|The National Council of Teachers of English announced this past weekend that it has awarded prolific poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins the 2009 NCTE Award For Excellence in Children’s Poetry. This award is only given every three years, and Nikki Grimes, Barbara Juster Esbensen, Valerie Worth, and many other outstanding poets have won it in the past. Frankly, I can’t believe it’s taken this long to get to Lee!
Whenever I talk with teachers or writers who want to know more about children’s poetry, I recommend they start with Lee Bennett Hopkins’ themed anthologies. These jewels gather the work of some of our best known poets and our unknown poets. They are fabulous, full of different moods brilliant illustrations–they’re a terrific introduction to contemporary children’s poetry.
When I heard about this award, I had just finished reading one of Lee’s I Can Read! anthologies, Hamsters, Shells, and Spelling Bees: School Poems. In it are poems by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, J. Patrick Lewis, Lee himself, David L. Harrison, Heidi Bee Roemer, and Linda Kulp, among others. What a fabulous roundup!
You can learn a bit more about Lee Bennett Hopkins and his work in a post by Sylvia Vardell.