Cover image for Lives : poems about famous Americans
Lives : poems about famous Americans
Hopkins, Lee Bennett.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
31 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
A collection of poetic portraits of sixteen famous Americans from Paul Revere to Neil Armstrong, by such authors as Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, and X. J. Kennedy.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 0.5 70865.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.9 2 Quiz: 16366.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS595.B48 L58 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.B48 L58 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS595.B48 L58 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.B48 L58 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.B48 L58 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.B48 L58 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Poetry that makes us appreciate the magnitude of lives
filled with courage, enthusiasm, inspiration.

Lives: Poems About Famous Americans is the ideal introduction to sixteen American personalities who have changed the course of history. Favorite anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins has brought together the work of a number of accomplished writers and poets, among them Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, and X. J. Kennedy, to portray such figures as Sacagawea, Babe Ruth, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Leslie Staubs portraits contain a poetry of their own, capturing a bit of history in the glint of smile or the reach of a hand. Lives is a book for all readers to savor.

Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies 2000, National Council for SS & Child. Book Council

Author Notes

Lee Bennett Hopkins was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on April 13, 1938. Hopkins' education was rather sporadic, since he often had to care for his younger sister while his mother worked to support the family. As a child, Hopkins read little other than comic books and movie magazines until a teacher inspired in him a love of the theatre and, subsequently, of reading. Though Hopkins did well in his high school English courses, he did not enjoy other subjects and his grades in those were poor. Still, he had decided on an eventual career as a teacher and after graduating high school he began classes at the Newark State Teachers College, working several jobs in order to afford his tuition.

After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1960, Hopkins began teaching sixth grade at a public school in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. In his third year at Westmoreland School in Fair Lawn he became the school's resource teacher. Through the principal at his own school, Hopkins obtained a scholarship to pursue a master's degree at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City. While working toward this degree, which he received in 1964, Hopkins continued as Resource Teacher at Westmoreland. In 1966 he took a position as senior consultant for Bank Street College's new Learning Resource Center in the Harlem area of New York City. Hopkins also began writing articles on children's literature and the use of poetry in the classroom, which were published in journals such as Horn Book and Language Arts. With colleague Annette F. Shapiro he wrote Creative Activities for Gifted Children, his first book. In 1967 Hopkins received a Professional Diploma in Educational Supervision and Administration from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Racial tension following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968 forced Hopkins and others to reluctantly leave Harlem. He then secured another position as a curriculum and editorial specialist at Scholastic, Inc. Hopkins' career as a writer progressed; more than two dozen of his books were published during his eight-years at Scholastic. In 1976 Hopkins quit his job at Scholastic in order to become a full- time writer and poetry anthologist. He has written or compiled more than seventy-five books for children and young adults, in addition to his professional texts and his numerous contributions to education and children's literature journals.

Apart from his many poetry anthologies and professional texts, Hopkins has also written young adult novels, children's stories, and non-fiction books for children. He hosted the fifteen-part children's educational television series Zebra Wings, and has also served as a literature consultant for Harper and Row's Text Division. Hopkins has won numerous honors and awards, including an honorary doctor of laws degree from Kean College in 1980 and the University of Southern Mississippi's Silver Medallion in 1989. His poetry autobiography, Been to Yesterdays, received both the Christopher Medal and a Golden Kite Honor. He has also received awards from Booklist, School Library Journal, The New York Times, The American Library Association and the American Booksellers Association. Hopkins founded the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award presented annually since 1993, and the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Reading Association Promising Poet Award presented every three years since 1995.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-6. Fourteen poems, 12 of them commissioned for this collection, celebrate the lives of famous Americans, including Sacagawea, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Neil Armstrong. Each poem appears on a left-hand page facing a bordered portrait painted in a flat, naive style and centering subjects against backgrounds that reflect something significant in their lives. Ending the book, two pages of notes feature a paragraph of information about each person featured in the verse. The strongest among the poems is Alice Schertle's "Abe," which leaves readers with a powerful image of Lincoln "wrapping his strong hands / around a nation / trying to hold the bleeding halves / together / until they healed." Some of the other poets represented include Lee Bennett Hopkins, Nikki Grimes, X. J. Kennedy, J. Patrick Lewis, and Jane Yolen. Teachers looking for poetry to enhance social-studies units will find several good choices here. Notes on the lives of each subject round out the treatment. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)006027767XCarolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8Hopkins has added another engaging collection to his impressive list of anthologies. This one gathers poems about 16 significant Americans. The volume opens with Lawrence Schimels energetic This Bell Rings for Liberty about Paul Revere: I quench the heated metal shell/and fiery red begins to fade,/the way we drove Redcoats to sea/and quenched them from our homes and land. Alice Shertles Abe conveys in free verse the sorrow and power of the man, concluding with a breath-taking image: wrapping his strong hands/around a nation,/trying to hold the bleeding halves/together/until they healed. Selections by Nikki Grimes, X. J. Kennedy, and Jane Yolen bring other individuals to life through a range of poetic forms. There is a good balance of men and women represented as well as a variety of personalities from Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks to Neil Armstrong and Langston Hughes. Hopkinss eloquent introduction praises the power of poetry. Concluding Notes on the Lives give readers useful biographical information. Full-page portraits feature Staubs distinctive, flat, primitive style, and their backgrounds have details particular to the subject: laboratory bottles for Thomas Edison, people-filled stands for Babe Ruth, a Harlem scene for Langston Hughes. A winning combination of poems and illustrations.Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.