Children’s writer and educator Lee Bennett Hopkins has been a devoted promoter of poetry for children. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and lived with his mother and siblings in a low-income housing project in Newark, New Jersey, after his parents divorced. He attended Newark State Teacher’s College (now Kean University) and earned an MS from Bank Street College of Education. His interest in poetry as an educational tool in the classroom led to his work as a classroom resource coordinator; he also worked as an editor at Scholastic before becoming a full-time writer and editor of anthologies. He has compiled more than 100 anthologies of poetry for children.

Hopkins’s own poetry collections for children include the autobiographical Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life (1995), which won the Christopher Medal and a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Kite Honor Award; Alphathoughts: Alphabet Poems (2003); and City I Love (2009). He has received a National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, a Florida Libraries’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for contributions to children’s literature.

Hopkins established the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Reading Association Promising Poetry Award to recognize outstanding writing for children.