My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States


In My America, Lee Bennett Hopkins weaves together fifty poems — grouped by geographic region — to create a remarkable portrait of the United States. Here is America in all its stunning variety, from the dramatic seacoast of the Northeast and the rippling cornfields of the Plains States to the shimmering deserts of the Southwest and the majestic redwood forests of the Pacific Coast. But here, too, are the ties that bind this nation together — the hopes and dreams of those who ...

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In My America, Lee Bennett Hopkins weaves together fifty poems — grouped by geographic region — to create a remarkable portrait of the United States. Here is America in all its stunning variety, from the dramatic seacoast of the Northeast and the rippling cornfields of the Plains States to the shimmering deserts of the Southwest and the majestic redwood forests of the Pacific Coast. But here, too, are the ties that bind this nation together — the hopes and dreams of those who live in our cities and towns and on farms.
The voices of beloved poets like Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Nikki Giovanni, and Lilian Moore blend with new voices to sing not just of landmarks like the Mississippi River, the Grand Canyon, and the Everglades, but of daily life across the land. Complementing these personal, moving visions of America are maps of the regions and fascinating facts for each state.
Stephen Alcorn's brilliant, textured artwork makes this book a feast for the eyes as well as for the imagination. Impressive for its breadth, depth, and beauty, My America is a volume readers will savor as they read it time and time again. It is fitting homage to our wideranging, ever-changing land.

A collection of poems evocative of seven geographical regions of the United States, including the Northeast, Southeast, Great Lakes, Plains, Mountain, Southwest, and Pacific Coast States.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In this unique review of American geography, we tour region by region from the Northeast through the South, Great Lakes, Plains, Mountains, Southwest and Pacific states. For each area there is a clear, full-page map and a useful state-by-state summary of facts such as the capital, bird, flower, etc. But it is in the selection of 50 poems that we begin to feel the spirit as well as see the scenery that distinguishes each. The poems, by a wide variety of authors from Carl Sandburg to Hopkins himself, are brief, not more than a page, and vary in form and complexity. Among them it is easy to find an appealing selection to fit any mood, or reinforce the study of distinctive parts of our country. Alcorn's personal vision most often depicts objects in the poems, as in Myra Cohn Livingston's evocation "For Purple Mountains' Majesty" or James Hayford's hero picking up a pebble in "Frost's Farm Road." At other times, as in Jon Swan's "Nebraska," his paintings are metaphoric, even decorative. He uses color effectively to help emphasize the emotional content of the poems, while imbuing the pictures with a quiet energy that compels closer reading. Author, title, and first line indices included. 2000, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 8 to 14, $19.95. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3-8-Seven regions plus Washington, DC, are explored through 51 poems by 40 different poets. The selections explore each area's geography, climate, or urban or rural features. Classic poets such as Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, and Nikki Giovanni are represented along with David McCord, X. J. Kennedy, Myra Cohn Livingston, and Hopkins himself. Twenty poems were commissioned especially for the book. Alcorn's paintings reflect the emotional range of the poems through a variety of styles and images. The artist expresses the diversity of American geography using shape, colors, and texture to evoke a variety of landscapes and including people from many cultural backgrounds. Each section is preceded by a painted map of the region and brief lists of facts, including a "Great Fact" for each state. Previous collections of poetry about America have taken chronological, thematic, or biographical approaches. This regional arrangement invites connections to literature set in the places presented. When used along with Nora Panzer's Celebrate America in Poetry and Art (Hyperion, 1999) and Hopkins's Hand in Hand: An American History through Poetry (S & S, 1994) and Lives: Poems about Famous Americans (HarperCollins, 1999), this volume will enrich literature and social-studies units.-Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Hopkins (Lives: Poems About Famous Americans, 1999, etc.) is one of the foremost anthologists of children's poetry, with thematic collections on an amazing variety of topics, including school-related subjects such as math, science, American history, even school supplies and books themselves. This collection of 50 poems reflects the diversity of the US in several ways: in geography, weather, and history, in people, and in many different types of monuments, buildings, and homes, from the landmarks of Washington, D.C., to the cornfields of the Midwest. Hopkins has done a remarkable job of covering so much territory with only 50 poems, 20 of them commissioned for this collection. Many poems are by well-respected authors such as Carl Sandburg, Gary Snyder, and Myra Cohn Livingston, and writers of color are represented, including Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, and Shonto Begay. Alcorn's stylized paintings complement each poem with a palette of textured jewel tones. The poems are organized in eight divisions based on geography, with a map of the area and a quick summary of basic facts for each state preceding the poems in every section. Indexes of authors, titles, and first lines are also included. Most students study the 50 states in the upper elementary grades (with many teachers integrating poetry across the curriculum), so this volume will be a logical and welcome choice for larger school and public library collections. (Poetry. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689812477
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 779,391
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

LEE BENNETT HOPKINS is a distinguished poet, writer, and anthologist whose poetry collections include the highly acclaimed Hand in Hand: An American History Through Poetry, illustrated by Peter Fiore, and My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States, and America at War, both illustrated by Stephen Alcorn. Mr. Hopkins’s numerous awards include the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for “lasting contributions to children’s literature” and both the Christopher Award and a Golden Kite Honor for his verse novel Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life. He lives in Cape Coral, Florida.

Born in the United States, Stephen Alcorn spent his formative, teenage years in Florence, Italy, where he attended the Istituto Statale d'Arte, an experience that infused his work with an appreciation for history and a passion for experimentation in a multitude of mediums. Since then he has embraced an equally broad spectrum of themes and subjects, including the interpretation of literary classics, interpretation of poetry, nineteenth-century American history, and notably, the African-American experience — resulting in a stream of award-winning projects for adult, young adult, and young readers alike. America at War is Alcorn's fifth collaboration with Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Mr. Alcorn lives with his wife, Sabina, and four cats in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in the heart of Cambridge, New York, surrounded by the pastoral farmland of Washington County. An overview of his work may be viewed at

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Table of Contents



The Northeast States



Watercolor Maine C. Drew Lamm

Islands in Boston Harbor David McCord

New England Lighthouse Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Gulls and Buoys Anne LeMieux

City Blockades Lee Bennett Hopkins

Frost's Farm Road James Hayford

Vermont Conversation Patricia Hubbell

The Capital



Washington, D.C. Rebecca Kai Dotlich

The Southeast States



Kentucky Lee Bennett Hopkins

Knoxville, Tennessee Nikki Giovanni

Bourbon and Canal Brod Bagert and Charles Smith

The Mississippi Tom Robert Shields

Alabama Earth (At Booker Washington's Grave) Langston Hughes

Some Rivers Frank Asch

The Great Lakes States



from Crossing Ohio When Poppies Bloom in Ashtabula Carl Sandburg

This Is Indiana Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Tonight in Chicago Anonymous

Dear Cousin Kathryn Allen Ilitch

Wisconsin in Feb-b-rr-uary Lee Bennett Hopkins

Front Porch Leslie Nelson Jennings

Farmer Prince Redcloud

Pine Tree Tops Gary Snyder

The Plains States



Midwest Town Ruth De Long Peterson

Kansas Boy Ruth Lechlitner

Laughing Corn Carl Sandburg

Nebraska Jon Swan

Grandpa's Trees Barbara M. Hales

Sioux Lullaby Prince Redcloud

Winter Dark Lilian Moore

The Mountain States



"For Purple Mountains' Majesty" Myra Cohn Livingston

Boulder, Colorado X.J. Kennedy

Driving Montana Kris Aro McLeod

Idaho Kaye Starbird

Snow Country Dave Etter

Skier Robert Francis

Zion National Park — Utah Fran Haraway

Until We Built a Cabin Aileen Fisher

The Southwest States



Lifeline Shonto Begay

Cactus April Halprin Wayland

Desert Lillian M. Fisher

The Hawk Douglas Florian

Santa Fe, New Mexico April Halprin Wayland

March in New Mexico Elizabeth Coatsworth

Grand Canyon Colors Tom Robert Shields

The Pacific Coast States



California Missions Ann Whitford Paul

California Ghost Town Fran Haraway

Behind the Redwood Curtain Natasha Wing

Seattle Morning Lee Bennett Hopkins

Alaska Joaquin Miller

Mauna Loa Tom Robert Shields


Index of Authors

Index of Titles

Index of First Lines

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