In 1994, she received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry For Children --a lifetime achievement award. Her book, DANCE WITH ME, was honored with the 1995 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. Barbara's revised 1975 book for adults, A CELEBRATION OF BEES: HELPING CHILDREN WRITE POETRY gives parents and teachers strategies for encouraging children to use their image-making powers.
Barbara began her career teaching art to grades K-12. She also taught art and creative writing methods to college of education students. As a third grade classroom teacher, she used trade books across the curriculum to teach her 39 "low-achiever" third graders to read. Her first book was a collection of her poetry, SWING AROUND THE SUN, published in 1965. There was a hiatus while she raised six children. Her husband, Tory Esbensen, is a former educator who designs computerized learning materials.
Barbara Juster Esbensen Memorial