Parents' Guide to

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Words and watercolors sing in a voice as deep as the river.

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This is a beautiful illustration of Hughes' classic poem, and one that will help all readers, but especially kids, understand the words that Langston Hughes wrote. The poem is moving, both real and spiritual, and the watercolors are breathtaking. The illustrator's note on the final page explains his own connection to the poem and the paintings, and adds a further element of meaning to the book. And, to show the depth of his connection, he has depicted himself as the person who is praying while being embraced by the river.

Sensitive, moving watercolors bring amazing depth and meaning to the lines of the poem that are printed against the various river scenes. Spanning the stretch of time from before the pyramids to the modern day, some paintings are dark, others filled with light, but all with the delicate kind of strength that Langston Hughes expressed in his words.

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