Cheng wins the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award

September 19, 2014

Andrea Cheng has earned the 2014 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, according to the Penn State University Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Cheng will accept the award for her book, “Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet,” at a presentation and question and answer session, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 23, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library on the University Park campus of Penn State. A book sale and signing will follow. This event celebrates poetry for young people, and is open to the public.

“Etched in Clay,” published by Lee and Low Books and illustrated by Cheng, tells the story of a slave in South Carolina around 1815, who becomes a noteworthy potter and displays courage, creative inspiration and triumph by daring to protest slavery with inscriptions and poems that he adds to his pottery.

Cheng, the child of Hungarian immigrants, was raised in inner city Cincinnati in an extended family with three generations under one roof, in a neighborhood that was predominantly African-American. She noted, “I became aware of civil rights issues as a young child.”

She graduated with a bachelor of arts in English from Cornell University and now teaches English as a Second Language at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and writes books for children and young adults.

Established in 1993, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, which includes a $1,000 prize, courtesy of Hopkins, 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. It 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 Hopkins 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.

For more information or for questions about the physical access provided, contact Caroline Wermuth at or 814-863-5472.

Last Updated January 09, 2015