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My People

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  744 Ratings  ·  191 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.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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(showing 1-30)
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Feb 27, 2009 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, poetry
Langston Hughes' powerful and simple poem is brilliantly accompanied by Charles R. Smith's transcendent photographs. Each photograph illustrates the beauty, depth and soul of being an African-American today. From close ups of lined hands to the joy of a baby's giggle, the photographs span ages. The photographs are clear, purposefully done and gripping.

Highly recommended, this book belongs in every public library. It is a joy to read the powerful poem and have it illustrated with such skill. Appr
Linda Lipko
Mar 17, 2017 Linda Lipko rated it it was amazing
When taken into context that these thoughts and poems were pre-civil rights, this provides a historical benchmark of how special this book really is. First and foremost Langston Hughes defines "his people" as beautiful, as worthy of belonging, and this is an affirmation of looking inside, projecting outward to radiate the beauty that is an integral part of self acceptance.

Highly recommended!
Jan 25, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
At first glance, with very minimal text on each page, the story seems exceedingly simple. The pictures are sepia-toned black and white. There are no lush vivid colors to help convey the story. Yet it is this simplicity that allows the reader to focus on the true meaning of Langston Hughes’s poem. The division of the text helps us to savor each phrase, drawing it out. The warm sepia tones of the photographs enhance the variety chocolate tones of the African American faces featured in the story. T ...more
Jun 06, 2015 Yesenia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, poetry
My people by Langston Hughes is a 2010 Caldecott Honor book. The illustrated made amazing job using photographs of African American faces to illustrate the poem. The people in the photographs have big smiles expressing happiness,love and joy. I really enjoy the illustrations of the photographs that are browns and black, which show pride to the African American race. Showing the important of the poem and its meaning my people.
This picture book is a great book to share it with students. The poems
Feb 03, 2009 Becky rated it it was amazing
Hughes, Langston. 2009. My People. Photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. Simon & Schuster.

This picture book is incredible. I love the photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. I do. They're so beautiful, so expressive. They really evoke the mood and tone found in Langston Hughes' classic poem "My People." I really don't see how they could complement each other any better than they already do. You can read the poem in its entirety here. I love what Smith says in his note, "at just thirty-three words
Charles Martin
Feb 04, 2011 Charles Martin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The poetry of Langston Hughes is vibrantly brought to life by Charles R. Smith Jr.'s incredible photography. Each line of the brief but powerful poem is accompanied by pictures of beautifully lit African-American faces. This book is a great example of how words can be brought to life or enhanced by pictures. I would begin by having students create pictures for a class book using "My People." Through images of our class, we would develop a similar sense of community. Then, following this modeling ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Mary rated it liked it
I thought this book was pretty good. The pictures in it were absolutely amazing and can see how the illustrator won an award for this book. Although it does have too many words I think the pictures can speak volumes about what the author wanted to say. I think the author wanted to celebrate his culture and make others proud of where they come from and others that come from the same background. The audience for this book would be ages 3 and up. Even if a child were unable to read the book he/she ...more
Mar 07, 2009 Anna rated it it was amazing
Oh I love this book! Charles R. Smith Jr. has used sepia photographs to illustrate Langston Hughes classic poem "My People". The book is so lovely and welcoming. The pre-schoolers loved it at story time. The brown faces and smiles are beautiful. When I was showing the children the end pages a little Asian girl sitting in front goes pointed up and said, "That girl looks like me." :) I was pleased to see that all the children at story time could relate to the book. (Note that the book is very shor ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Jill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
This book is a 2010 Coretta Scott King Illustrator award winner. The audience this book is geared towards would include both boys and girls in kindergarten through second grade. The book is appealing due to its poem by Langston Hughes about the beauty of African Americans. It is also appealling due to the amazing sepia photographs by Charles R. Smith, Jr., which depict various African Americans.
Mar 08, 2009 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tony and Alex Boyé
Recommended to Bonnie by: Sprague Library
Beautiful, beautiful book of photographs set to complement Langston Hughes' famous poem, "My People."

The night is beautiful, so the faces of my people.
The stars are beautiful, so the eyes of my people.
Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

So powerful and simple of a book. I loved it!
Jun 27, 2012 Kristine rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
This would be aimed at a younger audience, grades Pre-K through 1. This would relate to both girls and boys that are black Americans and show the similarities we have no matter what color. Coretta Scott King Award 2010
Tess Robar
Mar 14, 2017 Tess Robar rated it really liked it
This poem shows how Hughes highlights the beauty of his people. He uses nature metaphors to praise the qualities of African Americans such as eyes, faces and souls.

I gave this book 4 stars because the images in the book. The photos are beautifully detailed pictures that really enhance the meaning of the poem.
Maggie Mae
Oct 20, 2016 Maggie Mae rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This book was encouraging and used minimum words to emphasize the photographs on each page. It was short and simple but it was showing the pride in African American culture and race through the large photographs of the people smiling. This could be read in a lower age class but for students to understand the true meaning and acknowledge a different culture it may take a student thats a little older.
Karli Abels
Mar 10, 2013 Karli Abels rated it it was amazing
Audience: This book is good for any type of reader, both genders, and for students in young elementary. In addition to being fitted for early elementary grades it would be a great book for families.
Appeal: The first appeal of the book is how few of words it has, in addition to very view words it has elaborate pictures. The pictures being so detailed allow for each reader to interpret the images and meaning.
Application: I would use this book when discussing the similarities between cultures bec
Audience: This book is primarily for grade K-3. This book might be "better" understood from the older students as the pictures relate to the words in a deeper way.

Appeal: This book is appealing because it is an easier read (not meaning) because of the short words and large font. The pictures are also inviting because of the large pictures of people's faces, making the readers want to know what is going on.

Application: I would use this in my classroom to talk about Langston Hughe's poem and the
Genesis Romo
My People is the Corretta Scott King Award winning multicultural poetry book written by Langston Hughes representing the beautiful African-American Community. My People is a very short poem easy enough for primary grades to read, but this poem can be reasonably understood by middle school children. Every page of the book is covered in a photograph. The beginning of the poem begins with the picture of a dark skin gentleman and the words read, “The night”, and throughout the poem we see pictures o ...more
Patty O.
Oct 26, 2012 Patty O. rated it it was amazing
There are times that looking through a set of photographs could tell a whole story, this is the case with the Coretta Scott King award winning book My People written by Langston Hughes and photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. In just thirty three words Hughes recites his poem My People and his beautiful words are accompanied by with great photographs of African Americans, which range from kids to adults. Throughout the poem he is emphasizes how beautiful his people are, “The night is beautiful, s ...more
Diana V.
Jul 17, 2012 Diana V. rated it it was amazing

Point of View: First Person
Lexile Level:

Organization/ Unique Features: Langston Hughes' simple, yet powerful words in "My People" are portrayed in this photographic book. Each image captures the essence of being a black American today. As a whole, "My People" celebrates our differences and commonalities and is emotionally moving, inspirational with unique artwork, has a message or learning in it, and speaks about being part of a group of people without loosing one's uniqueness.

Main Ideas:
Langston Hughes' poem includes simple, yet extremely powerful words that can be applied to many different cultures and races. The fact that Charles R. Smith Jr. chose to take the words of the poem and visually represent them through this story allows the reader to understand the poem through multiple perspectives. The illustrations show beauty throughout the ages, regardless of the shade of one's skin. I particularly appreciate the illustrator's explanation behind each illustrat
Nov 25, 2014 Alexis rated it really liked it
1.Tell more about the characters. The characters are mostly young ranging from the ages of 4-10 or about. Few seniors. The characters however, do not speak. They illustrate the text through pictures.

1.Does it make sense? It makes perfect sense. The book is based on one of Hughes poems "My people" the children and elderly figures symbolize who they really are. They are the people we love, who surround us, support us.

2.Are the characters doing what they as characters a
Patrycia Hayes
Sep 17, 2012 Patrycia Hayes rated it it was amazing
My People, originally written by Langston Hughes and photographed by Charles R. Smith Jr. is a vibrant picture book that illustrates the vast diversity among African Americans, and most significantly it depicts the variations of African American beauty. There are no main characters being that the book mainly consists of pictures of both young and old African American men, women, boys, and girls. The particular point of view of this novel is Langston Hughes’ point of view of African Americans. I ...more
Lauren Rhodes
Mar 23, 2015 Lauren Rhodes rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All ages
Shelves: poetry, photos, beauty, life
Literature Requirement Coretta Scott King Award Author Winner
Charles R. Smith Jr choose to give images to Langston Hughes poem "My People" though this poem is short through just the course of the book the poem comes alive and breathes life to the reader even though the physical book is dark and uses dark colors such as black and brown. Charles R. Smith Jr. has chosen photographs that reflect the poem's message that people whoever they be and who you belong with are beautiful. The book celebrate
Mar 30, 2013 Stacey rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
My People by Langston Hughes

Audience: This is a good picture book at any elementary level. The pictures are relatable and the simplicity of the language in the poem attracts even the most reluctant of readers.

Appeal: I read a review of this book when researching award winners and found it interesting that the book was written as a poem when Hughes was 18 years old as a tribute to the strength he found in 'his people'. When Charles Smith illustrated the book many years later with his photographic expertise he spent a long
Abbery Milhouse-cunningham
Oct 22, 2013 Abbery Milhouse-cunningham rated it really liked it
Shelves: race-textset
This book contains the poem, "My People", by Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes is known as one of the greatest African American poets, and he is a literary pioneer. The main function of his poem is to highlight the beauty of the African American race. Lines, such as "The night is beautiful, So the faces of my people", clearly depicts that this an encouragement piece. Also this poem is a form of weaponry, because during the Harlem Renaissance, it took courage to voice an o ...more
Apr 26, 2014 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! The simplicity of Langston Hughes' poem "My People" is stunning. As a photographer I was especially interested in the photographs that were used in the book. The portraits of African Americans visually represented Mr. Hughes' poem with such beauty. I would most definitely use this book in my future classroom. Because the photographer of the book, Charles R. Smith, Jr., wisely used a wide variety of African American models for this book, it would be very easy for som ...more
Carmen Medina
Mar 08, 2012 Carmen Medina rated it it was amazing
This picture book is a 2010 Caldecott Honor Book. The illustrator used photographs of African American faces to illustrate Langston Hughes poem “My People”. It’s interesting to note that Hughes wrote this poem in the 1920’s when blacks were not recognized as citizens in the American society and their civil rights were not acknowledged. This book celebrates the diversity within the African American population displaying the different brown skin hues. The people in the photographs have big smiles ...more
Apr 19, 2014 ME rated it really liked it
My People by Langston Hughes (2010 Coretta Scott King Book Award recipient) Illustrator Award Winner
This book is a brief thirty-three word tribute poem by Langston Hughes. It has wonderful sepia photographs of Black Americans of every age and varying skin tones, mixed in with the text. The photographs depict happy, hopeful people. But, the photos shows each person as individuals.
Text-To-Self The text speaks to how beautiful “his people” are. The text reminds me that each one of us is part of a
Dec 10, 2012 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
My People, by Langston Hughes, is based off of one poem and put to photography by Charles R. Smith Jr. This Photographer does a brilliant job of taking several pictures of African Americans and showing their simple beauty in this book. Hughes’ poem is based on the beauty of the African American race. Although the poem is only a couple verses long, Smith spreads them out through several pages and puts a collection of photos with each line. Smith highlights different aspects of the African America ...more
Rachael Franks
Apr 28, 2014 Rachael Franks rated it it was amazing
Text-to-text: I would relate this book to the book "As Good as anybody". It is a story about Martin Luther King Jr. and it talks about his life and equality. If Martin would have never stood for what he did then this book may not be around. This book talks about "My people" and how Langston is proud and had a positive outlook on his race. If it weren't for Martin that perspective might not be as strong and evident as it is today.

Text-to-self: To me this text relates to the people in my life who
Erica Johnson
My People is a poetry book highlighting the lives of African-Americans. There are only 33 words total in this poem. "My people", "so the faces", and "beautiful" are all phrases that are repeated through the poem. This is to show pride in the African-American race and that regardless of color they are still wonderful. One thing I really like about the illustrations is that they are all in browns and blacks, This gives light to the African race, showing the importance of the poem and its meaning, ...more
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My People-Week 3 1 1 Jun 11, 2016 12:11PM  
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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...

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