Lee Bennett Hopkins

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Lee Bennett Hopkins
Born(1938-04-13)April 13, 1938
DiedAugust 8, 2019(2019-08-08) (aged 81)
EducationNewark State College
Bank Street College of Education
Hunter College
OccupationEducator, poet, author, editor
Charles Egita (m. 2014)

Lee Bennett Hopkins (April 13, 1938 – August 8, 2019) was an American educator, poet, author, and anthologist. He was the author or editor of over 100 books for children, as well as a number of books and articles for adults.

Early life and education[edit]

Hopkins was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. When he was 13 his parents divorced and he moved with his mother and siblings to a low-income housing project in Newark, New Jersey. After high school he enrolled in Newark State Teachers College (now Kean University) in Union, New Jersey, where he majored in education. After graduating in 1960 he taught sixth grade at Westmoreland Elementary in Fair Lawn, New Jersey and pursued a master's degree at Bank Street College of Education in New York City. In 1967 he earned a degree in Administration from Hunter College of the City University of New York.


From 1966 to 1968 he served as a senior consultant to Bank Street College's Learning Resource Center in Harlem, New York, and from 1968 and 1976 he worked as a curriculum specialist for Scholastic Magazines, Inc. (now Scholastic Inc.). During those years he published a number of books including works for teachers, children's books, and anthologies of poetry, as well as articles that appeared in publications such as Horn Book and Language Arts (the professional journal of the National Council of Teachers of English).[1]

In 1976 Hopkins left Scholastic to become a full-time writer and education advocate. He believes that poetry has an important place in education,[2] and much of his professional writing is devoted to advancing the thesis and suggesting ways to integrate poetry into the curriculum. His 1972 book Pass the Poetry, Please (revised in 1987 and 1998) outlines his views on teaching poetry and includes biographies of several poets whose work he feels will appeal to children, and is consistently popular with teachers.[3] His desire to match children to poems that will speak to them is also behind his prolific production of anthologies; he has been recognized as "the world’s most prolific anthologist of poetry for children" by Guinness World Records.[4]

Awards and honors[edit]

Hopkins received many awards and honors over his career. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Kean University in 1980[5] and in 1989 was awarded the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for "lasting contributions to children's literature."[6] His autobiographical poetry collection Been To Yesterdays was honored with the Christopher Award in 1995 and was Golden Kite Award honor book in 1996.[7] In 2009 Hopkins was awarded the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children for his lifetime body of work.[8] In 2010, he was awarded a Florida Lifetime Achievement Award by the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, and in 2011 he received the Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership from the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). In 2016, Hopkins received the prestigious Regina Medal award sponsored by the Catholic Library Association.[9] In 2017, Hopkins was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Hopkins lived in Cape Coral, Florida. His husband Charles announced his passing on August 8, 2019.


  • Namesake and founder, Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Poetry. Established 1993 in cooperation with Pennsylvania Center for the Book.[11]
  • Namesake and founder, ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award. Established 1995 in cooperation with the International Reading Association.[12]
  • Namesake and founder, Lee Bennett Hopkins SCBWI Poetry Award. Established 2015 in cooperation with the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.[13]
  • Founder, Annual Lee Bennett Hopkins Writing Institute for Children. In cooperation with Florida Southwestern State College, Ft. Myers, FL.[14]


Professional books[edit]

2015 SKPU Students

Young-adult novels[edit]

Children's books[edit]



  1. ^ Serpiello, Dan. "Hopkins, Lee Bennett". 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  2. ^ Leitich Smith, Cynthia. "Author Interview: Lee Bennett Hopkins on America at War". February 23, 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  3. ^ Temple, Charles, et al. ed. Children's Books in Children's Hands: An Introduction to Their Literature. Third Edition. Boston: Pearson Education Inc., 2006. p 298.
  4. ^ "Most prolific anthologist of poetry for children". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  5. ^ Lee Bennett Hopkins website. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  6. ^ HarperCollins Children's Books - Kids Authors and Illustrators.
  7. ^ Golden Kite Award recipients Archived 2010-12-09 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  8. ^ http://www.ncte.org/awards/poetry "NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Catholic Library Association". Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  10. ^ "Lee Bennett Hopkins - Division of Cultural Affairs - Florida Department of State". dos.myflorida.com. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  11. ^ "Pennsylvania Center for the Book". Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "International Reading Association". Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  13. ^ "SCBWI". Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  14. ^ "FSW". Retrieved January 17, 2016.

External links[edit]