|From School People edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins|
This week we are celebrating libraries and the wonderful people who work in them. April is also poetry month, so today I am bringing you a book of poetry that just happens to be all about libraries, librarians, and the people who discover that libraries truly are magical places.
The late and much loved children’s writer and educator Lee Bennett Hopkins was a devoted promoter of poetry for children. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and lived with his mother and siblings in a low-income housing project in Newark, New Jersey, after his parents divorced. Lee attended Kean University and earned an MS from Bank Street College of Education. His interest in poetry as an educational tool in the classroom led to his work as a classroom resource coordinator; he also worked as an editor at Scholastic before becoming a full-time writer and editor of anthologies. Leecompiled more than 100 anthologies of poetry for children.
Lee established the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Reading Association Promising Poetry Award to recognize outstanding writing for children.
Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Janet Manning
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Boyds Mills Press, 2015, 978-1590789247
A library is a special place. Some people think it is ‘just’ a repository for books, a storage place perhaps, but they are wrong. Thanks to the books in a library, people can find information, they can travel to distant lands, and have grand adventures. They can take a break from the world, and spend some quiet time immersed in wonderful words.
For this marvelous salute to libraries, Lee Bennet Hopkins has brought together poems written by a wonderful selection of poets. On the pages of this book we will meet children for whom their library is a special place. With their library cards in hand - the card that is “more powerful” than a cell phone, a TV remote, or a hundred apps - children find treasures that invite them “to explore” and “to dream.”
To help young readers in their search for a good read, there is the librarian who, by some magical ability, is always able to help a child find “the perfect book.” Somehow the librarian is able to read a child, like words on a page, and know what he or she needs.
The library is also a place where you will find storytellers who are able to make “words / leap from pages,” as they read out loud. With the storyteller for company, children make friends with a frog and toad, and they can “walk / down a / yellow brick road.” During their storytimes they are able to believe in “once-upon-a-time” and “happily ever after.”
There is something for everyone in a library. On the shelves there are dictionaries, books of poetry, fairy tales and so much more. And when night falls, and all the people have left the library, other little beings come out to partake of the library’s treasures.
This wonderful collection of poems take us into the world of libraries. We enter the library as “Morning pours spoons of sun” onto the shelves, and then leave when “night falls / outside / a / window.” As we close the book we are left with a comfortable feeling, and a yearning to visit our local library where book wonders await us.