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My People (Coretta Scott King Award - Illustrator Winner Title(s)) Hardcover – January 6, 2009


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My People (Coretta Scott King Award - Illustrator Winner Title(s)) + Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Coretta Scott King Award - Illustrator Winner Title(s)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416935401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416935407
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At just thirty-three words total, [this] poem is a study in simplicity, writes Smith (Rimshots; If); in its visual simplicity, his picture-book presentation is a tour de force. Introducing the poem two or three words at a time, Smith pairs each phrase with a portrait of one or more African-Americans; printed in sepia, the faces of his subjects materialize on black pages. The night, reads the opening spread, across from an image of a mans face, his eyes shut; is beautiful, continues the next spread, showing the same face, now with eyes open and a wide smile. The text, sized big to balance the portraits, shows up in hues that range from white to tan to brown-black, reflecting Smiths reading that the words celebrate black people of differing shades and ages. An inventive design adds a short, shadowed row or column of small portraits to the edge of many spreads; these quietly reinforce the concept of my people. Whether of babies, children or adults, Smiths faces emerge into the light, displaying the best that humanity has to offer—intelligence, wisdom, curiosity, love and joy. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. K Up—Smith's knack for pairing poetry and photography is well documented in books such as Hoop Queens (Candlewick, 2003) and Rudyard Kipling's If (S & S, 2006). Here, his artful images engage in a lyrical and lively dance with Langston Hughes's brief ode to black beauty. Dramatic sepia portraits of African Americans—ranging from a cherubic, chubby-cheeked toddler to a graying elder whose face is etched with lines-are bathed in shadows, which melt into black backgrounds. The 33 words are printed in an elegant font in varying sizes as emphasis dictates. In order to maximize the effect of the page turn and allow time for meaning to be absorbed, the short phrases and their respective visual narratives often spill over more than a spread. The conclusion offers a montage of faces created with varying exposures, a decision that provides a light-filled aura and the irregularities that suggest historical prints. A note from Smith describes his approach to the 1923 poem. This celebration of the particular and universal will draw a wide audience: storytime participants; students of poetry, photography, and cultural studies; seniors; families. A timely and timeless offering.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
73%
4 star
20%
3 star
7%
2 star
0%
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See all 41 customer reviews
I was surprised to see just how much the book said with hardly any words.
THOMAS COUSIN
The book was very touching and also the pictures in the book were just excellent and very detailed.
Rachel
Charles R. Smith Jr. does a wonderful job translating Langston Hughes poem into pictures.
JessieJessJess

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are only thirty-two short words in Langston Hughes poem, My People, a poem he used to celebrate his black heritage. Charles R. Smith, Jr. stunning visual translation "capture(s) the glory, the beauty and the soul of being a black American today."

My People

The night is beautiful,

So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,

So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.

Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

I loved the visual effect of the sepia photographs set against a black background. The thought that Smith put into this book is obvious, the result breathtaking. This book is a page turner for young and old alike and one to be revisited time and time again!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Catherine W. Hughes on January 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Sepia photographs paired with the eloquent words of Langston Hughes capture the essence of being a black American today. Images of the night, faces, stars, eyes, sun and souls all embody the lives of "my people." This is a timely book for the election year, which celebrates the souls of black America. It will appeal to children ages 3-6.
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By brittanybriscoe on October 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Simple Beauty
My People
Coretta Scott King Award- 2010
By: Langston Hughes
Illustrated by: Charles R Smith Jr.
My people is incredible. Langston Hughes poem of My People is beautiful yet so simple. I love how he uses the stars, sun, and night to compare to his people. Each page is filled with two to three words of his poem. You will be rushing through the book to finish the poem. And then you will re-read the book to explore Charles R. Smith Jr.'s breathtaking pictures that bring Langston Hughes poem to alive. The book is filled with pictures of African Americans one or two on each page. The images are simply amazing. You won't be able to take your eyes off the page. The images are in sepia on a black background. It's a guarantee you will be amazed with the images. This would be a wonderful book to read to all children to appreciate life's simple beauties. I loved this one!!!!
Hughes, Langston. (2009) My People. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Atheneum
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By Stephanie R on October 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My People was a beautiful story told by mostly pictures and occasional poetic phrases. The story may not have been told by many words, but the message couldn't have been any more clear had the pictures and analogies used in the book been removed. Langston Hughes brilliantly delivered such a strong message about the strength of believing in yourself and your people. Being a book for children, and incorporating poetry that's well hidden behind the essence of the photographs taken by Charles Smith Jr, I found it to be very catchy. A well developed book that truly captures what it means to be an African American. Although it isn't said, I am sure the book was meant to portray a very meaningful message to children. That message is a deep one, believe in yourself, be proud of who you are and be proud of who you have in your life, 'Your People".
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By Lori on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
After looking up through Google, I found out that author Langston Hughes had wrote this poem in late 1920; to celebrate African American people. This children's picture book has words, yet the pictures truly bring the words to life. The illustrator used sepia-toned photos, with a black background; which really brought out each individuals face. This poem was short and simple, yet still expressed a strong impact on what he was trying to get across; which I think is to remind everyone on how special each of us are. In this book you will find pictures of African Americans, faces, eyes, and happy beautiful smiles. Hughes wrote this poetic gesture of his people not only to celebrate, but also to express the beauty behind African Americans. I really liked this children's book, it would be great to have inside the house or classroom.
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By KK on January 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The first thought that comes to my mind is simple, when I read the book "My People". I enjoyed taking time out of my day to read this book. I thought "My People" was a very unique, multi-cutural book. This book really captures and celebrates the African-American spirit. It was neat how the pictures captured and protrayed that African- Americans are beautful. I liked this book because it had a lot meaning behind it. I didn't like how the words flowed in the book. It is hard for children to comprehend what the message protrays without reading it several times. I would definately tell all my friends about this book. I loved that the main focus of this book was to captured every smile, frown, happiness, saddness, worry line, or pure bliss in this cultures faces. The message was simple, that every soul is beautiful.
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By Lindsey on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My People
By Langston Hughes
Illustrated By Charles R. Smith Jr.
Coretta Scott King Award 2010

My People is a short but beautiful poem written by an African American author celebrating his heritage and the beauty of his cultures. The photographs used to accompany the inspiring words of this book are set against a black background; the combination is breathtaking and will be sure to give you goose bumps! This story shows readers the beauty and pride in all the different faces in the African American culture. A positively perfect book to teach children about the beauty of another culture! Although the words are few, this book proves it doesn't take much to make a masterpiece and combined with the photographs this book will touch your soul and bring a smile to your face! LOVED IT! (and you will too!)
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My People (Coretta Scott King Award - Illustrator Winner Title(s))
This item: My People (Coretta Scott King Award - Illustrator Winner Title(s))
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