'The Crossover' author to receive Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award

September 17, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kwame Alexander, author of “The Crossover,” will receive the 2015 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award at a presentation from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on Penn State’s University Park campus. The national award and its public presentation celebrate poetry for young people.

Alexander, a poet, children’s book author, playwright and producer, also won the prestigious 2015 Newbery Medal for “The Crossover,” which tells the story of the complicated relationship between twin brothers who share a love for basketball. At the presentation Alexander will talk about his book and hold a question-and-answer session. A book sale and signing will follow.

"As a child, I was read Lee Bennett Hopkins poetry ... so to receive the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award is a tremendous honor and wonderful full circle experience in my writerly life."

— Kwame Alexander, author of “The Crossover”

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.

"As a child, I was read Lee Bennett Hopkins poetry. I have a first edition of ‘City Talk’ on my bookshelf that I read to my daughter, so to receive the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award is a tremendous honor and wonderful full circle experience in my writerly life," said Alexander.

Steven Herb, director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book and one of the founders of the Hopkins Award in 1993, said, "It never gets old to meet these outstanding poets. Kwame is the 23rd poet to win this award, and I am just as excited to watch him receive this important prize as I was when Ashley Bryan received the first Hopkins Award all those years ago."

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. 

If you anticipate needing accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided at the presentation, contact Caroline Wermuth at cvw1@psu.edu or 814-863-5472.

  • Author Kwame Alexander holding a copy of "The Crossover"

    Kwame Alexander will receive his award at a presentation on Oct. 1 in the University Libraries.

    IMAGE: Nataki Hewling

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 12, 2015