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My People

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  542 ratings  ·  159 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,068)
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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
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
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
Charles Martin
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
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
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
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
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
Bianca Dugan-sherman
This book is a picture book with photography in comparision and illustration for Langston Hughe's poem "My People. This is a children's book for younger children.
Text-To-Self: This book reminded me of how African American people are beautiful and special too. The book had different shades of African American people and relayed the message to me that it doesn't matter what shade your skin is, but that we are all beautiful.
Text to Text: This book reminds me of "I, Too, Am America" also by Langston
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
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
Hughes, Langston; Smith Jr, Charles R.; My People, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 1923 text and 2009 photography, poetry, k -5th, lexile n/a, rating 5

This is a poem called, My People, written by Langston Hughes, which was illustrated with photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. The photographs are of both young and old black people, as well as dark and light skinned people, to represent “skin color as bright as the sun and as dark as the night” and “the newness of a newborn smi
Rachael Franks
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
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.
After reading "My People" by Langston Hughes, I feel like what brought the poem together, and made it have some sense is the photography Charles R. Smith Jr. took. I absolutely love the fact that every character or model had their own voice. They all had an facial expression that another did not have. I believe Charles did a great job when it came to the emotional connection to the poem and the people that where photographed. From an African American I can tell that the book was mainly for a rac ...more
Kim Struyk
Smith, R. C. & Hughes, L. (2009) My people. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Starred Review Kirkus


After reading the reviews of this book I was eager to see for myself. I really liked the photographs used in this picture book. I also really like the poem written by Langston Hughes. This picture book has a great presence and would be a great addition to any classroom. I would like to have it available to expand students' horizon in a majority dominated world. It would deb a grea
“My People” by Langston Hughes contains only a few yet powerful, heartfelt words that touches deep. This is a book of mostly pictures and occasional poetic phrases. The story may not have been told by many words, but the message couldn't have been more clear had the pictures and analogies used in the book been removed. Hughes brilliantly delivers such a strong message about the strength of believing in yourself and “Ones People.” Being a book for children, and incorporating poetry that's well hi ...more
Mar 08, 2009 Bonnie rated it 5 of 5 stars
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!
Lisa E
Hughes, Langston., Smith, C.R. (2009). My people. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Starred Review Kirkus (2009).
Poetry Category

The book is intended for younger kids and it has portraits of African Americans. the focus is on appreciating The beauty of this book is in its beautiful photographs. I can see how this book won an award for the illustrations.

I believe that children can look at this book and compare it to themselves; there are also photos of older African Americans. The visua
Lauren Rhodes
Apr 22, 2015 Lauren Rhodes rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All ages
Shelves: photos, poetry, 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
Robert Justiniano
My People is an incredible book that is able to be shared with all ages. The book may seem simple to anyone who picks it up off of the shelf, yet it is not simple in any way. The words on the pages are actually a poem, that by it self holds a little heartfelt meaning, but when it is paired with the amazing photography on each page the words are give even more reading. Whether a child who can not actually read the words is just looking at the pictures, they can see the meaning behind the words or ...more
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
Jason Roop
Hughes, Langston; Smith Jr, Charles R. (2009) My People, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

Category: Poetry (Coretta Scott King Award)

This book uses Langston Hughes’ poem my people and adds photographs to accompany it. Most of us have read the simple poem about the love of his people, but the photographs bring the poem to life. The simple photography would be a draw that would add to student excitement about poetry. This would be great for use in any poetry unit or discussions o
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
Patrycia Hayes
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
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.
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
Abbery Milhouse-cunningham
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
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
Carmen Medina
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
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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."
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The Collected Poems Selected Poems The Ways of White Folks Not Without Laughter The Best of Simple

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