Lee Bennett Hopkins, author, mentor, and poet to generations of children passed away this morning in Coral Gables, Florida with his husband, Charles, at his side. He was a longtime member of the SCBWI and a recipient of a Golden Kite honor in 1996 for his autobiographical poetry collection Been to Yesterdays, which also won the Christopher Medal in that same year. Among his numerous other awards was the prestigious 2016 Regina Medal presented by the Catholic Library Association. For many years the SCBWI has been honored to administer the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Poetry and will continue to do so in Lee’s memory.
SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver, in learning of his passing, had this to say: “Lee Bennett Hopkins was an ambassador for poetry, bringing its joys to children across the world. He was a master teacher, a role model of love in our community, and a mentor and inspiration to so many. He made an immeasurable contribution to SCBWI, to the children’s book community, and to spreading love and tolerance in our society.”