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Lee Bennett Hopkins (1938–2019)

Author of Surprises

157+ Works 7,626 Members 471 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Lee Bennett Hopkins was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on April 13, 1938. Hopkins' education was rather sporadic, since he often had to care for his younger sister while his mother worked to support the family. As a child, Hopkins read little other than comic books and movie magazines until a show more teacher inspired in him a love of the theatre and, subsequently, of reading. Though Hopkins did well in his high school English courses, he did not enjoy other subjects and his grades in those were poor. Still, he had decided on an eventual career as a teacher and after graduating high school he began classes at the Newark State Teachers College, working several jobs in order to afford his tuition. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1960, Hopkins began teaching sixth grade at a public school in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. In his third year at Westmoreland School in Fair Lawn he became the school's resource teacher. Through the principal at his own school, Hopkins obtained a scholarship to pursue a master's degree at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City. While working toward this degree, which he received in 1964, Hopkins continued as Resource Teacher at Westmoreland. In 1966 he took a position as senior consultant for Bank Street College's new Learning Resource Center in the Harlem area of New York City. Hopkins also began writing articles on children's literature and the use of poetry in the classroom, which were published in journals such as Horn Book and Language Arts. With colleague Annette F. Shapiro he wrote Creative Activities for Gifted Children, his first book. In 1967 Hopkins received a Professional Diploma in Educational Supervision and Administration from Hunter College of the City University of New York. Racial tension following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968 forced Hopkins and others to reluctantly leave Harlem. He then secured another position as a curriculum and editorial specialist at Scholastic, Inc. Hopkins' career as a writer progressed; more than two dozen of his books were published during his eight-years at Scholastic. In 1976 Hopkins quit his job at Scholastic in order to become a full- time writer and poetry anthologist. He has written or compiled more than seventy-five books for children and young adults, in addition to his professional texts and his numerous contributions to education and children's literature journals. Apart from his many poetry anthologies and professional texts, Hopkins has also written young adult novels, children's stories, and non-fiction books for children. He hosted the fifteen-part children's educational television series Zebra Wings, and has also served as a literature consultant for Harper and Row's Text Division. Hopkins has won numerous honors and awards, including an honorary doctor of laws degree from Kean College in 1980 and the University of Southern Mississippi's Silver Medallion in 1989. His poetry autobiography, Been to Yesterdays, received both the Christopher Medal and a Golden Kite Honor. He has also received awards from Booklist, School Library Journal, The New York Times, The American Library Association and the American Booksellers Association. Hopkins founded the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award presented annually since 1993, and the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Reading Association Promising Poet Award presented every three years since 1995. Lee Bennett Hopkins passsed away on August 8, 2019, at the age of 81. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Surprises (1984) — Editor — 699 copies
My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States (2000) — Editor — 591 copies
Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems (1997) — Editor — 357 copies
Good Books, Good Times! (1990) — Editor — 349 copies
Side By Side: Poems to Read Together (1605) — Editor — 287 copies
Weather: Poems for All Seasons (1994) — Editor — 227 copies
Spectacular Science: A Book of Poems (1999) — Editor — 202 copies
Halloween Howls: Holiday Poetry (2005) — Editor — 197 copies
Amazing Faces: Poems (2010) — Editor — 186 copies
Home To Me: Poems Across America (2002) — Editor — 155 copies
Hand in Hand: An American History Through Poetry (1994) — Editor — 120 copies
I Am the Book (2011) — Editor — 118 copies
A Pet for Me: Poems (2003) — Editor — 115 copies
Got Geography! (2006) — Editor — 95 copies
Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems (2010) — Editor — 79 copies
Pass the Poetry, Please! (1987) 79 copies
School Supplies: A Book of Poems (1621) — Editor — 75 copies
City I Love (2009) 69 copies
Incredible Inventions (2009) 67 copies
Dinosaurs: Poems (1987) 67 copies
Nasty Bugs (2012) 56 copies
Manger (2014) 54 copies
Sky Magic: Poems (2009) — Editor — 45 copies
Jumping Off Library Shelves (1702) 45 copies
Opening Days: Sports Poems (1996) 41 copies
Happy Birthday (1991) 40 copies
Me! A book of poems (1970) 39 copies
The Sky Is Full of Song (1983) 36 copies
Mary's Song (2012) 36 copies
Full Moon and Star (2011) 33 copies
Hey-How for Halloween! (1974) — Editor — 30 copies
Amazing Places (2015) 28 copies
A Bunch of Punctuation (2018) 26 copies
Easter Buds Are Springing: Poems for Easter (1979) — Editor — 25 copies
Give Me Wings (2010) 25 copies
School People (2018) 25 copies
Song And Dance (1997) 23 copies
April Bubbles Chocolate (1994) 20 copies
The Writing Bug (1993) 20 copies
Let them be themselves (1969) 18 copies
On the Farm/Poems (1991) 17 copies
Creatures (1985) 17 copies
Best Friends (1986) 15 copies
Mama & her boys (1981) 15 copies
Mama (1977) 15 copies
I Am the Cat (1981) 14 copies
Small circus (A solo book) (1975) 14 copies
And God Bless Me (1982) 14 copies
A Dog's Life (1983) 12 copies
Flit, Flutter, Fly! (1992) 11 copies
Construction People (2020) 11 copies
This Street's For Me! (1970) 11 copies
Elves, Fairies & Gnomes (1980) 10 copies
To the Zoo: Animal Poems (1992) 10 copies
Poems to Remember (1973) 10 copies
All the World's a Stage (2013) 10 copies
It's about time : poems (1993) 8 copies
Hear My Prayer (2010) 8 copies
City Talk (1970) 8 copies
Night Wishes (2020) 7 copies
Poetry on Wheels. (1974) 7 copies
Wonder Wheels (1979) 6 copies
By Myself (1980) 4 copies
Zoo! - A Book of Poems (1971) 4 copies
Poems from Best Friends (1993) 4 copies
The Best of Book Bonanza (1980) 3 copies
I Loved Rose Ann (1976) 3 copies
Love & kisses (1984) 2 copies
Best Friends 1 copy

Associated Works

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems (1962) — Introduction, some editions — 923 copies
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out (2008) — Contributor — 341 copies
Rainbows Are Made: Poems by Carl Sandburg (1982) — Editor — 92 copies
Celebrate Cricket: 30 Years of Stories and Art (2003) — Contributor — 43 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 1, September 1974 (1974) — Contributor — 7 copies


African American (38) America (39) American history (51) American poetry (29) animals (42) anthology (103) books (46) children (47) children's (74) children's literature (49) children's poetry (83) Christmas (28) collection (28) dinosaurs (31) diversity (40) early reader (33) easy (29) easy reader (31) fiction (79) geography (70) Halloween (57) hardcover (32) history (69) holidays (40) k-3 (35) math (66) non-fiction (155) picture book (219) poems (188) poetry (1,876) poetry collection (28) reading (51) rhyming (41) school (52) science (75) seasons (38) social studies (46) to-read (36) USA (40) weather (42)

Common Knowledge



Jennihernandez | Dec 4, 2023 |
I do agree with some of the early reviewers that at first this book starts off unusual and as though you had missed a page. However, once you have read through the story, you realize that you are listening to the voice of Mary and possibly her perspective of what the night of Jesus' birth was like for her. I admit, I was more mesmerized by the lovely illustrations, than I was the story at first. I was preparing this book for my granddaughter's Christmas advent books to read, and I know she will enjoy the artwork, the stable animals, and the animal sounds. But then I thought of another family member who recently experienced an unexpected early delivery and did not have the chance to hold her baby immediately and how she would likely relate to this song of Mary, who maybe just wanted to sing a lullaby to her newborn child. It occurred to me that this story really is a unique one than can tie in a mother's love for her child, who she is holding on her lap and reading this story, and the love that Mary was wanting to express to Jesus, in the midst of all the interruptions that came to her that night. Together, mother and child can be enveloped in the awe of the First Christmas with the reading of this book.… (more)
MarySchubert | 11 other reviews | Nov 9, 2023 |
Independent Reading Level: Grades 4th-5th grade
Awards: Christopher Award (2009), National Council of Teachers of English Excellence in Poetry for Children Award (2009)
Mathews_mallory | 2 other reviews | Nov 4, 2023 |
The 38 poems in this popular beginning reader anthology are simple, short, and rhyming. Topics include kid-friendly subjects such as pets, vehicles, cooking, and space, with plenty of silliness to spark giggles.
PlumfieldCH | 4 other reviews | Sep 22, 2023 |



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