Friday, July 5, 2019

A New Anthology & A Grand Mentor

Published July 2, 2019

Charlesbridge, 2019
(Click the image to enlarge)

Students - Sometimes people ask how authors and illustrators got started in their work.  For me, it began with a lifetime of reading and writing love, an English major, a few years of teaching fifth grade, a year studying teaching writing with Lucy Calkins, time at home reading aloud to three toddlers, and meeting my poetry teacher, Lee Bennett Hopkins.

When I was pregnant with our daughter Georgia (now 19), I attended an SCBWI conference session led by Poetry Master Lee Bennett Hopkins.  He was incredibly wise, funny, and generous. He wrote his snail mail address in my notebook when I asked if I might send him a few poems.  And after several months (I was nervous), I did send those poems, typed and folded neatly into an envelope that I probably kissed.

Many months letter, I received an invitation from Lee, an invitation to try to write a poem for one of four I CAN READ holiday books published by Harper Collins.  Lee accepted one of my poems into his book CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. It was a poem about reading by the light of a Christmas tree, one of my favorite childhood memories and activities.

Published September 27, 2005

Time went by as it always does.  And now, here in 2019, that baby Georgia who was in my belly when I met Lee is a college student (English major). Over the past several years, I have written a few books and have shared many poems here at The Poem Farm and in anthologies edited by Lee and others. Many more poems cuddle up in my notebooks, likely never to be read.

Along with many many poets, I have Lee to thank.

Lee Bennett Hopkins
Photo from Lee's Website

Lee has won and established many awards for writers, and you can even find him in the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS as the most prolific anthologist of poetry for children with over 113 titles to his credit. One might imagine that such a busy and accomplished man would not have time for others, but Lee has mentored many poets, always with truth, kindness, and a twinkle in his eye. I consider him a member of my family, and I consider myself fortunate.

Remember this - life is full of teachers, both in and out of school.  If you wish dearly to learn something, do whatever you can to learn on your own, but too, seek out teachers in the world of that subject. Do your part, do not complain, work hard, do your own research. And know that there are teachers who care to give a hand to people who are doing the work and working to do it as well as they can.

Poems have given my life a layer of beauty and richness, a layer of enchantment and surprise. I love my poetry friends, and I love reading and writing poem lines, always seeking new understandings and new combinations of syllables. I am grateful, and today I send a big hug to Lee for all of this, and too, for believing in me.

For more news about I AM SOMEONE ELSE, this latest book by Lee, read an interview with him and talented illustrator Chris Hsu over at Matt Forrest Esenwine's place, Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme.  You can read Matt's poem there too...and read Michelle Heidrenrich Barnes's poem over at her blog Today's Little Ditty.  Find Michelle's interview with the book's editor Karen Boss here. And read a review of I AM SOMEONE ELSE by Paul Hankins at Goodreads.

GIVEAWAY! I did offer a giveaway of this book on Twitter on the book's release day, and here is another one. If you comment on this post by 11:59pm on July 11, you will be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of I AM SOMEONE ELSE. Please just leave a way to contact you should you win, and I will announce the winner here next Friday, July 12.

At Sharing Our Notebooks, my other online home, I could not be happier to welcome Art Educator Matthew Grundler. Please visit his post about visual journals...and be inspired! (There is a giveaway there too.)

Tricia is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at The Miss Rumphius Effect with a charmer of a triolet that began with a line she lifted from an old family letter. Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Hello Amy! Thank you, I didn't know about this book. I love teaching poetry and we end the school year by writing and performing poems for two voices. It's a magical way to finish the year. Thank you for your poems and this website. It's a big help!

  2. Congratulations on your inclusion in Lee's book, Amy - yours is one of my favorites! And thank you also for the's always an honor to be part of a project like this with you, Lee, and so many other wonderfully talented folks.

  3. Amy! We were talking about poetry yesterday and how it does such a wonderful job of conveying emotion and I thought I would pop over here to see what you’ve been up to. Thank you for this lovely post and congratulations on your poem being included in this new book!

  4. Amy, your post is loaded with such poetry goodness. Thanks for sharing your early meet-up with Lee and the friendship you forged. The poem you wrote is so imaginative so congratulations on it being part of Lee's new book. Listening to your reading makes the poem's rhythm and rhyme pop out in such a beautiful flow and I love the ending. Now, I am off to read the post on my friend, Matt Grundler's visual journal.

  5. A wonderful last line! Many congratulations on being kid enough to pretend and poet to capture the moment for this anthology. I love it!

  6. This looks like an amazing book, and your poem is wonderful!

  7. Congratulations on your poem--one of many! This anthology looks fabulous. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  8. I love your poem, Amy, that ending is truth! I have the book so don't put me in the drawing, will be sharing it soon. There is much to love in it for us all, but especially for children. Your story about meeting Lee & then what happened is a special one.

  9. What a rich post! There is so much here. Congratulations and thank you so much for your poetry and educating us more about Lee Bennett Hopkins.

  10. I'm so grateful to Lee for all he has done for the world of children's poetry. This book, with your poem, definitely sounds like one I want to own!

  11. I LOVE your poem.This looks like such an amazing book. Thanks for an interesting post.

  12. Thanks for sharing, Amy! Your poem is wonderful!

  13. The ending of your poem is just right. I love hearing about your relationship with Lee Bennett Hopkins and how you and many other poets pass on his generous legacy of mentorship.

  14. Beautiful post, Amy! I especially love the message that you didn't go it alone to get to where you are in your career. It's so easy for people to feel more isolated than ever in today's world. I appreciate your reminder for kids that it's okay to reach out — that friends and mentors are out there and want to help. LOVE your poem in this anthology! As usual, it hits just the right tone.

  15. You are so right, Lee has been a mentor to so many of us. I enjoyed your poem very much. I AM SOMEONE ELSE sounds wonderful!

  16. "Remember this - life is full of teachers, both in and out of school."
    Indeed. And you are sure one of mine... xo

  17. What a great giveaway. So glad to hear that Lee Bennett Hopkins encouraged your poetry writing and lined you up with a publication early in your career. Awesome!

  18. I love your poem Amy and especially these lines,
    "My dress become
    an erimine robe,"
    what a beautiful–dream-like vision. I just read the review for this book on Good Reads, Congratulations! So fun to hear about your teacher connection with Lee Bennett Hopkins, that's truly special, thanks for sharing all.

  19. Congratulations, Amy! "For a Little While" is completely charming. I love the image of your girl gazing into her looking glass to see her golden crown. Thank you for sharing the story of how you met Lee, and for being a teacher to me!

  20. What a tribute to your amazing mentor! And I could walk right into your poem as little girl me, spending lots of time alone pretending, but also loving being outside!

  21. I really enjoyed learning about how you came to know Lee, Amy. There is a right combination of on-your-own and with-some-help, and it's probably different for each and every person. I'm very excited for this book--it's like it was published just to help me teach 4yos next year!


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