Friday, January 25, 2008

2008 Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children’s Poetry

Yesterday, Penn State University announced the 2008 recipients of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.

Drum roll…

Birmingham, 1963 by Carole Boston Weatherford (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press)

Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits (Clarion Books)
This Is Just To Say; Poems Of Apology And Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman (Hougton Mifflin)

Congratulations all around!
I loved Carole’s true story poem Dear Mr. Rosenwald last year and now she takes a turn to focus spare free verse poetry on the tragic deaths of four young girls in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama 45 years ago. Against a graphic background of black and white photographs, this poetic tribute is eloquent and

And what diversity in the honor books, too. I like Blue Lipstick for it's fun experimentation with form and it's angry and angst-filled girl's voice. It has been hugely popular with kids and helps break down boundaries about what poetry "should" look like for young people.

Joyce Sidman’s latest, This Is Just To Say, is a collection of poems of apology and forgiveness in the voices of a classroom of children. It’s funny, poignant, and true, with Sidman’s trademark gift for the craft of poetry in an amazing variety of poetic forms.

The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award was established in 1993 and is presented annually to an American poet or anthologist for the most outstanding new book of children's poetry published in the previous calendar year. The award is made possible by a gift from Lee Bennett Hopkins himself and is administered by Pennsylvania State University College of Education and the Pennsylvania State University Libraries. Since its inception, the winning poet or anthologist has received a handsome plaque and now a $1000 honorarium made possible by Mr. Hopkins, himself a poet and anthologist.

Based on the award web site, the terms of the award specify that the award shall be granted annually to an anthology of poetry or a single volume poem published for children in the previous calendar year (as per copyright) by a living American poet or anthologist. Their criteria specify that “good poetry is imaginative. It deals with emotion and has significance beyond the act of creation. It uses figurative language, yet is compact in thought and expression. Good poetry has an element of beauty and truth which appears unstable outside of the poem. The book which wins the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children's Poetry must be accessible to children and its presentation must serve the poem or poems in an attractive and appropriate manner.” In recent years, the committee has also cited several honor books each year.

Previous Lee Bennett Hopkins Award Recipients
2006 Jazz by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Christopher Myers (Holiday House)
2005 Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman (Houghton Mifflin)
2004 Here in Harlem by Walter Dean Myers (Holiday House)
2003 The Wishing Bone and Other Poems by Stephen Mitchell (Candlewick)
2002 Splash! Poems of our Watery World by Constance Levy (Orchard)
2001 Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts by Anna Grossnickle Hines (Greenwillow)
2000 Light-Gathering Poems by Liz Rosenberg (Henry Holt)
1999 What Have You Lost? by Naomi Shihab Nye (Greenwillow)
1998 The Other Side by Angela Johnson (Orchard)
1997 The Great Frog Race by Kristine O’Connell George (Clarion)
1996 Voices from the Wild by David Bouchard (Chronicle)
1995 Dance with Me by Barbara Esbensen (HarperCollins)
1994 Beast Feast by Douglas Florian (Harcourt)
1993 Spirit Walker by Nancy Wood (Doubleday)
1992 Sing to the Sun by Ashley Bryan (HarperCollins)

FYI: Hopkins also established the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, presented every three years by the International Reading Association to a new poet with two or fewer poetry books published.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Mentor Texts, Read Alouds & More.

Picture credit:


Linda Armstrong said...

What a great blog! Thanks!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for the lovely compliment, Linda. Stop by any time!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to find some of the books mentioned on your site. What a great find! Stephanie in Maryland.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks so much. Glad to meet a fellow poetry-appreciator!

Anonymous said...

I am trying to track down the Lee Bennett Hopkins poem "Just Like You". If anyone has it could you please forward it to me at Thanks so much.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Have you tried contacting the poet himself? I'm sure he would love to hear from you.