Rediscover: Lee Bennett Hopkins
Lee Bennett Hopkins, American educator, children's poet and advocate of poetry in education, died on August 8 at age 81. Born in Scranton, Pa., and raised in a housing project in Newark, N.J., Hopkins earned a Masters in education and taught elementary school. Between 1968 and 1976, he was a curriculum specialist for what was then Scholastic Magazines, where he began writing books for teachers, publishing articles in Horn Book and Language Arts, and anthologizing children's poetry. In 1976, Hopkins left Scholastic to pursue writing and education advocacy full-time. Pass the Poetry, Please (1972, revised in 1987 and 1998) outlined his thesis: that poetry could complement any children's curriculum and it is important to match students with the right poet. To that end, Hopkins collected more than 100 anthologies of kid's poetry over the course of his life. He is recognized by Guinness World Records as the "world's most prolific anthologist of poetry for children."
Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life (1995, originally published by Boyds Mills Press) is a collection of autobiographical poetry about Hopkins' tumultuous childhood--from his parents' divorce to his early dreams of being a writer. It was named a Golden Kite Award honor book in 1996. Been to Yesterdays is available in paperback from WordSong ($9.99, 9781563978081). --Tobias Mutter