The world of children’s literature lost a champion this week with the death of Lee Bennett Hopkins, poet and anthologist. I had the good fortune to meet and interview Hopkins when I was working as a graduate assistant to Dr. M Jerry Weiss at New Jersey City University in his children’s and young adult literature course.
My interview was published in the Winter 1996 issue of the SIGNAL Journal, (Special Interest Group – a Network on Adolescent Literature, a publication of the International Reading Association). I remember Hopkins’ passion for poetry and used many of his books in my teaching.
“Surround children with quality literature. Let poetry flow freely in children’s lives. Let children know there is poetry for all times, about every single thing, through and throughout their lives…”
“.. Poems can mesh throughout the curriculum from math to social studies to physical education. There are poems about happy times, sad times, fire flies, fire hydrants, meteorites, black holes, mothers, fathers, dinosaurs, and dreams.”
He urged educators to serve children “a banquet of quality literature.”
A former teacher, Hopkins won many awards and created more than 100 poetry anthologies on many subjects.
Check out his books!