Amazing Faces is a new poetry anthology celebrating the faces all around us—girls and boys, women and men revealing the universal feelings we all share. Here, Lee Bennett Hopkins, the poet who gathered these poems, and Chris Soentpiet, the painter who illustrated them, share their thoughts on poetry, diversity, and the challenges and rewards of creating Amazing Faces.
Lee, can you tell us a little about your inspiration for Amazing Faces, and how you selected poems for this anthology?
Lee Bennett Hopkins: I want to show children of all ages, all races, that all faces show similar emotions—happiness, joy, sadness, surprise, empathy.
To do such a collection I looked at hundreds of published poems. In Amazing Faces I only reprinted two selections. Nine works were written especially for this collection; five were written for me, published in articles or books I have edited. I feel it is important to bring to readers—children and adults—new works rather than poems that have been over-anthologized—to bring freshness to a book. The one exception, “My People” by Langston Hughes, was added because Hughes’ work is timeless, universal.
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Amazing, your face.
Whatever we feel-whether happy or sad, excited or wishful, proud or lonely-our faces mirror our emotions. In this contemporary yet timeless collection, sixteen evocative poems are brought to life in diverse and detailed faces that reveal the universal feelings we all share. Girls and boys, women and men invite us to experience their world, understand their lives, and find the connections that bring us together.
Poet Lee Bennett Hopkins gathers these insightful works from an impressive array of authors, including Joseph Bruchac, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Nikki Grimes, Pat Mora, Carole Boston Weatherford, Janet S. Wong, Jane Yolen, and more. Glowing illustrations created by Chris Soentpiet infuse the verses with atmosphere and exquisite settings. Readers of all ages will want to feast their eyes on these captivating poems and pictures again and again.