I'm excited to offer this scoop:
The 2011 winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award is:
The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C.M. Millen, illustrated by Andrea Wisnewski
There was just one honor book named and it is:
Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, Illustrated by Rick Allen
This annual award goes to the best book of children's poetry published in the United States in the preceding year. It is co-sponsored with Lee Bennett Hopkins himself along with the University Libraries, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and additional sponsor, Pennsylvania School Librarians Association.
I'm sad to say that The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane flew under my radar last year and I have not read it yet-- but will soon. A bit of research turned up heaps of review commentary on the publisher's web site (Charlesbridge), plus a fascinating author's note. Here's a quick summary from the site:
In a monastery in the mountains of Mourne during the Middle Ages, one young monk struggled to focus on his task: copying the Bible and other scholarly books with plain brown ink made from wood bark in plain brown books in his plain brown robe at his plain brown desk. Brother Theophane was soon transferred from the scribe’s room and assigned to make the ink that the brothers used. With his natural curiosity, Theophane discovered that inks could be made from other plants besides the wood bark. Berries and leaves produced other beautiful colors. And soon, the books the monks made were illuminated with colors and drawings.
C.M. Millen’s charming story of a young monk who defied the discipline of the monastery and found his own way to express the beauty of the world will inspire young readers to explore their own world and find their own voices. Andrea Wisnewski’s illustrations, inspired by the illuminated letters that the medieval monks created in books like the Book of Kells, bring to life the colors and beauty that surrounded Brother Theophane amidst the plain world of the monastery.
Congratulations, C. M. Millen!
And congratulations, Joyce Sidman, for another well-deserved recognition for The Dark Emperor, too.
Well done, committee!
P.S. Stay tuned... my students this spring are working on creating readers' guides and digital trailers for many of the LBH award and honor books recognized since the award's inception. I'll post more about our homemade LBH Award Teaching Toolbox soon...
Image credit: http://www.charlesbridge.com/contributorinfo.cfm?ContribID=463
Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2009. All rights reserved.