Poetry Friday with a review of My People

When you are a child you often think that more is better. I have learned over the years that sometimes less is more. Today’s poetry book is a perfect example of this. This is not a weighty tome. It is not packed with artwork and text. Instead it is spare, and simple, and incredibly beautiful. In the book gorgeous photos are paired with lines of verse written by Langston Hughes, and the words celebrate people of all kinds.

My people
Langston Hughes
Photographer: Charles R. Smith Jr.
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 1416935401
In 1923, Langston Hughes, the African-American poet, wrote a poem that later came to be called “My People.” The poem is only thirty-three words long, and in it Langston Hughes invites his readers to see “his people” through fresh eyes. He invites them to see how beautiful they are, comparing them to the night, the stars, and the sun. Not only are their faces and eyes beautiful, but their souls are too.
   Using stunning full page sepia photographs, Charles R. Smith Jr. captures the essence of Langston Hughes’ poem. His photos show people of all ages smiling, laughing, and being themselves. The photos are indeed beautiful, and they give Langston Hughes’ poetry a new dimension that readers of all ages with admire.