Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes by David Roessel

Summary: Gr. 6-9. Hughes' stirring poetry continues to have enormous appeal for young people. In this illustrated collection of 26 poems, Andrews' beautiful collage-and-watercolor illustrations extend the rhythm, exuberance, and longing of the words--not with literal images, but with tall, angular figures that express a strong sense of African American music, dreams, and daily life--while leaving lots of space for the words to "sing America." The picture-book format makes Hughes' work accessible to some grade-school children, especially for reading aloud and sharing, but the main audience will be older readers, who can appreciate the insightful, detailed introduction and biography, as well as the brief notes accompanying each poem, contributed by Hughes scholars Roessel and Rampersol. Their comments, together with the quotes from the poet himself, will encourage readers to return to the book to see how Hughes made poetry of his personal life, black oral and musical traditions, urban experience, and the speech of ordinary people. Whether the focus is the Harlem Renaissance, the political struggle, Hughes' African heritage, or the weary blues, this book will find great use in many libraries. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Classroom Implications:

, November 5, 2006
Reviewer:D. Blankenship (The Ozarks) -
I cannot think of a better way to introduce the poetry of Langston Hughes than this small volume. The selection is excellent and of interest you the young reader. The commentary is quite relevant as are the pictures which accompany it. I find that often now, our young people go all the way through the early grades in school and many of them have never heard of Hughes,much less read his poetry. This was the sort of stuff my generation and the generation before it grew up on and cut our teeth on. I do not feel I am any worse for the wear. I am fearful that we are bringing up an entire generation (rightfully or wrong, although I feel it is the later) of young folks who will have no appreciation to this great art form and will miss a lot. This book helps. This entire series helps, as a matter of fact and I certainly recommend you add this one and the others to your library. Actually, it is rather fun reading these with the young folk and then talking about them. Not only do you get to enjoy the work your self and perhaps bring back some great memories, but you have the opportunity to interact with your child or student. It is actually rather surprising what some of the kids come up with. I read these to my grandchildren and to the kids in my classes at school. For the most part, when I really get to discussing the work with them, they enjoy it. Recommend this one highly.


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