Pass the Poetry, Please! Remembering Lee Bennett Hopkins


Lee Bennett Hopkins 1938-2019

This poem was written in honor of Lee Bennett Hopkins, a giant in the world of children’s poetry. Lee passed away on August 8th of this year. Today, the Poetry Friday community is sharing poetry honoring Lee. My contribution is a Golden Shovel using the title of Lee’s classic book, with phrases from some of Lee’s own poems woven in. Lee joyfully spread his love of poetry throughout the world, and his loss is immeasurable. How lucky we are that our lives were enriched by Lee, and that we have volumes and volumes of poetry to help keep his legacy alive.

Pass the Poetry, Please!

Italicized lines are from the following poems by Lee (in order of appearance):

“Under the Microscope” from Spectacular Science (Simon & Schuster, 1999)
“Librarian” from School People (Wordsong, 2018)
“Ruby” from Hoofbeats, Claws & Rippled Fins: Creature Poems (HarperCollins, 2002)
“Storyteller (For Augusta Baker)” from Jumping Off Library Shelves (Wordsong, 2015)
Introduction to I Am the Cat (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981)

And, of course, Pass the Poetry, Please!  a treasure trove of poetic love, containing “a wealth of ideas to encourage a child’s natural delight in poetry.” (from the back cover of my paperback of the revised edition, published by HarperTrophy in 1987.)

Please be sure to visit our gracious host, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, at The Poem Farm for more remembrances of Lee.

16 thoughts on “Pass the Poetry, Please! Remembering Lee Bennett Hopkins

  1. Catherine, this is lovely….and a tribute. Thank you for calling to mind these titles and building such a good golden shovel. Pass the Poetry, Please! is such a great line/title.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully creative to use all those lines from that anthology, Catherine. It is a favorite of mine & I imagine Lee would be delighted with your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Catherine, Pass the Poetry, PLEASE. We must keep it alive and Lee’s work alive. When I visit classes I will be bringing Lee’s books and his influence on me and so many others to kids’s lives. Your poem sings and reminds us of Lee’s belief in poetry and all it can do for kids’ lives and education and hearts. Wonderful.
    Janet Clare F.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Catherine, every single line in your poem is so lovely and true. Thank you for sharing it. Many years ago, I owned the first edition of Pass the Poetry, Please!. It such was a fantastic resource, when the 2nd. edition was published, I bought that one too! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A beautiful golden shovel tribute, Catherine, tightly packed with heart and so many of Lee’s own words. His message and yours speak loud and clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I see you did some clever, purple weaving of your own, Catherine! With the added bonus of a golden shovel, not to mention five reminders of the power of poetry. Lee would appreciate the people-oriented simplicity very much!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was hoping to see a Golden Shovel built from one of Lee’s lines today. You captured his spirit and his joy at welcoming people into the children’s poetry community.


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