easy for readers "to identify with the situations and emotions." Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman noted that "the scenarios in words and pictures show young children that books are about them." Lauralyn Persson in School Library Journal wrote that the poems "all depict little moments of being human," while a Kirkus Reviews critic noted that while some of the topics covered in the collection are serious, most of "the contributors keep the mood light."

Hopkins has compiled several books about holidays. Days to Celebrate: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating Facts, and More provides short bits of information about each day of the year. A School Library Journal contributor called the volume an "imaginative compilation," while Lynda Ritterman added in the same publication that the book is a "beautiful, useful, and unique almanac." Valentine Hearts: Holiday Poetry collects twelve poems about the romantic holiday, forming a "delectable and accessible" selection, according to a School Library Journal contributor. "It's easy to imagine these gems enlivening poem-a-day assignments," commented Jennifer Mattson in Booklist. The poems in Halloween Howls: Holiday Poetry are each "presented on a distinctive spread," noted a School Library Journal contributor, while in Christmas Presents: Holiday Poems, which features twelve short poems, is designed so that the "poetry text [is] integrated within the illustration, giving the volume a lively flair," according to a critic for Kirkus Reviews. Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry features poetry from Jane Yolen, Maria Fleming, and Lillian Fisher and provides readers with "good, basic, and simple holiday reading," noted a contributor to Kirkus Reviews.

The multi-talented Hopkins has also penned his own works, including autobiographies, classroom materials, poetry, picture books, and novels for young adults. Two of his novels, Mama and Mama and Her Boys, tell about a resourceful single mother and her two sons. In Mama, the reader is confronted with a chatty, shoplifting, and slightly obnoxious single mom who, while annoying to live with, is a loving and caring person nevertheless. Narrated by the woman's older son, the story presents Mama going from job to job while the family barely keeps its head above water. Reviewing Mama, a contributor to Publishers Weekly called the work a "not-to-be-missed first novel." "You'll remember Mama," wrote Zena Sutherland in a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books review, noting that the mother is "tough, cheerfully vulgar in her tastes," but "passionately dedicated to see that her two sons whose father has decamped have everything they need." Mama makes a curtain call in Mama and Her Boys, in which the boys are now worried that their mother might marry her boss, Mr. Jacobs; a better match, as far as they are concerned, is the school custodian, Mr. Carlisle. Reviewing the sequel, another contributor for Publishers Weekly concluded that Hopkins "packs the ensuing incidents with merriment and an understated lesson about different kinds of love and companionship."

With illustrator Maria Baggetta, Hopkins explores the alphabet through poems in Alphathoughts: Alphabet Poems. Each poem focuses on a subject that starts with a particular letter of the alphabet, and some feature alliteration or tongue-twisting phrases. Called "a clever and child-friendly book of pithy poetry" by Ilene Cooper of Booklist, Alphathoughts features poems in a variety of lengths, some of which a Kirkus Reviews contributor found "memorable and will likely show up in anthologies later."

Hopkins's original poetry has won high praise. His 1995 volume Good Rhymes, Good Times! is a "joyous collection of 21 original poems," according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly who further noted that "Hopkins brings freshness and immediacy to his subjects" and "deftly depicts a sense of delight and wonder in everyday experience." Been to Yesterdays: Poems of Life is a gathering of poems that look at the psychology of Hopkins at age thirteen, when his parents separated. "This autobiographical cycle of poems is a rare gift, a careful exploration of one life that illumines the lives of all who read it," wrote Kathleen Whalin in a School Library Journal review.

A change of pace for the poetry anthologist, Hopkins's novel Wonder Wheels tells the story of Mick Thompson and his love of roller skating; his second passion is for Kitty Rhoades, whom he meets at his local roller rink. When Kitty is murdered by a psychotic ex-boyfriend, Mick is left to learn one of the toughest lessons in life: the fragility and brevity of existence.

Hopkins is also behind the work of Pauses: Autobio-graphical Reflections of 101 Creators of Children's Books, Pass the Poetry, Please!, and The Writing Bug, a short autobiographical sketch. In the last-named book, Hopkins tells the secret of his amazing productivity: "There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not reading poetry or working on a poem of my own." This simple work ethic has made him one of the most popular and best-known anthologists of poetry at work today. He has helped make poetry accessible to young readers in over a hundred volumes of his own writings and in his compilations. As a reviewer for Juvenile Miscellany concluded, "Hopkins' immersion in poetry, past and present, text and illustration, places him at the heart of children's literature."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Children's Books and Their Creators, edited by Anita Silvey, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1995.

Children's Literature Review, Volume 44, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.

Hopkins, Lee Bennett, The Writing Bug, Richard C. Owens, 1993.

Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Volume 4, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1987.

PERIODICALS

Best Sellers, August, 1979.

Booklist, November 15, 1988, Hazel Rochman, review of Voyages: Poems by Walt Whitman, p. 565; December 15, 1992, Quraysh Ali, review of Flit, Flutter, Fly! p. 739; July, 1995, p. 1881; February 15, 1996, pp. 1015, 1018; March 15, 1996, p. 1274; April 1, 1998, p. 1323; November 15, 1998, p. 592; March 1, 1999, p. 1224; March 15, 1999, Carolyn Phelan, review of Lives: Poems about Famous Americans, pp. 1340, 1343; April 1, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Sports! Sports! Sports!, pp. 1418-1419; July, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Spectacular Science, pp. 1948-1949; June 1, 2000, p. 1904; October 1, 2000, p. 361; November 15, 2000, p. 637; May 1, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of Hoofbeats, Claws & Rippled Fins: Creature Poems, p. 1520; October 15, 2002, Diane Foote, review of Home to Me: Poems across America, p. 403; June 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of A Pet for Me: Poems, p. 899; April 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Alphathoughts: Alphabet Poems, p. 1408; February 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Wonderful Words: Poems about Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening, p. 973; January 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of Valentine Hearts: Holiday Poetry, p. 867; February 15, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Oh, No! Where Are My Pants?, and Other Disasters: Poems, p. 1082.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 1977, Zena Sutherland, review of Mama, p. 175; February, 1993, p. 179; April, 1995, p. 277; December, 1995, p. 147; September, 1997, Elizabeth Bush, review of Marvelous Math, pp. 13-14; May, 1999, p. 336.

Children's Literature Association Quarterly, summer, 1985, Anthony L. Manna, "In Pursuit of the Crystal Image: Lee Bennett Hopkins's Poetry Anthologies," pp. 80-82.

Christian Science Monitor, June 29, 1983, Steven Ratiner, review of The Sky Is Full of Song.

Early Years, January, 1982.

Horn Book, January-February, 1989, Nancy Vasilakis, review of Voyages, pp. 86-87; September-October, 1993, p. 616; July-August, 1994, p. 467; March-April, 1995, Nancy Vasilakis, review of Hand in Hand, p. 209; May-June, 1995, p. 338; July-August, 1995, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of Blast Off!: Poems about Space, pp. 472-473; May-June, 1996, p. 344; January-February, 1999, p. 77; March-April, 2002, Susan P. Bloom, review of Hoofbeats, Claws & Rippled Fins, p. 222; November-December, 2004, review of Christmas Presents: Holiday Poetry and Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry, p. 661; May-June, 2005, Martha V. Parravano, review of Oh No! Where Are My Pants?, and Other Disasters, p. 337.

Instructor, March, 1982, Lee Bennett Hopkins interview.

Juvenile Miscellany, summer, 1989, p. 4.

Language Arts, November-December, 1978; September, 1983; December, 1984; September, 1986.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2002, review of Home to Me, p. 1132; February 13, 2003, review of A Pet for Me, p. 307; April 1, 2003, review of Alphathoughts, p. 535; January 15, 2004, review of Wonderful Words, p. 84; November 1, 2004, reviews of Hanukkah Lights and Christmas Presents, p. 1050; January 15, 2005, review of Oh No! Where Are My Pants?, and Other Disasters, p. 121.

New York Times Book Review, April 8, 1979; October 5, 1986; October 31, 1993, p. 26; November 13, 1994, p. 32.

Publishers Weekly, February 21, 1977, review of Mama, p. 79; December 11, 1981, review of Mama and Her Boys, p. 62; August 31, 1992, p. 80; July 3, 1995, review of Good Rhymes, Good Times!, pp. 60-61; August 12, 1996, review of School Supplies, p. 84; March 31, 1997, review of Song and Dance, p. 77; July 29, 1997, p. 76; June 21, 1999, p. 70; January 10, 2000, p. 70; July 31, 2000, p. 95; March 17, 2003, review of Alphathoughts, p. 76; March 8, 2004, review of Wonderful Words, p. 74.

School Library Journal, September, 1994, p. 208; May, 1995, p. 99; September, 1995, Kathleen Whalin, review of Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life, p. 209; December, 1995, p. 38; March, 1997, p. 113; September, 1997, Meg Stackpole, review of Ragged Shadows, p. 224; October, 1997, Lee Bock Brown, review of Marvelous Math, p. 118; March, 1998, p. 196; December, 1998, p. 106; September, 1999, Carolyn An-gus, review of Spectacular Science, p. 213; August, 2000, Kathleen Whalin, review of Yummy!, p. 170; September, 2000, Barbara Chatton, review of My America, p. 248; April, 2002, Nina Lindsay, review of Hoofbeats, Claws & Rippled Fins, p. 132; October, 2002, Shawn Brommer, review of Home to Me, p. 146; March, 2003, Jane Marino, review of A Pet for Me, p. 219; March, 2004, Andrew Medlar, review of Sports! Sports! Sports! p. 68, and Corrina Austin, review of Wonderful Words, p. 196; July, 2004, Lisa G. Kropp, review of School Supplies, p. 45; January, 2005, Lynda Ritterman, review of Days to Celebrate: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating Facts, and More, p. 110; February, 2005, Lauralyn Persson, review of Oh, No! Where Are My Pants?, and Other Disasters, p. 122; April, 2005, Nina Lindsay, review of Lives, p. 56; October, 2005, reviews of Days to Celebrate and Oh, No! Where Are My Pants?, and Other Disasters, p. 38, review of Valentine Hearts, p. 40, Laura Scott, review of Halloween Howls: Holiday Poetry, p. 140.

ONLINE

Boyds Mills Press Web site, http://www.boydsmillspress.com/ (February 18, 2006), "Lee Bennett Hopkins."

Lee Bennett Hopkins Home Page, http://www.leebennetthopkinsbooks.com (March 20, 2006).

Deborah Hopkinson (1952-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights [next]

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