'Martin Rising' named 2019 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award winner

February 28, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State University Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book have announced the 2019 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 “Martin Rising: Requiem for a King,” written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic.​

In “Martin Rising: Requiem for a King,” Andrea Davis Pinkney has written, “quite simply, a poetic tour de force, perfectly complemented by Brian Pinkney’s ethereal, swirling watercolor illustrations,” judges wrote, adding, “Though there are volumes written about Martin Luther King Jr., ‘Martin Rising: Requiem for a King’ offers a fresh voice that features not only his accomplishments, but also reveals his humanity. Each poem could stand alone but when read as a collection the significance and power of this volume is stunning. The marriage of the language and the art results in something that is both elegant and eloquent.”

Andrea Davis Pinkney will accept the award and the $1,000 prize, courtesy of Lee Bennett Hopkins, at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 13, at Schlow Centre Region Library in downtown State College, Pennsylvania, near Penn State’s University Park campus. The 2019 Hopkins Award presentation will coincide with the 2019 Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and the 2019 BookFest, which also is held at Schlow Centre Region Library.

Additionally, judges gave honor awards to “The Honeybee” by Kirsten Hall, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and to “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy” by Tony Medina and 13 Artists, published by Penny Candy Books.

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 2019 judges for the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award were Maggie Bokelman, chair, librarian, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; Lester Laminack, author/consultant, Dillsboro, North Carolina; Sue Parsons, associate professor and Jacques Munroe Professor of Reading and Literacy, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma; Mary Russell, director, Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library, Concord, New Hampshire; and Suzi Steffen, freelance arts journalist and writing instructor, Wenatchee Valley College and Linn-Benton Community College, Eugene, Oregon.

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book established in 1977 at the Library of Congress, encourages Pennsylvania’s citizens and residents to study, honor, celebrate and promote books, reading, libraries and literacy. In addition to the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, it also administers the Public Poetry Project, the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, Poems from Life, Letters about Literature, A Baker’s Dozen: The Best Children’s Books for Family Literacy, and the interactive Literary & Cultural Heritage Map of Pennsylvania.

For more information about the Hopkins Award, contact Caroline Wermuth at cvw1@psu.edu or 814-863-5472, or visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website.

  • book cover with title text, author name, illustration of flowers with large bee

    “The Honeybee” by Kirsten Hall, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, was selected as one of two honor books by judges of the 2019 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.

    IMAGE: cover image provided by publisher
  • book cover with title text, author name, collage of several works of art depicting black male youths of varying ages

    “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy” by Tony Medina and 13 Artists, published by Penny Candy Books, was selected as one of two honor books by judges of the 2019 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.

    IMAGE: cover image provided by publisher
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Last Updated February 28, 2019