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Poetry Friday: My People

Happy Poetry Friday and National Poetry Month! I am happy to report that poetry is alive and well in the Children's Room. Yesterday, I had a preschooler ask for My People by Langston Hughes. When I brought the book with its powerful black-and-white photography by Charles R. Smith, Jr. to the little girl and put it in her hands, she chanted my people, my people, my people as she hugged it to her chest.

It fills my heart to know that another generation is discovering the inspiring and beautiful words of Langston Hughes. His legacy lives on, rightfully so. His words will comfort them during hard times and dare them to dream. I can only imagine his pride and the pride of our own Augusta Baker who shared his words with children long ago.

So, for our first Poetry Friday, please savor this masterful poem:

My People

The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

--Langston Hughes

Check out more of Langston Hughes wonderful work and share it with your family.

Hungry for more poetry? Visit or call closest Richland Library location and the staff will recommend other great poets to keep Poetry Friday going all week long.


Lullaby by Langston Hughes
Heather M. Says: P Hughes
Amazon Says: “My little dark baby, / My little earth-thing, / My little love-one, / What shall I sing / For your lullaby?" With a few simple words as smooth as a song, the poet Langston more...
Amazon Says: “My little dark baby, / My little earth-thing, / My little love-one, / What shall I sing / For your lullaby?" With a few simple words as smooth as a song, the poet Langston Hughes celebrates the love between an African American mother and her baby. The award-winning illustrator Sean Qualls’s painted and collaged artwork captures universally powerful maternal moments with tenderness and whimsy. In the end, readers will find a rare photo of baby Hughes and his mother, a biographical note, further reading, and the complete lullaby. Like little love-ones, this beautiful book is a treasure. less...
Amazon

I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes
Heather M. Says: P Hughes
Amazon Says: Winner of the Coretta Scott King illustrator award, I, Too, Am America blends the poetic wisdom of Langston Hughes with visionary illustrations from Bryan Collier in this i more...
Amazon Says: Winner of the Coretta Scott King illustrator award, I, Too, Am America blends the poetic wisdom of Langston Hughes with visionary illustrations from Bryan Collier in this inspirational picture book that carries the promise of equality. I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Langston Hughes was a courageous voice of his time, and his authentic call for equality still rings true today. Beautiful paintings from Barack Obama illustrator Bryan Collier accompany and reinvent the celebrated lines of the poem "I, Too," creating a breathtaking reminder to all Americans that we are united despite our differences. This picture book of Langston Hughes’s celebrated poem, "I, Too, Am America," is also a Common Core Text Exemplar for Poetry. less...
Amazon

My People by Langston Hughes
Heather M. Says: P Hughes
Amazon Says: Langston Hughes's spare yet eloquent tribue to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. interprets this beloved poem in more...
Amazon Says: Langston Hughes's spare yet eloquent tribue to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today. less...
Amazon

The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes
Heather M. Says: C 811.52 Hughes
Amazon Says: Langston Hughes has long been acknowledged as the voice, and his poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, the song, of the Harlem Renaissance.  Although he was only seventeen whe more...
Amazon Says: Langston Hughes has long been acknowledged as the voice, and his poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, the song, of the Harlem Renaissance.  Although he was only seventeen when he composed it, Hughes already had the insight to capture in words the strength and courage of black people in America. Artist E.B. Lewis acts as interpreter and visionary, using watercolor to pay tribute to Hughes’s timeless poem, a poem that every child deserves to know. less...
Amazon

Heather M. Says: C 811.52 Hughes
Amazon Says: Sterling proudly announces an exciting and vibrant addition to Poetry for Young People: The first African-American themed book in the series, featuring the poems of the extrao more...
Amazon Says: Sterling proudly announces an exciting and vibrant addition to Poetry for Young People: The first African-American themed book in the series, featuring the poems of the extraordinary Langston Hughes. Edited by the two leading experts on Hughes’s work, and illustrated by the brilliant Benny Andrews, this very special volume is one to treasure forever.   A much-requested book that was years in the making…and well worth the wait. One of the central figures in the Harlem Renaissance—the flowering of black culture that took place in the 1920s and 30s—Langston Hughes captured the soul of his people, and gave voice to their concerns about race and social justice. His magnificent and powerful words still resonate today: that’s why it’s so important for young people to have access to his poems. Now they do, in a splendid volume edited and illustrated by a top-caliber team who are simply the best in their fields.   The introduction, biography, and annotations come from Arnold Rampersad, a Professor and Dean at Stanford University, who has written The Life of Langston Hughes, and David Roessel, co-editor with Professor Rampersad of The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes and editor of the Langston Hughes collection in Knopf’s Everyman series. Benny Andrews—a painter, printmaker, and arts advocate whose work is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian, among others—has created gallery-quality illustrations that pulse with energy and add rich dimension to the poems.   Among the anthologized poems are Hughes’s best-known and most loved works: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”; “Aunt Sue’s Stories”; “Danse Africaine”; “Mother to Son”; “My People”; “Words Like Freedom”; “Harlem”; and “I, Too”—his sharp, pointed response to Walt Whitman’s earlier “I Hear America Singing.”   Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes is a publishing event for all to celebrate. A Selection of the Scholastic Book Club.   less...
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Langston's Train Ride by Robert Burleigh
Heather M. Says: C 818.52 Burleigh
Amazon Says: Robert Burleigh's inspiring text captures the magical moment when Langston Hughes came to believe in himself as a writer, as he first wrote "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." Clac more...
Amazon Says: Robert Burleigh's inspiring text captures the magical moment when Langston Hughes came to believe in himself as a writer, as he first wrote "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." Clackety clack clack clack... Can you hear the rhythm of the train? Langston Hughes did. Traveling to see his father in 1920, as he listened to the sounds of the train -- metal on metal, wheels on rails -- Hughes's imagination took flight. On that ride, he was inspired to write his first famous poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." This picture book tells the story of Langston Hughes's rise to accomplishing his dream of being a writer. With bold, striking illustrations by Leonard Jenkins, here is a book for any young person with a dream. less...
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The Block by Langston Hughes
Heather M. Says: C 811.54 Hughes
Amazon Says: Thirteen poems about the New York City neighborhood of Harlem are teamed with the collage painting, The Block, a celebration of the bustle of Harlem, from the corner grocery more...
Amazon Says: Thirteen poems about the New York City neighborhood of Harlem are teamed with the collage painting, The Block, a celebration of the bustle of Harlem, from the corner grocery store to the local Baptist church. less...
Amazon

Heather M. Says: C 811.52 Hughes
Amazon Says: "HOLD FAST TO DREAMS / For if dreams die / Life is a broken-winged bird / That cannot fly." The Dream Keeper, the great African-American writer Langston Hughes's only collect more...
Amazon Says: "HOLD FAST TO DREAMS / For if dreams die / Life is a broken-winged bird / That cannot fly." The Dream Keeper, the great African-American writer Langston Hughes's only collection of poems for children, includes some of his best loved works. It is being reissued in a handsome hardcover edition in celebration of its 75th anniversary. Filled with elegant scratchboard illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner Brian Pinkey, and featuring an introduction by noted children's poet Lee Bennett Hopkins, this gift edition is sure to be cherished by young readers and longtime poetry lovers alike. less...
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