Lee Bennett Hopkins

by Turner Fortner, Katalin Bartz and Hannah Pennell

"Children should write from experience, from what they know, from what they see around them. A bug, a tree, a piece of fruit, a star, moon, sunset, seeds. Any subject is a topic for poetry." - Lee Bennett Hopkins

His Life

Lee Bennett Hopkins was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1938. Around age 10, he and his family moved to Newark, New Jersey. Because his family did not have a lot of money, he had to miss many days of school to help his family financially. This was especially true when his father left his family around age 14. Hopkins had a teacher, Mrs. McLaughlin, who had a major influence on him and redirected his life goals. Mrs. McLaughlin introduced him to theatre and reading. Hopkins decided he wanted to become a teacher so he attended Newark State Teacher’s College. After graduation, Hopkins taught 6th grade for three years in Fair Lawn, NJ. While he was teaching 6th grade for these three years, he became the resource teacher and compiled sources for other teachers to use. Prior to receiving his masters at Bank Street College of Education in NYC, Hopkins taught public school from 1960-1966. In 1966 he became a consultant for Bank Street where he used poetry as an aid to learning. He worked for Bank Street until 1968 when he worked for Scholastic Magazines, Inc. in New York, as a curriculum and editorial specialist.

In 1976 Hopkins began working as a host and consultant to children’s television series Zebra Wings, Agency for Instructional Television. He has been a national trustee for National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature since 1991. Hopkins won Florida Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Hopkins has declared himself a full-time writer since 1976.

Why He's Such an Interesting Guy

- Guinness World Records- July 2011- most “prolific anthologist of poetry for children” with 113 titles.

-When Hopkins was a child, had to sneak in to theaters at intermission because his family did not have enough money to pay for a ticket.

- He's still alive!

Awards He has Recieved and Established

Awards Won:

- NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children- 2009

- Christopher Award- received in 1995 for Been to Yesterdays (autobiographical poetry collection)

- Golden Kite Honor Book Award- received in 1996 for Been to Yesterdays

- The University of Southern Mississippi’s Medallion for “outstanding contributions to the field of children’s literature” in recognition of his body of work”

- Parents’ Choice and Children’s Choice awards

- 1989 Pennsylvania Author of the Year award

Awards Established:

- Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award- established 1993- given annually to American poet or anthologist for most outstanding new book of children’s poetry

- Lee Bennett Hopkins/IRA Promising Poet Award- given every 3 years to a promising new poet that has published two or less books of children’s poetry

Books he has Written

  1. Good Books, Good Times!
  2. Marvelous Math
  3. Spectacular Science
  4. Wonderful Words
  5. Incredible Inventions
  6. Weather: Poems for All Seasons
  7. I am the Book
  8. Hand In Hand
  9. My America
  10. Amazing Faces


Hopkins, L. B. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.leebennetthopkins.com/

Shubitz, S. (2012, March 13). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/lbh-nastybugs/

Children's Poetry Video "Good Books, Good Times!" by Lee Bennett Hopkins