Posts tagged ‘Lee Bennett Hopkins’

Award-Winning Poet Hopkins Gifts Libraries His Private Collection

Photo via Ellysa Cahoy

Award-winning children’s poet and author Lee Bennett Hopkins recently informed the Penn State University Libraries that he would be giving them his entire personal collection of children’s poetry books, manuscripts, and correspondence.

A small portion of the valuable collection—boxes and boxes stored in Hopkins’ Cape Coral, Fla., home—has already been sent to the Special Collections Library at  University Park, and soon, Karla Schmit, interim head, Education Library and Director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and Ellysa Cahoy, education and behavioral sciences librarian and assistant director for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, will determine where to house the rest.

Hopkins’ private collection is valued at more than $2 million and comprises, among others, 18,000 children’s poetry books, as well as letters from Dr. Seuss. It’s a significant gift to the Penn State libraries, Schmit says, and will be a huge draw for scholars of children’s literature.

But the gift also cements (more…)

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October 18, 2017 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

For Kwame Alexander, a Resounding “Yes”

Through multiple revisions and repeated rejections, Kwame Alexander continued to believe that the book that would become The Crossover was “the best thing I’d ever written.” It seemed like no one would agree with him—18 editors turned down the manuscript, leaving Alexander to settle on publishing it himself—before one company finally bought the book. It was a smart choice: Published last year, The Crossover was awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal as the best children’s book of the year.

Alexander accepts the Lee Bennett Hopkins award Thursday at Paterno Library

Alexander accepts the Lee Bennett Hopkins award Thursday at Paterno Library

On Thursday, Alexander was on campus to accept another honor: the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, give annually for “the most outstanding new book of children’s poetry.” The award is named for Hopkins, the prolific children’s poet and Scranton native, and presented by the Penn State Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book. For Alexander, who remembered reading Hopkins as a child and then reading Hopkins to his own daughter, said receiving the award “felt like coming full circle.”

The Crossover started, Alexander says, as “a book of poems that were linked. I didn’t realize it was a story.” The final version, a “novel in verse,” tells the story of tight-knit, basketball-loving twin brothers who face conflict and family tragedy. The book’s bumpy path to publishing—Alexander say he was told “boys don’t like poetry, and girls don’t like basketball”—taught him to “accept the no’s.” After absorbing all that rejection, the eventual “yes” was that much sweeter.

An eager advocate for the use of poetry in education, Alexander called the form “the bridge that gets students to appreciate language and literature.” With a freshly signed copy of The Crossover in hand, I’m looking forward to sharing that bridge with my own kids this weekend.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

October 2, 2015 at 5:39 am 1 comment


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