UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State University Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book are pleased to announce the winner of the 2014 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. This year’s winner is “Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet,” written by Andrea Cheng, with woodcuts by the author, published by Lee & Low Books. The award and $1,000 prize, courtesy of Lee Bennett Hopkins, will be presented at Penn State in the fall.
One judge remarked, “‘Etched in Clay’ is an accomplished biography-in-verse that forever etches in our minds the life of a man who dared to leave his mark.” Another commented, “In direct, forthright verse from multiple perspectives, embellished with her own simple woodblock prints, Andrea Cheng crafts a careful, human portrait of a man of extraordinary resilience and strength, himself a poet and an artist.” And from another, “Even the careful juxtaposition of the poems creates a path of life and heart that makes this novel in verse a hand-thrown treasure.”
Additionally, judges gave honor awards to “Coaltown Jesus,” by Ron Koertge, published by Candlewick Press and “Rutherford B., Who Was He?: Poems About Our Presidents,” by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by John Hendrix, published by Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book 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 Penn State University Libraries and Lee Bennett Hopkins share joint administration of the annual award.
The judges for this year’s Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award were Chair Ellysa Stern Cahoy (education librarian and assistant director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book) of State College, Pa.; Amanda Adkins (youth services librarian) of Niles, Ohio; Thom Barthelmess (curator, Butler Children’s Literature Center and lecturer, Dominican University) of River Forest, Ill.; Kate Coombs (poet) of Bountiful, Utah; and Rocco A. Staino (contributing editor, “School Library Journal” and director, Empire State Center for the Book) of New York.