Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes

by David Roessel (Editor)

Hardcover, 2013



Local notes

811 Hug



Sterling Children's Books (2013), Edition: Reprint, 48 pages


A brief profile of African American poet Langston Hughes accompanies some of his better known poems for children.

Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

48 p.; 8.8 inches


1454903287 / 9781454903284



User reviews

LibraryThing member apopkey
What I especially like about this book, is the fact that along with each poem in this collection, there is also a small summary of the poem. It gives the reader a sense of what to keep in mind when reading the poems. This is important for any person reading poetry, who doesn't typically read it - it takes a lot of practice to get into the mindset of thinking in poetic terms. The book does a nice job of articulating themes and ideas, as well as providing definitions for terms that may not be familiar. The poem "When Sue Wears Red" calls to mind the little girl that had "the pinks" in Yesterday I Had the Blues - the seems to be some kind of parallel there...… (more)
LibraryThing member netaylor
This poetry collection includes an introduction about Langston Hughes and 26 of Hughes's poems. The selection of poetry is one that speaks to social justice, youth, freedom, and the African American experience. The illustrations work to bring the poems alive for the viewer.
LibraryThing member jenflock
This charming collection of 26 poems is vibrantly illustrated with depictions of African Americans in varied settings. Homesick Blues shows a saxophone player conjuring up a locomotive at a railroad station. Harlem features a line of people waiting at a bus stop. A poignant rendering of a child watching from outside the fence surrounding a carousel accompanies Merry-Go-Round. For I, Too, a jubilant man leaps, arms and legs stretched out, and for Dream Variations, a man is poised on tiptoe, arms outstretched with the word DREAMS dripping from his fingertips into a heap on the floor.… (more)
LibraryThing member Ashleyreece
This book is a collection of African American poems. He articulates the struggles he had himself and speaks specifically of being homesick. He also speaks about growing up in Harlem. Several poems in this collection were very upbeat and catchy. He also defines several different dialects at the bottom of the pages.

My Views:
I like this collection because it comes from real experiences, and real people.

I would use this in a unit on poetry
i would also use this in a lesson about different cultures, and how some cultures do things differently.
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LibraryThing member ALelliott
This collection of Langston Hughes's poetry opens with quite a long introduction about his life and work, although it becomes clear that this intro is more for parents and teachers than the students. Each poem has a short introduction for the reader, as well, telling about the poem and a little about where Hughes was in his career when he wrote it. There are also definitions for the harder poems. Modern illustrations by Benny Andrews enhance each poem and tell what it is about.

The rhythm of Hughes's poetry makes these great for reading aloud to students. It is quite a comprehensive collection, containing both well known poems like "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," and less well known poems. All in all, a great addition to any library, and a wonderful introduction to this classic American poet.

For ages 8 and up.
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LibraryThing member hartn
The Langston Hughes title in the poetry for young people has great pictures and the text is well placed in the page to catch the eye. There are well written and thoughtful descriptions by each poem which are meant to give more biographical information, or offer an inviting context from which to see the poet's work. Many of the poems chosen are Hughes's bop poems, and the book does not shy away from his more social and political poems, but I am still unsure whether I like this series or not. I have read Hughes's poetry at various times in my life, and the feeling I get often is a brimming joy in the expression of more immediate emotions. I think Hughes's poetry is ideal for young people because the musicality and the rhythms, and most of all the language, is stimulating in the many transitions and yet comes quite naturally to most english speakers today. I am not suggesting that Hughes be taken out of the historical context of the first half of the twentieth century, though he did live much longer, but many of the images in this book depict a somewhat static world of long ago, while many of the poems are as easily understood in the context of a young person's life today.… (more)
LibraryThing member MeghanOsborne
This book is a compiling of some of the famous African-American author Langston Hughes' free-verse poetry that is appropriate for children. Many of the poems speak of social justice, a far off concept during the time in which this poetry was written. Included in this book is the poem "Mother to Son." The poem speaks of Langston Hughes' mother speaking to him about hoping for brighter days, and work hard in the meantime. In another, Hughes speaks of dreaming: how he adores it and dreams of dancing an singing and being free in every sense.

My Personal Reaction:
This book would be an execllent tool not only to accompany a social studies lesson on civil rights movement, but also a language arts lesson on free-verse poetry and its value. The book has many beautiful and captivating illustrations that are unique from the average picture book. I also felt that the book embraced many important concepts and ideas of civil rights activists, and would definitely use it in my own classroom in a civil rights unit, or even in daily classroom reading times.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Have students write their own free-verse poetry. In this poem, describe a time when they felt alone or outcasted. If students cannot think of one, have them write about how they think Langston Hughes felt when he was writing this.
2. Creat groups of 3-4 students, and assign each group a poem. Have them then act out the poem, while one student is a reader, and perform in front of the class.
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LibraryThing member LainaBourgeois
Hughes's magnificent, powerful words still resonate today, and the anthologized poems in this volume include his best-loved works: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”; “My People”; “Words Like Freedom”; “Harlem”; and “I, Too".
LibraryThing member Wakana
This book is full of rhythmic and meaningful poetry about the history and lives of African-Americans. The words are full of strength, courage, hurt, and encouragement. This book would be a great book to educate students about the history and lives of African-Americans. There are many poems that could be used to get a glimpse of what their lives really were and are like.… (more)
LibraryThing member LenaReece
This book of poetry written about African American people. The weary blues really stood out in this book. It speaks of a man playing a piano on Lenox Avenue. The man plays and sings the blues throughout the night. Mr. Hughes really gives you an understanding of the southern African American culture some of the dialect from the past.
Personal Reaction:
The book I thought would be about everyday things or objects. The book is really about the heritage and culture of African American people. The writer uses dialect of the culture and uses various cities and the roads that reassure you its that town, and that makes you imagine at the point in time what is going on.
Extension Ideas:
1. Black history
2. Poetry writing
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LibraryThing member aeisen9
A Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book in 2007, this collection of poetry introduces young people to African American poet Langston Hughes' work. This book could easily be incorporated into so many different classes or book displays. In addition to English or history curricula, art teachers could include the work in a discussion on folk art, for example. Gorgeous mixed media artwork throughout the book illustrates scenes from the poems. I highly recommend this book to librarians, educators, and poetry lovers who wish to diversify their collections and share Langston Hughes' poetry with the next generation of readers, poets, and artists.… (more)
LibraryThing member SydneySays
This book is a collection of poems written by Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was a major voice calling of equal treatment for African Americans in the armed forces after the US entered World War II. Some of these poems are written about his dreams, personal feelings, experiences, and African American culture. The poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers was written while Hughes was looking out the window of a train car at the Mississippi River. He started thinking about what the river had meant to African Americans in the past then he began to think of other rivers in the past. The poem Genius Child was written about Hughes' personal despair at the time he wrote it.

Personal Summary:
I love reading poetry so I enjoyed reading most of the poems in this book. I like that they not only let the reader look into the life of Langston Hughes and his feelings and experiences, but that they also give information about African American culture.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Provide students with a copy of Hughes' poem "Dreams." Each stanza of the poem is one sentence, and each sentence contains a metaphor for a dream. Tell students that a metaphor compares two objects or ideas that are not generally associated with one another. Have them identify the metaphor in each sentence, and then ask them to think about what Hughes was trying to convey about dreams by using these metaphors.
2. Have students compare Hughes' poetic expressions of his dreams for black people to Martin Luther King's famous expression of his dreams ("I Have a Dream").
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LibraryThing member Enessa
This book includes rhythmic and African poems. It could introduced to any ages! The illustrator compliments greatly to the poems. Includes “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”; “My People”; “Words Like Freedom”; “Harlem”; and “I, Too”
LibraryThing member kmetca1
I liked this book for a few reasons. The first reason that I liked this story was because it was able to comprise a lot of African American poems in a really fluid way. Each poem is a new story, and also a new character, so through this book readers are able to be exposed to a lot of different lives and experiences. For example, one poem is about Aunt Sue, but the next poem is about a dancer. Having so many different poems in one book allows readers to gain perspectives of many different lives. Another reason that I liked the book was because a lot of the poems had very descriptive language. For example, in the poem about the dancer they are described as, “Low…slow, slow…low-Stirs your blood.” Readers are able to visualize what that may look like based on the descriptions given. By having such descriptive language used readers are able to be emerged in the poem, and more engaged. Another reason that I liked the book was because of the illustrations that were used. With each poem there was also an illustrations that accompanied it. This was able to greatly enhance the poems, and bring a different light to them. Having illustrations of who the poem is about accompany the poem allows reader to better picture who the poem is about. A nice thing about these illustrations are that even though they are of people, not all of them are clear pictures, so readers can still use their imagination to visualize who the poem is about. Another thing that I like about the book is that each poem is exciting. This starts with the poems titles. With titles like “Hey!” and “The Dream Keeper” readers are immediately engaged in the poem and want to keep reading to find out more about this dream keeper. A last thing I liked about the story was how the book was able to be a poems book, but also informative. The beginning of the story is about Langston Hughes and his life. The short biography describes how his poetry was able to affect the African American literature, and how it is still important today. This information allows readers to see the importance of the poems, as well as learn more information about Langston Hughes. Overall, I do not know if the book has one message, because it is made out of individual poems comprised into the story. But each poem is about the African American culture, so the big picture could be a representation of the culture. This would include some of the traditions that could be found in the culture, as well as some of the people who represent the culture.… (more)
LibraryThing member Khegge15
This is a book of poems by Langston Hughes that tells of his experience as an African-American struggling for equal rights. This book is a good example of poetry because it shares feelings with the reader and it is told in verse with lyric poetry.
LibraryThing member ElizabethJackson7
Summary: This book is has poems about African American backgrounds. My two that I liked were Homesick Blues and Afro-American Fragment. I liked how they translated the dialect on each page.

Personal Reaction: I thought this book was good. It describes how brave and strong they used to be and still are today. Also to never stop dreaming seemed to be a message in the book. Good book to have in your collection.

Classroom Extention Ideas:
1) Make classroom instrumetns and have the class sing some of the poems from the book.

2) Have them draw a picture about one of the poems.

3) Have the class write their own poems.

4) Have the class act out some of the poems from the book.
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(39 ratings; 4.2)
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