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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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My People (Coretta Scott King Award - Illustrator Winner Title(s)) Hardcover – January 6, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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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.)
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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.
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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: #336,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
I've never read this poem this slowly before.

But I like it. I like that the pace pushes you to look at the faces and the skin and the wrinkles and the teeth and the features.

Nice book -- well done design, and the book feels good in your hands.
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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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Format: Hardcover
Translating words into pictures is a very difficult task, translating the words of Langston Hughes into pictures is almost impossible, unless of course your name is Charles R. Smith Jr. In My People Charles took the words of Langston Hughes's timeless poem and put together an award-winning book of photographs that highlighted the words of the poem. His choice to use a sepia filter on the pictures make and the layout of the text ensure My People will be a beloved book for centuries to come. I would absolutely recommend this book to all people as a way to teach and remind us that all color is beautiful!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Words can't express the pride that I felt as, an African-American, when I saw Langston Hughes' poetry came to life in this children's book. The photography of Charles R. Smith, Jr. seems to embody the spirit of this simple poem, My People. I know everyone reads this book will be enthralled with both the poetry and the photography.
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Format: Hardcover
My People by Langston Hughes contain only a few words, but gets its point across perfectly. He uses only a few words to let the reader focus on the picture. The author used sepia photographs set against a black background; a great visual effect which sets the books significance and darkness. Both the words and photographs capture the core of being a black American nowadays. Hughes was successfully able to write a beautiful poem and able to translate it into pictures.
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Format: Hardcover
This book called My People is a beautifully written poem that captures the meaning of being a proud African American. Charles R. Smith captures stunning sepia photographs of the young and old throughout almost every page. The words throughout the pages are a golden color and enlarged to gather a powerful meaning that engages the reader. Not only are the words kept short and simple but they're inspiring by clarifying the meaning of this book. Langston Hughes did a profound job and I would recommend this book to anyone.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book about African - American heritage. The book has some great pictures that goes with the one-to-two words of the poem per page. I liked how you could feel the emotion between the people in the book. The book expresses the way the author, Langstan Hogdes, feels about the people in his life and the joy they bring to his heart. It is a simple read that children can comprehend and relate to in their own life. This is a great read for adults and children.
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