J. Patrick Lewis

Born: 1942

Ohio connection: Resident


J. Patrick Lewis was born in Gary, Indiana. The former Children’s Poet Laureate (2011-2013) received a B.A. degree from Saint Joseph’s College in 1964, an M.A. from Indiana University in 1965, and a PhD in economics from the Ohio State University in 1974. Lewis taught in the department of Business, Accounting and Economics at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, until 1998 when he became a full-time writer.  That same year, Lewis published his first book, The Tsar and the Amazing Cow.  Since then he has published more than eighty books.

Lewis has published more than fifty books of poetry for children, which find their shape in both free and formal verse and engage a wide range of subjects from history to mathematics, Russian folklore to the animal kingdom. His books for children include Spot the Plot: A Riddle Book of Book Riddles (2009); The Last Resort (2002); The Shoe Tree of Chagrin (2001), which won the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators’ Golden Kite Award; A Hippopotamusn’t: And Other Animal Poems (1990). His children’s poetry has been widely anthologized, and his contributions to children’s literature have been recognized with the Ohioana Book Award for Poetry for Young Children, 2015; 2011 Poetry Award from the National Council of Teachers of English and the Ohioana Awards’ 2004 Alice Louise Wood Memorial Prize.

In 2010 Lewis published Gulls Hold Up the Sky: Poems 1983-2010, his first book of poetry for adults.  His work has appeared in Gettysburg ReviewNew England ReviewNew LettersSouthern Humanities ReviewNew RenaissanceKansas QuarterlyFine MadnessLight Quarterly, and many others. J. Patrick Lewis currently resides in Westerville, Ohio.

The 1989 Ohioana Library Association Children’s Book of the Year, an Ohio Arts Council individual artist grant in adult poetry, 1991; 1996 Kentucky Bluegrass Award; 2001 SCBWI Golden Kite Award for picture book text; 2002 Gold Book Award from the National Association of Parent Publishers; 2003 ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award; Alice Louise Wood Memorial Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Literature (2004); Europe’s Bologna Ragazzi Award (Honor Book, 2006 and 2008); 2006, 2008, and 2010 Independent Publishers (IPPY) Book Award; 2006 and 2007 Book of the Year (Gold) by Foreword Magazine; 2010-2011 Keystone to Reading Book Gold Medal; U. S. Children’s Poet Laureate (2011-2013); 2012 Geminschaftswerk der Evangelischen Publizistik (GEP) Honor Book; a 2012 Parents Choice Award; and the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award (Nonfiction); the 2014 Cybils Award for Poetry;  the Ohioana Book Award for Poetry for Young Children (2015).