Synopses & Reviews
Langston Hughes's spare yet eloquent tribue to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today.
"'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 man's 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 Smith's 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, Smith's faces emerge into the light, displaying the best that humanity has to offer intelligence, wisdom, curiosity, love and joy. Ages 4 8." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Langston Hughes (1902andndash;1967) was born in Joplin, Missouri, and lived much of his life in Harlem, New York. As one Americaandrsquo;s most cherished chroniclers of the black experience, known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance, Hughesandrsquo;s work was constantly groundbreaking throughout his forty-six-year career. His poetry about the ocean and the symbolism that surrounds it stems from his travels through Africa and Europe working as a seaman.andlt;bandgt;Charles R. Smith, Jr.andlt;/bandgt; is an acclaimed poet and the Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator of andlt;iandgt;My Peopleandlt;/iandgt;, a picture book based on the poem by Langston Hughes. He is also the illustrator of andlt;iandgt;Ifandlt;/iandgt;, the author and photographer of andlt;iandgt;I Am the Worldandlt;/iandgt;, and he won theandnbsp;Coretta Scott King Author Honor for his book andlt;iandgt;Twelve Rounds To Gloryandlt;/iandgt;. He grew up in California and attended the Brooks Institute of Photography. A magazine and book cover photographer in addition to a picture book creator, Charles lives with his wife and kids in Poughkeepsie, New York. Visit him at CharlesRSmithJr.com.