2012 Hopkins Poetry Award winners announced

May 11, 2012

Penn State University Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book have announced the winner of the 2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. This year’s winner is “Won Ton: a Cat Tale Told In Haiku” by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, and published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. The award and a $1,000 prize, courtesy of Lee Bennett Hopkins, was presented on April 13, 2012 at the Pennsylvania School Librarians’ Association Conference in Hershey, Pa.

"Not just for cat lovers, this book is for anyone who has ever been charmed by the antics of a pet," said one judge. Another said, "The whimsical, lyrical haikus are integral to the delight and progress of this story. Each haiku stands on its own; together, they tell an insightful and joyous story that will be enjoyed for many years to come." Another judge offered this praise: "Lee Wardlaw has done a magnificent job of using haiku to tell a compelling story about a shelter cat and his adjustments to his new home and adoptive family. It is funny, heartwarming and grand!"

Additionally, judges gave an honor award to Helen Frost for "Hidden," published by Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.

Established in 1993, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award is 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 prestigious award is named for Lee Bennett Hopkins, the internationally renowned educator, poet, anthologist, and passionate advocate of poetry for young people. Selected by a panel of teachers, librarians, and scholars, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award was the first award of its kind in the United States. The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the University Libraries, and Hopkins share joint administration of the annual award. The Pennsylvania School Librarians’ Association was added as a co-sponsor in 2006.

The judges for this year’s Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award are Chair Marg Foster (AASL affiliate representative) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; C.M. Millen (poet/writer/teacher) of Ottawa Hills, Ohio; Ellen Hunter Ruffin (curator, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection) of Hattiesburg, MS; Dr. Patricia Stohr-Hunt (chair, Education Department, University of Richmond) of Richmond, Virginia; and Dianne White (children's author and elementary school teacher, Newhall School District) of Newhall, California.

For more information about the Hopkins Award, contact Karla Schmit at 814-863-5521 or visit the website at http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/activities/hopkins/index.html.

Last Updated May 14, 2012