There are so many things to remember and celebrate about Lee-- his lively personality, his critical eye, his big heart, his skilled mentorship, his treasure trove of gossip, his long and loving relationship with Charles, his creativity and productivity, his advocacy of poetry, and so much more. Visit Lee's website to read a bio and check out the video interviews he did with poet and teacher Renee LaTulippe over at NoWaterRiver. They're about the history of poetry for young people and the recipients of the NCTE Poetry Award, but they're also about him, his humor, and his deep knowledge of children's literature.
And let's not forget the awards he established to promote poetry, poets, and outstanding books of poems for young people:
The Lee Bennett Hopkins Award (I created a "toolbox" for promoting those books here.)
& The Promising Poet Award
& the SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Award
These awards will help ensure that Lee's poetry legacy continues.
And of course his massive body of work is still with us! With more than 100 anthologies of poetry for young people, there's something for everyone. Go get one of Lee's books this week and read the poems aloud to young people you care about. If there's one thing that Lee would ask of us, it would be to share more poetry with more kids more often. Let's go for it!
Finally, here are Lee's words from his autobiographical book, Been to Yesterdays-- a kind of "verse novel" full of emotion and personal experience. As we mourn the passing of this brilliant man and poetry giant, I hope his prayer can "give us strength" to "say good-bye."
Now head on over to the Poem Farm where poet and teacher Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is hosting ALL our Poetry Friday poems and tributes to Lee Bennett Hopkins today.