2017 Hopkins Poetry Award winner announced

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book are pleased to announce the 2017 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, presented annually to an American poet or anthologist for the most outstanding new book of poetry for children published in the previous calendar year. This year’s winner is “Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds” written by Jorge Argueta, published by Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press.

Jorge Argueta will accept the award and the $1,000 prize, courtesy of Lee Bennett Hopkins, at Penn State this fall.

About “Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds” one judge said, “In few words and brief poems, Argueta is able to capture the safety of home and the mundane with the pain of not knowing what awaits on the other side. A refugee’s journey is a difficult topic to present in poetry, but Argueta’s words are able to balance the struggles, happiness, uncertainty, sadness, fears, and the mixture of feelings that the child narrator experiences.”

Another said, “In ‘Somos como las nubes /We are Like the Clouds,’ the reader is pulled into the story visually from the beautiful illustrations, and rhythmically, from the poetic language. The bilingual aspect adds authenticity to the story and connectivity for more children.”

Additionally, judges gave an honor award to “Garvey’s Choice” by Nikki Grimes published by WordSong, an imprint of Highlights.

The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award is named for the internationally renowned educator, poet, anthologist and passionate advocate of poetry for young people. Established in 1993, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award was the first award of its kind in the United States. The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the Penn State University Libraries, and Lee Bennett Hopkins share joint administration of the annual award, which is selected by a panel of authors, librarians, teachers and scholars. 

The 2017 judges for the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award were Ernie Cox, chair, teacher-librarian, Prairie Creek Intermediate School, Iowa City, Iowa; Emily Aguiló-Pérez, lecturer, English, Penn State, State College, Pennsylvania; Katie Sue Buchholtz, children’s librarian, Bellevue Branch of the Nashville Public Library System, Nashville, Tennessee; Carolyn L. Cook, associate professor, Mount St. Mary’s University (Emmitsburg, Maryland), Shippensburg, Pennsylvania; Margarita Engle, author and winner of the 2016 Hopkins Poetry Award for Children, Clovis, California.

For more information about the Hopkins Award, contact Caroline Wermuth at 814-863-5472 or cvw1@psu.edu, or visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s award website at https://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/awards-contests/lee-bennett-hopkins-poetry-award.

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Last Updated February 14, 2017