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Lullaby (For a Black Mother)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  170 ratings  ·  44 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 ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 19th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  170 ratings  ·  44 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 ...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 ...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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gabrielle Blockton
Date: October 14th, 2014

Author: Langston Hughes; Illustrated by Sean Qualls

Title: Lullaby

Plot: Langston Hughes' poem Lullaby (For a Black Mother) depicts the life of a mother and child spending time together as the mother sings to her baby a lullaby.

Setting: Evening time in a crowded city

Characters: Mother and son (African-American Mother)

Point-of-Views: First-Person

Theme: Mother and Son relationship; unconditional love

Style: Poetry, Repetitive verses

Copyright: 2013

Notes: Another great
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lyrical and beautiful, love the texture in the illustrations.
Wonderful illustrations put to a Langston Hughes poem, Lullaby ( for a black mother). Interesting note about Hughes in back of book. Makes me want to learn more about him. I LOVE when that happens.
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, 2014
taken from a poem by Langston Hughes. Not the best artwork
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book--in both words and art.
I love the blues/purples in these illustrations. The author's note is super sad too.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations.
Linda Atkinson
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Three for three in the illustration department.
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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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