From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9-This biography joins a number of others about Hughes. Unfortunately, it adds no new insights or facts about his life. Written in a rather plodding and pedestrian style, it fails to capture the poet's extraordinary life and does a poor job of placing him within the context of his time. As a result, readers come away from this work with little sense of the man as the exceptionally influential figure he was, especially during the Harlem Renaissance and in the 1970s. There is also little sense of how remarkable his many associates were, the artists and political activists who helped shape the cultural scene of the '20s and '30s. There are also some misstatements of fact in the book. The author states that the Scottsboro boys, nine young black men accused of raping two white women in Alabama in the 1930s, were all eventually paroled or escaped. This is not true. She also says that Martin Luther King, Jr., organized the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He did not. That distinction belongs to Ella Baker. Poor-quality, black-and-white photos are scattered throughout the text. Milton Meltzer's Langston Hughes (Millbrook, 1997) is more compelling, richly illustrated, and touches on Hughes's homosexuality, a subject Rhynes does not discuss.Carol Jones Collins, Columbia High School, Maplewood, NJ
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Gr. 5-9. Rhynes' I, Too, Sing America
, in the World Writers series, is a traditional biography in form. Chapters follow Hughes' life from birth to death, covering major relationships and events, as well as Hughes' intellectual and artistic ideas and efforts. The text is informative but dry, often switching abruptly between events. Best are the numerous quotes and the links between Hughes' work and personal life and descriptions that show the difficulty of a writer's life. A chronology, extensive sources notes, and a bibliography will make this useful for reports, and browsers will like the black-and-white photos. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved