Perfect Picture Book Friday Shares “School People” by Poet and Anthologist, Lee Bennett Hopkins.

I’m sorry I didn’t review a picture book last Friday, but after a visit to the podiatrist that day, I learned I have a stress fracture. Apparently, it’s the sort of thing that can happen without dropping a safe or dining room table on your foot. I had no idea walking (a lot) could bring this about.

Being on crutches again after many years, brought me back to my elementary school days when I needed these infernal sticks after knee surgery. Not including the sore arm muscles, inconvenience, and frustration of getting from class to class and up and down the school bus steps SAFELY, I thought back to my other school memories during that time–the pleasant ones. I thought about the teachers who encouraged me and allowed me extra time to get to class, the bus driver who lend a helping hand on and off of the bus, and the librarian who suggested a joke book to keep me smiling.

For today’s picture book Friday review, I’d like to share a collection (anthology) of school themed poetry written by a collection of gifted poets. And the man who contributed to and selected the poems for this book is none other than Lee Bennett Hopkins. Mr. Hopkins is an award-winning poet whose countless accomplishments and list of people whose lives he has touched, including my own, would fill volumes. I can’t say enough about this talented man whom I had the honor of meeting through Skype last fall at a Highlights poetry workshop.

And now it’s time to wander back in time to our elementary school days through the poems in the picture book, School People.

Title – School People

Poetry selected by – Lee Bennett Hopkins

Illustrated by – Ellen Shi

Published by – WordSong – 2018

Topics – Poetry, School people, the way we see others.

Opening – School’s Story – A poem by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, one of my instructors at the Highlights poetry workshop I mentioned above.

(I’m only including part of this ingeniously thought out poem with hopes you will check out this book to enjoy the rest…)

I am waiting–come on in!

Welcome to this house of brick.

Enter whispers, whistles, signs,

footsteps, fossils, notebook lines.

Rooms hold calendars, chairs, and nooks,

murals, maps, library books.

Feet scamper, shuffle, dash, drum.

Listen to my hallway hum!

Amazon’s Review –  View it HERE. Welcome to school, a building of brick “full of soul and heart,” eager for students and staff to fill its halls with sounds. This anthology of fifteen poems celebrates the grown-up people that children encounter throughout the course of their school day: the school bus driver with her morning smile, the teacher who inspires imagination, the rarely seen, yet caring custodian, and the nurse who heals hurts, big and small. There’s even a poem about the school building. Award-winning poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins has compiled this marvelous collection featuring a variety of brand-new works by well-known poets and beautifully imaginative artwork by illustrator Ellen Shi.

 Why do I like this book? The poems I love best evoke emotions, tickle my memories, stop me, get me thinking, let me hear, see, taste, smell, and touch something, startle me with surprisingly perfect comparisons, end with a twist, bring a smile, cause a tear, and stay with me long after I have turned the page. Through Lee Bennett Hopkin’s collection, I experienced all of this as memories came crawling, running, and tumbling out of the cobwebby corners of my mind. I hope you will run (not walk) to the nearest library or bookshop to immerse yourself in the poems that fill this book.
Click on the links below to learn more about the poets whose poems are included in the book, School People.
I hope you’ll share an elementary school memory in the comments below about a special teacher, a time you shared with your best friend, an unforgettable school project, something about your homeroom pet, or other fond memory from those days.
Until next Friday!

19 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday Shares “School People” by Poet and Anthologist, Lee Bennett Hopkins.

  1. I’ve had the privilege of reconnecting with the wonderful woman who was my teacher in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade (yes, all 3 years!). We just had tea together this afternoon, and talked about how it’s so nice for us to be in each other’s lives again, after many years of being together only in spirit. I’d highly recommend looking up a former teacher who made an impact on you; both of you will be glad you did!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We moved so much (military) when I was in elementary. But, one memory I do have involves “a Story in a Can.” We wrote stories on looong sheets of stiff paper and then rolled them up and put them in cans. My mom still has mine, and showed it to e a few years back. This collection sounds amazing. I really like a number of these poets. I have it on reserve at my library.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of a collection of school poems!

    Sorry to hear about your stress fracture! That’s NO fun at all. Reading about that and the school poems reminded me about the year in Grade 6 when I busted and dislocated my finger in PE class. I spent the night in the hospital and now have a very gimpy looking finger 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s wonderful how the poems in this collection wake up old memories. I discovered that each poem gave me back another piece of my childhood. I, too, have an injured finger school memory, but in my case, it was a jammed knuckle I received while learning to play basketball.


  4. Dear Matt, your contribution to Lee Bennett Hopkins’ book, Bus Driver, reminded me of the kind man who drove my school bus back in my pigtail days. Mr. Brown smiled and greeted each child by name, played kid-friendly music on the morning drive, and always had a good wish to send us off with to school. You might think it funny, but the words in your poem that sparked my memory told of the smile waiting behind the folding double door. I can still hear the squeak when that door opened a second after the bus squealed to a stop at my driveway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Leslie. I think the demeanor of the school bus driver in many ways sets the tone for a student’s day…as the first “school person” a child sees, it’s important that the person be friendly, supportive, and welcoming. I was especially pleased to see that the illustrator chose a woman as the driver, because my 6-yr-old’s driver is a woman I’ve known for years, so it felt like we were creating a tribute for her!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Renee, When armfuls of school memories came flooding back after reading School People, I wanted to share this book with hopes everyone who read it would receive the same gift. After reading your poetic contribution, Theater Teacher, I would wager a guess that your theater teacher from your school days inspired this vivid poem. Must say I love the phrase – toddle like turtles.


  5. THANK YOU so much for this post. You got the very idea perfectly as to what I wanted to accomplish in SCHOOL PEOPLE…to bring love and empathy into that building of ‘footsteps, fossils, notebook lines’ as Rebecca Kai Dotlich writes about. Each and every member of a school community should be hailed.
    I do hope you heal well. Many hugs…Lee Bennett Hopkins

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Mr. Hopkins, when a collection of poetry begs to be read many times, retrieves memories, speaks with absolute clarity, gives new meaning to something I see every day, and startles with perfect, yet unexpected, metaphors and similes, I am holding a book I want to share.

    Many thanks for your kind words and wishes, Leslie


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