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I, Too, Am America

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  589 ratings  ·  173 reviews
The poetic wisdom of Langston Hughes merges with visionary illustrations from Bryan Collier in this inspirational picture book that carries the promise of equality.I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.

Langston Hughes was a courageous voice of his time, and his authentic
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,038)
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نبوءة شاعر
أنا الأخ الأكثر سوادا عندما أتى الرفاق
أرسلوني لآكل في المطبخ لكنى ضحكت وأكلت جيدا وكبرت قويا
في الغد سأكون على المائدة عندما يأتي الرفاق
ولن يجرأ حينها أي منهم أن يقول
”كل في المطبخ”
أيضا سيرونني جميلا وسيشعرون بالخجل
أنا أيضا أمريكا
صدقت تنبؤات لانجستون هيوز وجاء أوباما
كان أوباما يسترجع كلمات هيوز ويقتبس قصيدته "حلم مؤجل Dream Deferred": في الذكرى الخامسة والأربعين لمقولة مارتن لوثركينج الشهيرة: "لدي حلم I have a dream" التي أطلقها خلال المسيرة المنظمة للأمريكيين السود في 28 أغسطس من عام 1
This is one of the most powerful author's notes I've ever seen. I read the text of the book out loud once, without pauses. Then we read the book. Then we read the author's note (illustrator's note, I guess). Then we were blown away.
Jul 16, 2013 Myhiah added it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Audience: Primary

Genre: Historical Fiction

Discussion Question: Text-to-Text
- I choose the book Freedom Walkers, by Russell Freedman to be my text-to-text book. The reason I felt that this book would go great with I, Too, Am America, is because they both talk about the struggles of the African American community. In I, Too, Am America it says "They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes." This is talking about how African Americans were treated differently in those times. Freedom Walke
Miranda Jones
I, Too, Am America is a beautifully illustrated book. The pictures really grasp the deep, meaning behind Langston Hughes's poem. The lack of words in this book add more meaning because it forces the readers to really concentrate on the illustrations. The illustrations have the reader put together their own story. I would not read this book to younger readers because I do not think they could grasp the meaning the author intended, which wouldn't do the book justice. If I was to read to my student ...more
بعيدًا عن الجودة: هيوز قريب من القلب.

Stefanie Skrdla
Text to Text
This book told a story in an amazingly similar and amazingly different way than the book I read right after it, "This is the Rope." Both focused on the journey African Americans have taken in America and the struggles they have faced. "I, Too, Am American" shows how the porters shared their knowledge with others so everyone would have the an equal opportunity to learn. They were distributing their knowledge in hopes for a better future for the next generation. This story explained th
Samantha Pendleton
When I first read I, Too, Am American, I did not really understand what the story was about. From the first time I read through the book I understood it was about racism in African American culture. I knew this because of the illustrations and also the text that supported the illustrations on each page. In the book when it said ‘They send me to the kitchen. When company comes…’ I understood from that line that this book was talking about racism. Then after reading the authors note once I complet ...more
This Caldecott Winner is a beautiful representation of the profound words of Langston Hughes! With as little as three words on each double page and some no words at all, it is not short on message. The poem depicts the hope of Langston that one day he will be equal to the white men that dominate his world. His accuracy that he, too, even as a black man would one day represent America was insightful and, at the time provocative. Since the writing of this poem preceded the Civil Rights movement, i ...more
Genre: Poetry

Audience: Primary

Quote that promotes mental imagery: "I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes." The poem later states, "Tomorrow, I'll be at the table when company comes." I like this quote because it shows the courage of the Pullman porters and how even though they suffered injustices because of the color of their skin, they worked hard and became stronger and in the end could no longer be ignored. This book shows that de
Anna Stover
I really wanted to love this beautiful book, but after using it in a storytime, I have been thinking a lot about the verbal and pictorial message it conveys to its child readers. In short, it is convoluted in a way that books for what I take to be its intended age group (6-8 years) should not be, especially given its subject matter. The kids were bored, the kids were confused, the kids were sad. The kids were not enlightened. Partly this is due to the numerous narrative and visual themes at play ...more
Stephanie Huntsman
Bryan Collier took a poem written by Langston Hughes and turned it into a children's book by adding beautiful illustrations to tell the story. Although the book has few words, it tells a very deep story about the plight of African Americans in this country not too long ago. Some pages don't even have words at all, just pictures. In the illustrator's note it says, "Although Hughes never specified any certain person in his poem, I've created a visual story line that shows how the Pullman porters l ...more
Lisa E
Hughes, L., & Collier, B. (2012). I Too Am America. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Kirkus Review 2012.

Choice Category.

“I, too, sing America”. What a powerful book filled with emotions that focuses on the unity of American people. The cover was very touching with the young boy (main character of the book) looking through blinds, hoping for equal rights.

A train speeding and a porter is depicted in the book, the latter works hard with much dignity on the train where
Araceli Aispuro
The story is presented as a poem about the evolution of equality. It is shown in the perspective of African American Pullman porters who worked for wealthy white passengers on luxurious trains. The poem is based on a historic time during the 1960's of a man who stands up to what he believes is right. This poem emphasizes the struggle of Pullman porters in facing injustice due to the color of their skin. This book shows a Pullman Porters day to day routines of gathering newspapers, magazines, mus ...more
Briana Nelson
I, Too, Am American, is a short story for young kids. This book isn't very text heavy but such a wonderful message! I wasn't too sure about this book at first, but I ended up really enjoying it. The book is about a young African American boy during the time of the issues with civil rights. The young boy was a servant at a train station who is treated with little to no respect from whites. The book is filled with powerful and inspiring quotes that I could possibly use in my classroom. Somehow thi ...more
I enjoyed the book, and the ideas in it were great. I just don't like it when the author/illustrator has to explain what they were trying to do at the end of the book. Readers draw their own conclusions, and when the author tells the reader what they should be seeing, and what it means, then it like a bad mime describing their act. It loses some of its appeal. I love the pictures in this book, but I could do without the explanation at the end.
Sarah Foote
Looking the cover I assumed this book would be about how children are apart of this country and play a role. After reading the front cover, learning the book is an illustration of a poem, I later found it is about segregation. The message is, no matter your race, color, background, if you are from America, you are a part of this country. The author discusses how blacks were not allowed to eat with important people. How one day they would be equal. It is a powerful book because it allows children ...more
Darcy Tedford
This book depicts the poem by Langston Hughes about porters on trains who were treated unjustly because of the color of their skin. In his poem he describes the hope they have that one day they will be given the treatment that they deserve as American citizens, because they too are part of America. The pictures show how far African Americans have come since the days of the porter in the book, to now with a young African American boy being able to say that he too is part of America, and he is see ...more
Sami Wilson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edward Creter
Langston Hughes was one of the finest black American Poets we had, and this wonderful book for kids is a tribute to not only this good man, but to blacks and whites who have languished thru prejudice and are still living the dream and loving the life. This is based on one of Mr. Hughes' most popular poems and enhanced with painted illustrations that capture moments in America that we'd rather forget, and people we can remember even if thru prayer. A railroad worker who happens to be born black i ...more
Heather Langendorff
This is a book written in poem written about issues that the blacks had a long time ago. The poem refers to blacks and whites, and it is so simple to read yet portrays a large message. The pictures also deliver powerful messages and I would for sure have this book in my classroom. The poem travels from back then to now, but always keeps the blacks strong which is such a great aspect to this book. It really has true life because the students can gain a great understanding of the topic of slavery ...more
This is a poem turned into a picture book about an African-American man in America. He hopes for the day that he is treated as an equal. He knows that he is just as much a part of this country, and is just waiting for others to see it, too. It is a beautiful poem that shows the reader how a black man feels in America.
The theme of this story is treating people equally because we are all a part of the same country.
This would be a good book to read to teach a class about inequality and racism in Am
Christine Mccurley
Collier, B. & Hughes. L. (2012). I too am America. New York: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.

Coretta Scott King Award

Choice Book

This book discusses African Americans. They used to not be able to do what everyone else could. This book tries to show that we are all the same, we are all Americans. The illustrations in this book are powerful. They send a great message about the way the country needed to turn. When covering civil rights or celebrating Black History Month, I would sug
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Beautiful...loved the illustrator's note at the end.
Jennifer Varela
I, too, am America is a poem that is illustrated beautifully. The illustrations speak for themselves because there isn’t much text in the book but I believe the book would be completely fine with any text at all. The paintings in the book give the story a lot of meaning. I will use this book in my classroom when talking about the Civil Rights movement, racism, MLK, etc. I really enjoyed this book completely because it’s very captivating. The poem and illustrations are absolutely perfect and will ...more
Jun 13, 2014 Tiana added it
Shelves: multi-culteral
I had a text-to-world connection when reading, “I, Too, Am America” by Brian Collier. It’s a powerful metaphor for looking at African-American history--and the issue of race in America--from the inside out. We have come along way form racism in America but it is still an issue in many areas today. The American flag that appears very subtly over the face of an African American man, then later a mother and her son, and ends the book with the young boy peeking through it. That image along describes ...more
Toni Tawes
"I, Too, Am America", poetry book. It is written for ages 4-8 years old. Author Langston Hughes is the 2013 winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. The book is beautifully illustrated. It talks about the struggles of the Pullman porter's because of the color of their skin. In the end it shows a African American mother and son riding on the subway just like everyone else. I believe it is a poem of the struggles of African Americans and how much things have changes in our society. I don't like poe ...more
I love the simplicity of this poem. It my opinion, it is not the words he writes that have all of the meaning, it is the words he does not write. It is his resilient nature and his ability to feel patriotic toward a nation of people trying to dehumanize him that is remarkable. He has this glimmer of hope that tomorrow will be different--and that is beautiful.

The illustrations are also beautiful. I think I may like the poem better as a stand-alone, but they make it nicer to share with children.
Jessica Moden
Reading Level: Kindergarten
This book was to tell the message that everyone is equal, regardless of skin color. It was a very short read, with only a few lines throughout the whole book. This book is stating a poem, using the illustrations to show the struggles discrimination brought and the freedom that everyone deserves. The illustrations are beautifully done and show a lot of detail with the use of symbolism. The American flag is used as the shadow behind characters or incorporated into the i
Jim Erekson
I haven't read Uptown or 2012 by Collier yet, but by comparison to his biographical work I like this one better. As a general rule, I don't like poems to be illustrated, because the illustrator usually interprets the poem for me instead of encouraging me to interpret for myself. But Collier did his work well. Here's how:

1. His choice of just one segment of the history of African Americans in the US feels narrower than the poem, which for me meant there was so much more the poem could do--so his
I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier takes the classic Hughes poem about equality and bases the illustrations on the Pullman Porters and the role they played in the Civil Rights movement. Collier received the 2013 Coretta Scott King illustrator Award for this book.

Collier's illustrations are rendered in mixed media. The Stars and Stripes are shown and often overlaid on his collages, which focus on the Pullman Porters and their dignity, courage and actions in the Ci
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Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "Harlem was in vogue."
More about Langston Hughes...
The Collected Poems Selected Poems The Ways of White Folks Not Without Laughter The Best of Simple

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“I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen
when company comes, but I laugh and I eat well, and I grow
Tomorrow I'll sit in the table when company comes, nobody
will dare say to me "eat in the kitchen" then.
Besides they'll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed.”
More quotes…