Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes, edited by David Roessel & Arnold Rampersad.

Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes. Edited By David Roessel & Arnold Rampersad.  Illustrated by Benny Andrews.  Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2006.  48 pages. $14.95

Content: The book is comprised of a selection of Langston Hughes’ poetry, richly illustrated, with notations about each poem by the editors.  One of America’s most beloved poets, Hughes wrote about his experiences as an African American man throughout his lifetime, 1902-1967, as well as about African Americans’ various experiences in the US.  This book’s poems cover many topics including the history of slavery, African American musical traditions, political uprisings, African American culture, and the fight for equal rights as well as more personal reflections.  The tempo brings the reader in and the honest language and stories reflect a variety of emotions.

Review: Hughes poems are beautiful and beautifully rendered.  I was hard to pin down an age group for this book because the content of many of the poems is sophisticated, but younger people could enjoy listening to the rhythm of the poems, and lovely language without necessarily understanding the full meanings.  And the book looks like a picture book, which makes it a great choice for read alouds, though the content is best suited to middle schoolers and up.  Andrews’ full-color illustrations are vibrant and exuberant, adding feeling to the book as a whole.  The editors’ additional explanations, notes and quotes from Hughes himself add another level of depth and meaning to the poignant and moving poetry included in this fine volume.

Genre(s): Poetry

Reading/Interest Level: 11+ years

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

ISBN: 978-1402718458

Similar Books: Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou, Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost, Wachale!: Poetry and Prose about Growing Up Latino, Ego-Tripping and Other Poems for Young People

Selected Awards: 2007 Coretta Scott King Award

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