Cover image for My America : a poetry atlas of the United States
My America : a poetry atlas of the United States
Hopkins, Lee Bennett.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2000.
Physical Description:
83 pages ; 28 cm
A collection of poems evocative of seven geographical regions of the United States, including the Northeast, Southeast, Great Lakes, Plains, Mountain, Southwest, and Pacific Coast States.
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.9 1.0 45154.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.8 3 Quiz: 27376.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS595.U5 M93 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.U5 M93 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS595.U5 M93 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.U5 M93 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.U5 M93 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.U5 M93 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.U5 M93 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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In My America, Lee Bennett Hopkins weaves together fifty poems -- grouped by geographic region -- to create a remarkable portrait of the United States. Here is America in all its stunning variety, from the dramatic seacoast of the Northeast and the rippling cornfields of the Plains States to the shimmering deserts of the Southwest and the majestic redwood forests of the Pacific Coast. But here, too, are the ties that bind this nation together -- the hopes and dreams of those who live in our cities and towns and on farms.
The voices of beloved poets like Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Nikki Giovanni, and Lilian Moore blend with new voices to sing not just of landmarks like the Mississippi River, the Grand Canyon, and the Everglades, but of daily life across the land. Complementing these personal, moving visions of America are maps of the regions and fascinating facts for each state.
Stephen Alcorn's brilliant, textured artwork makes this book a feast for the eyes as well as for the imagination. Impressive for its breadth, depth, and beauty, My America is a volume readers will savor as they read it time and time again. It is fitting homage to our wideranging, ever-changing land.

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

These two large-size poetry anthologies will get lots of use across the curriculum--in history, civics, literature, and American Studies classes. Katz has steeped herself in the diaries, letters, journals, and biographies of famous leaders and ordinary people through U.S. history and written more than 60 first-person poems in their individual voices. The collection, arranged in chronological order, includes Chief Powhatan's "Message for the Settlers," a Yukon gold miner's tale, and kids' e-mail messages to President Clinton on the edge of the twenty-first century. Immediate and colloquial, sometimes wry, sometimes solemn, the poems work well as dramatic monologues, whether it's Orville and Wilbur Wright telling the "First Airplane" in two voices, Roosevelt on the New Deal ("The people are no mob to me. I have met them face to face"), or a Japanese American child on being interned during World War II. Nina Crews uses archival images and photographs in three collages to express a sense of past and present. Hopkins' organization is geographical. He divides the U.S. into eight regions. For each, he includes a map, a page of facts about the states, and seven or eight poems. Even the selections from the famous, such as Langston Hughes and Carl Sandburg, are not the usual familiar choices, and several poems were specially commissioned for the anthology. Some poems are purposive, but the best (including X. J. Kennedy's "Boulder, Colorado," Nikki Giovanni's "Knoxville, Tennessee," Ruth Lechlitner's poem about "This Kansas boy who never saw the sea," and several by Hopkins himself) capture places and people in all their diversity. Stephen Alcorn's handsome, multitextured pictures are sometimes overwhelming, but they avoid literal interpretation and capture the sweep of the land and the rhythm of the words. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-8-Seven regions plus Washington, DC, are explored through 51 poems by 40 different poets. The selections explore each area's geography, climate, or urban or rural features. Classic poets such as Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, and Nikki Giovanni are represented along with David McCord, X. J. Kennedy, Myra Cohn Livingston, and Hopkins himself. Twenty poems were commissioned especially for the book. Alcorn's paintings reflect the emotional range of the poems through a variety of styles and images. The artist expresses the diversity of American geography using shape, colors, and texture to evoke a variety of landscapes and including people from many cultural backgrounds. Each section is preceded by a painted map of the region and brief lists of facts, including a "Great Fact" for each state. Previous collections of poetry about America have taken chronological, thematic, or biographical approaches. This regional arrangement invites connections to literature set in the places presented. When used along with Nora Panzer's Celebrate America in Poetry and Art (Hyperion, 1999) and Hopkins's Hand in Hand: An American History through Poetry (S & S, 1994) and Lives: Poems about Famous Americans (HarperCollins, 1999), this volume will enrich literature and social-studies units.-Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Flying a Kite, 1899
Bumpy Rides, 1900-1901
Twists and Turns, 1901-1902
Props and Powerr, 1902-1903
The Wright Flyer, 1903
Onward and Upward