Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Winner Book: Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds

The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award is named for the internationally renowned educator, poet, anthologist and passionate advocate of poetry for young people. Established in 1993, the award is presented annually to an American poet or anthologist for the most outstanding new book of poetry for children published in the previous calendar year.

Selected by a panel of authors, librarians, teachers and scholars, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award was the first award of its kind in the United States. The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the Penn State University Libraries, and Lee Bennett Hopkins share joint administration of the annual award. 

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This year’s winner is “Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds” written by Jorge Argueta, published by Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press. Jorge Argueta will accept the award and the $1,000 prize, courtesy of Lee Bennett Hopkins, at Penn State this fall.

Judges' Comments

In few words and brief poems, Argueta is able to capture the safety of home and the mundane with the pain of not knowing what awaits on the other side. A refugees' journey is a difficult topic to present in poetry, but Argueta's words are able to balance the struggles, happiness, uncertainty, sadness, fears, and the mixture of feelings that the child narrator experiences. The pictures perfectly complement the rich poetry.

In Somos como las nubes /We are Like the Clouds, the reader is pulled into the story visually from the beautiful illustrations and rhythmically from the poetic language. The bilingual aspect adds authenticity to the story and connectivity for more children. 

Somos como las nubes /We are Like the Clouds helps bring the idea of immigration to a more personal and relatable reality by beautifully expressing hardships, uncertainty and hope.

The poems are imaginative, musical, and beautiful, conveying a message of empathy and hope that is powerful and significant.  The bilingual format makes these poems accessible to more children than any single language book could reach.

Argueta takes young readers on the harrowing and heartwarming journey of so many children.  In musical language we experience the emotional range of migration—from gangs to the ultimate destination of American. The imagery of clouds threads through a story told with rhyme, repetition, and wonderful pacing.

Library of Dreams

From the author, Jorge Argueta,

Please consider making a donation in any amount.

For a donation of a $100 or more, you will receive a signed copy of my most recent book, We Are Like the Clouds. This book recently received the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award from the University of Pennsylvania.

The Library of Dreams, a library that opened in November of 2016 in San Jacinto El Salvador to promote reading and writing for children living under means and in vulnerable areas.

Our children in El Salvador love to read, paint and sing. At The Library of Dreams we do this and much more. Soon we will start planting vegetables, and finishing the murals we have already started. This is a beautiful project that needs strengthening and growth in order to continue to provide our children with these services, which they need so much and help them grow healthy and positive minds. To continue with these services I need your support. I have begun the process of converting The Library of Dreams into a non-profit organization. This is a process that will take one or two years. As we wait for non-profit status, The Library of Dreams wishes to continue supporting our children - for this reason I have created this campaign.

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