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Lullaby (For a Black Mother)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  188 ratings  ·  49 reviews
“My little dark baby, / My little earth-thing, / My little love-one, / What shall I sing / For your lullaby?" With a few simple words as smooth as a song, the poet Langston Hughes celebrates the love between an African American mother and her baby.

The award-winning illustrator Sean Qualls’s painted and collaged artwork captures universally powerful maternal moments with t
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 19th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  188 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Ariel Tyler
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lullaby (For a Black Mother) is a work of poetry by Langston Hughes that was illustrated and turned into a children's book. It is, simply put, a lullaby that a Black mother could sing to her child. It doesn't really tell a story but it is beautiful nonetheless. It's nicely illustrated and the quality is good. It is a perfect marriage of words and illustrations. While this book may seem very simple, its effect is profound. I how it shows the love between a mother and child, especially love betwee ...more
This tender poem written by Langston Hughes is just as touching now as it was when he first wrote it. Although the poem is short, it describes vividly the connection between a mother and a son. The exquisite acrylic, pencil, and collage illustrations speak volumes about special moments shared by the two. The facial expressions and eyes of the mother and her son seem to be communicating messages of tenderness, love, and steadfastness. Back matter including information about the poet's own childho ...more
Jun 07, 2016 added it
Shelves: poetry
I really love this book it focuses on the love between an African American Mother and her baby. Which is what Langston Hughes pictured as he wrote this poem when his mother would sat him on her lap and read poems too him. So he decided to create this wonderful African American Poem book. That shows great watercolor photos.
Edward Sullivan
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, poetry
Qualls turns Langston Hughes's poem into a beautiful picture book perfect for bedtime reading. ...more
Ivan Rainey
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review: Here we read a poem about a mother singing a lullaby to her baby. The mother wonders what she should sing about so she starts singing about the night. She sings about the stars and the moon. How she would make a necklace of stars for her baby if she could. Mother describes her baby as a “beautiful black baby”, and “dark baby”. She wants to make sure from an early age the baby knows she/he is beautiful how they are. Also, mother recognizes that her baby is beautiful and wishes to profess ...more
Ella Nighswander
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is all about an African American mother and her love for her child. There are many mother moments throughout this book. This book explains the importance of a mother loving her baby and the different experiences that they have together. The illustrations are beautiful throughout the book and are created through collage. The pictures are a big part of this book to show the emotion and love that the mother and her baby have throughout the book.
I chose to give this book four stars becaus
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-poetry
Awards: none
Grade level: Birth-K
Summary: Based off a poem by Langston Hughes, this book has beautiful illustrates that shows the special relationship between mother and child.
My Review: I would not recommend this book for the classroom, more of a at-home bedtime story book. I loved the illustrations because they were acrylics and collages and they brought the story to life.
In Class: For a class activity, we can pick out a poem and have each student illustrate a line of the poem to create a clas
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lullaby is a fun book to read children right before they go to bed! As you can tell it is probably about lullabies. This book deals with an African-American family with a mother and a daughter whom love each other very much. The book is the mother talking to her baby wondering what she should sing to her tonight for her lullaby. The baby mother always sings to her every night because it helps the baby fall asleep.

Rated this book with 4 stars because I think it teaches children the importance of
Luisa Knight
Jun 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Wasn't a fan of the writing style.

Ages: 2 3

Cleanliness: baby is pictured only in a diaper.

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it! Visit my website: The Book Radar.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Lovely illustrations by award-winning illustrator Sean Qualls are used to turn this song by poet Langston Hughes into a wonderful picture book. At the end of the book is the lullaby in full as well as additional background information.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love picture books that illustrate beautiful poetry and complement the powerful words of writers like Langston Hughes. I'm a huge Sean Qualls fan and he never disappoints. Beautiful illustration of the bond/love between mother and child. ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think it would've been nice if they had included different depictions of black motherhood with regards to shade, hair, sexuality, etc. Lovely illustrations and I love the poem and especially the positing of dark as beautiful. ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sweet words by Hughes, and great artwork by Qualls. I especially like the "Moon, Moon, Great diamond moon" page. ...more
Alaase Mahalah
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another beautifully illustrated book based on a Langston Hughes poem. With the added bonus if being a love poem to beautiful black babies.
Darby Morris
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-juvenile
Meant for people with black babies, also not the best rhymes
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't know why I've never heard this poem until now! ...more
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A mother sings her baby to sleep.

“My little dark baby, / My little earth-thing, / My little love-one, / What shall I sing / For your lullaby?"

This picture book beautifully illustrates the poem "Lullaby" by Langston Hughes and movingly depicts a mother's love for her child.

This would make an excellent bedtime ritual book.
Beautifully illustrated picture book of the poem by Langston Hughes. Poem below:

(for a black mother)

My little dark baby,
My little earth-thing,
My little love-one,
What shall I sing
For your lullaby?
A necklace of stars
Winding the night.
My little black baby,
My dark body's baby,
What shall I sing
For your lullaby?
Great diamond moon,
Kissing the night.
Oh, little dark baby,
Night black baby,
Stars, stars,
Night stars,
For your sleep-song lullaby!
Norah Almusharraf
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book!
The poem itself is soft and musical . It raised up the heart beats. The crafted illustrations stand up beside the beauty of poem words. The harmony combination between the words and collage illustrations elaborate the endless love between the black mother and her baby.
This book could be taught to young children. They will learn the strongest love in the world. They will learn the beauty of words and how these word carry out the greatest love .Teacher also may ask children to wri
Qualls has used acrylics and collage to beautifully illustrate Langston Hughe's poem night-time lullaby poem. Large font, spare text per double-page spread. Includes a "note about the poet," suggestions for further reading, and the poem in its entirety in the endpapers. This title is appropriate for all age levels, including families as well as middle and high school students who are studying poetry and/or the poet. ...more
Matthew Hunter
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow, between the poetry of Langston Hughes and the beautiful paint-and-collage artwork of Sean Qualls, I can't find a single thing to dislike about this simple and elegant picture book. I read it to Sigourney on three or four evenings as I tucked her into bed. She loved it all, but especially the stylized depictions of starry and moonlit night scenes. And I'm developing quite the fascination for Hughes' poetic works. They're amazing! ...more
Katie Logonauts
Lullaby (for a Black Mother) is a poem by Langston Hughes published as a picture book in 2013 illustrated by Sean Qualls. The illustrations are a wonderful enchanting combination of realistic and imaginative, including scenes of the mother and child getting ready for bed but also scenes of pure abstraction and joy. The end notes about the poet even include a photograph of him as a young baby with his mother. A precious book for any new mother.
Hughes' poem is set against acrylic, pencil and collage illustrations in this bedtime picture book. This poem works really well as a bedtime story and the artwork is layered and lovely. Each page is like a dream.

The book concludes with a note about the poet's life, a section of further reading suggestions, and the full text of the poem.
Cara Byrne
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful homage Sean Qualls not only pays to Hughes' beautiful poem "Lullaby "For a Black Mother") but to his own wife/mother of his children, Selina Alko. His wonderfully peaceful collage and paint illustrations shaded in purples and blues compliment Hughes' dreamy poem about the stars, moon, and the little baby's dark black body perfectly. It's a lovely work. ...more
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations accompany Langston Hughes poem. An interesting note included in the back of the book will leave you wondering just who Hughes created this poem for or the significance behind it.
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sweetest Lullaby poem, illustrations are gorgeous, simple and pretty. It would have been a book I read to my little angel baby, Andrew. In fact i read it outloud, knowing he is all around me, and heard a Lullaby for him. <3
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The poem is beautifully illustrated. The lullaby is sweet, and the illustrations definitely enhance the poem of a mother singing to her baby. I love this poem for young children 0-5. It is perfect for bedtime.
This is a beautifully illustrated Langston Hughes poem about a mother and her baby. It is accessible to families of color and anyone who loves Hughes' work. Gorgeous illustrations and a lovely story. ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Langston Hughes' poem is beautifully illustrated by Sean Qualls. The soft colors blend perfectly with the loving poetry. I'm sure any young child would love to have this tender piece reader over and over to him/her. ...more
I love the blues/purples in these illustrations. The author's note is super sad too. ...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." ...more

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