By Patricia Tauzer,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Photos bring sparkling tone to simple poem of celebration.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A budding poet, or photographer, can see just how perfectly simple, sepia-toned portraits can be used to express both the meaning of a poem, and also its tone.
This poem celebrates African American boys, girls, men, and women of all ages, and is a simple tribute to the beauty of a people.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the photographs in this book illustrate a short poem written by Langston Hughes in the late 1920s.
Where to Read
Based on 1 parent review
The is exactly what he says. "My People"
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What's the Story?
In the late 1920s, Langston Hughes wrote this simple short poem to celebrate African American people. The photographs in this book translate his words into pictures and add to the celebration. Most are head shots showing smiles, eyes, and hopeful, happy faces. At the end, a message from the photographer explains just how he made the choices he did when choosing photographs to illustrate the poet's words.
Is It Any Good?
The poem is simple and short, and the photographs are expressive. Taken together, they create a wonderful reminder of just how special and unique people are. While these photos are all of African American people, since that is whom Langston Hughes celebrates in his poem, the message applies to us all.
Sepia-toned photographs against a black background create a warm and happy tone for this poem of celebration. The artist hoped to show that "like any group of people, black people come in all shapes, sizes, shades, and ages, and that each of us is unique." The poem has been broken into short phrases that dance boldly across the black background in over-sized white or sepia letters.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the art. Why do you think the illustrator used sepia-toned photographs against a black background rather than printing the pages in color? How does that affect the way you see the faces?
The illustrator adds strips of photos inside the covers and along the edges of some of the pages. Why do you think he did that? How does it help you understand who he means when he says, "my people"?
- Author: Langston Hughes
- Illustrator: Charles R. Smith Jr.
- Genre: Poetry
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Atheneum
- Publication date: January 6, 2009
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 40
- Award: Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Where to Read
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