Poetry Friday: “(Back to) School People!”

It’s hard to believe, but summer is coming to an end and kids are heading back to school. I know some folks whose kids have already started, but the first day for my two is next Tuesday…so I thought a little excerpt from Lee Bennett Hopkins’ School People (Wordsong, 2018) would be apropos!

Edited by my  Flashlight Night editor Rebecca Davis, the book includes 15 poems about all the grown-ups that children meet at school, like the Teachers, the Crossing Guard, the Librarian, the Nurse – and of course, the person who transports the kids from home to school and back again, the Bus Driver!

– © 2018 Wordsong, all rights reserved, reprinted with permission (Click to enlarge)


It’s a beautiful book, so I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy. In fact, the local Rotary Club recently purchased 15 copies to distribute to each of the kindergartens in our district, as part of their literacy program!

For more poetry, head on over to Reflections on the Teche, where Margaret is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup with a zeno!

(What’s a zeno? Here are a few!)

And by the way, if you’re a teacher, I hope your list includes a wide diversity of books featuring authors & illustrators from all walks of life. Because your students come from all walks of life! Whether it’s silly or serious, poetic or prosaic…whether the characters are white, black, male, female, straight or otherwise…no matter who it was written by…keep in mind that students not only see themselves in the stories, they often look for themselves in the creators. Please help them find what they are searching for!

Have a great school year!


Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

  (coming Sept. 25, 2018!)

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)


Thank you to everyone for your support!


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28 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “(Back to) School People!”

  1. It makes me so happy to hear that your Rotary Club bought and distributed copies of this book to your district’s kindergarten classes! Your bus poem is great and I love its focus on the relationship between driver and rider.


    1. Thanks, Molly…I was quite surprised to learn about the Rotary’s plan, because even though it’s my district, I had never spoken to anyone and they had no idea I was part of the book. They did it strictly because they loved the book!


  2. Matt, what a marvelous idea to have Lee’s book in the hands of little kinders. Thank you for sharing the poem and sending me back to Michelle’s zeno party. I forgot I wrote a poem for it and it was fun reading your poems again.


    1. Thank you, Irene! I don’t know if I’ve ever told you, but “Music Teacher” is one of the poems I always share, because it’s so much fun. I especially love the looks I get from store employees and customers when I’m reading the poem at a signing and I get to, “Sing, my angels, SING!!” and I’m belting out the words!


  3. lindabaie

    I like that poem. My young next door neighbor just began riding the bus. He’s in 2nd grade this year, & was so excited to feel grown up enough to do it. I never got to ride until we moved to the city & my driver was my social studies teacher! That was fun & what teachers did to earn extra money way back when! I also like what you wrote at the end. There are many kinds of kids & books for all of them. I hope teachers do find them! Thanks, Matt!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Matt, I love your sweet bus driver poem! Every elementary school should have a copy of SCHOOL PEOPLE. I thought about you (and your poem) when I almost used an eye-grabbing school bus photo for the top of my post today, but ultimately I decided to go with something a little more personal. Also, thanks so much for linking to the zeno wrap-up celebration at the end of your post. Appreciate it. 🙂


  5. margaretsmn

    I wish all bus drivers were as friendly as yours. I forgot all about linking back to those zenos from 2014. Many from my students! Thanks for the reminder. I loved seeing their poems again and remembering the kid behind the poem.


  6. maryleehahn

    I have the utmost respect for the bus drivers. What a job! The good ones really do become another trusted adult in a child’s extended family.


  7. What a great book for back to school! I love your Bus Driver poem. The bus driver is one of the first things my kids comment on when they get off the bus…whether they were nice, or mean, happy, or yelling; they really do make a major impression in a kids day. I also love this line, “keep in mind that students not only see themselves in the stories, they often look for themselves in the creators.” This is strong food for thought!


    1. Thank you so much, Jean! I appreciate you taking the time to read my post & comment. Bus drivers are the first contact students have with their school each day, so they do make a great impact. And I’m glad you liked what I said about students finding themselves…I hope you will pass along that sentiment!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kay Mcgriff

    What a great poem–and collection–to start off the school year. How exciting that your Rotary Club is able to share it with so many classes and students.


  9. Perfect and timely post & poem, Matt – and I wish a happy new school year to your family! (YAY for the Rotary Club. I gave a copy to a kindergarten teacher friend here, and I plan to donate a copy to each school go see on my annual October trek to ATL for a local Literacy Week. Such a welcoming collection!)


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