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The Dream Keeper and Other Poems

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,207 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Illus. in black-and-white. This classic collection of poetry is available in a handsome new gift edition that includes seven additional poems written after The Dream Keeper was first published. In a larger format, featuring Brian Pinkney's scratchboard art on every spread, Hughes's inspirational message to young people is as relevant today as it was in 1932. ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published December 3rd 1996 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1932)
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Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: black-writers
I finally managed to read some Langston Hughes. [insert my longest yeah boy ever here] Ever since I set the goal to seek out more diverse literature, Hughes has been on my radar. If you look up African-America poetry, he's the one to come up.

I thought it would be interesting to hear his thoughts, especially on race relations in the US, because he's from the older generation, being born in 1902, he was already in his 50s when shit hit the fan (which makes him 22 years older than James Baldwin, w
This book first appeared in 1932. It is still a great read for all ages today. Langston Hughes made a huge impact on my life because he was anthologized often in my literature books.

Here is a famous one:


Hold onto dreams
For if dreams die
Life is like a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

There is often a simple beauty:


I loved my friend.
He went away from me.
There's nothing more to say.
The poem ends,
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought it was very confusing and barely knew what was going on throughout the whole book. But it was a pretty good book for poetry. It was very happy at some points and very dark at other points.
Kimber Carnahan
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eced-221
In "The Dream Keeper and Other Poems," Langston Hughes captures the reader's attention automatically with his delicate prose and imagery. Every poem is different, but all hold a link to a view of the African American culture that Hughes tried so hard to educate people about. Every poem is beautiful, some are funny, and some cause the reader to think. It's a great collection that I would highly recommend.
The book expands awareness of a culture and time that children today may not know much about.
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was my favorite poetry book when I was little. I must have checked it out at least six times from my elementary school library. "Hold Fast to Dreams" was the first poem I had ever memorized (just called "Dreams" in this edition) and was asked to recite in front of my 3rd grade class. There are many poems in this collection that will always hold special memories for me (particularly those in the Dream Keeper section).

"Hold Fast to Dreams"

Hold fast to dreams
for if dreams die
life is a broken-w
Nick Iuppa
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
BLACK LIVES MATTER, and never has that truth been expressed more tenderly or more beautifully than in the poetry of Langston Hughes. I read an article about him in the New Yorker last night, how he had come to study at Columbia University, how he lived near campus through much of his life. And yet the school didn’t seem to recognize the genius who lived only blocks away, never gave him an honorary degree until after he was dead. Black Lives Matter.

I took down THE DREAM KEEPER, an old volume of
Kallie Thompson
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
LOVED IT. Beautiful poems.
Steve Scordino
Aug 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The poems were really enjoyable. I took pictures of a few of them just to have on my phone for the future. The poems I really liked:

Mother to Son
Ma Lord
Reasons Why
Irish Wake
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
*Update: I just read this book, it was like a re-read only it was a different edition. There was a different introduction and illustrator. I could not locate the edition I recently read but it is the same title, maybe the same poems, I am not sure. But this edition was introduced by Augusta Baker and illustrated by Helen Sewell.

Though this book is meant to be a book of poetry targeted for young readers, because Hughes wrote for young readers, so many of these poems are still powerful and I thin
Tori Johnson
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In sixth grade, my teacher gave me The Dream Keeper and Other Poems. It was the first book of poetry I ever owned. It was the perfect first. Paperback, and easy to carry around in my backpack, or keep in the car. Full of rhythmic poems that pounded through my head. Metaphors, allusions, social commentary that I thought I understood. And each time I read it and understood more, I realized how much I did not know. It contains the first poem I ever read out loud, Alabama Earth. Still I can hear the ...more
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book ages ago, for a Black Writers class that I took in college. I recently saw an article in my alumni magazine about the professor I had for that class, John Wright, who recently retired. That got me thinking about all of the works we studied, and I focused most on Langston Hughes. I wrote a paper on this book and another, Montage of a Dream Deferred, and I really loved the experience, both reading the poems and writing the paper. It was very special to revisit Hughes' poetry with ...more
Feb 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was good, and it was interesting to read the songs that the African Americans would sing, and how the author incorporated in some of the poems. I would recommend this book to people who like to read poems.
Mohamed  AL-saqqa
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow
Anastasja Kostic
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, poetry
The calm,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.
Courtney Doss
I've been having trouble staying motivated to read lately, so I decided to pick up a book of poetry - something that could be thought provoking without the time commitment of a larger book. These poems were beautiful, and it was only after I read through a good chunk of them that I realized they were intended for children.

A few of them are simplistic, of course. Targeted at children, they would have to be. But there is a profoundness to several of his poems that transcends youth. The words are
This is a nice collection of poetry that is suitable for middle-grade children. This collection was originally published in 1932, and this new 75th Anniversary Edition features illustrations by Brian Pinkney. I wasn't familiar with Hughes' work previously, and I enjoyed his simple poetic style where he clearly expresses his pride in his African-American heritage. There are also a number of poems written in the spirit of the blues. My favourite in this collection is this one, which I find very in ...more
Amy Layton
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poems
I can't believe I'd never read Langston Hughes before.  I mean, I must have somewhere, at some point, but not all at once like this.  Wow, what an amazing poet.  He uses so many different styles and rhymes and themes and symbols, it's honestly amazing.  He has a mind like no other, and it shows.  And Brian Pinkney's art, too!  What a perfect artist to accompany these poems.  Together, they make a powerful couple, helping to illuminate and describe each other.  

This is a beautiful compilation tha
For several years I have had been promising myself that I would read Langston Hughes. It has been too many years. Oh why did I wait?

Because this collection was intended for children, the poetry is accessible. Because it is great accessible poetry, the poetry can be understood and felt immediately.

Some of my favorites opin this collection:

"Song for a Banjo Dance"
"Po' Boy Blues"
"Mother to Son"
"Dream Dust"

Now I will be promising myself my own copy of the book.
Rosie Gearhart
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-aloud, poetry
Great poet. I could feel the depth of anguish in many of his poems and was brought to tears several times as I read these aloud to my kids. “Mother to Son” is one of my all time favorite poems.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
First sentence: Bring me all your dreams, You dreamers, Bring me all of your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the world.

Premise/plot: This is an anniversary edition of a collection of Langston Hughes poems originally published in 1932. It is illustrated by Brian Pinkney. The poems are divided into sections: The Dream Keeper, Sea Charm, Dressed Up, Feet o' Jesus, Walkers with the Dawn, and Additional Poems.

My thoughts: I didn't love al
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This short (80 page) collection is a great selection for those who don't read a lot of poetry. Langston Hughes is a favorite poet of many because his poetry is so accessible (though many often overlook the subversive and political undertones of his writing). This would also be a great selection to give a young person who hasn't read much, or any, poetry.

Brian Pinkney illustrated this edition, and his drawings are beautifully rendered, capturing both the spirit of Hughes' poetry and the beauty i
707 Jared
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jared Ramos 707 The Dream Keeper by Langston Hughes

In my eyes the author a person who think of what other people wouldn't think of, Langston Hughes thinks what's about what's going to happen next,he doesn't think of the negative he thinks positive, Langston Hughes thinks outside the box.

The post-it I wrote said "the author is trying to say, there is always something larking right around the corner". I said that because the way that poem was written there was always something else right aft
Meg Stolte
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poems
Langston Hughes’ “The Dream Keeper and Other Poems” is a collection of poems expressing emotions and celebrating African American life. While some of the poems rhyme, many do not, so this would be a helpful collection to use when teaching older students the purpose of poems (which isn’t always just to rhyme!). I would likely use these poems with upper elementary, grades 3-6, to teach different aspects of imagery and metaphors. This could also be used in conjunction with social studies lessons ab ...more
Cara Byrne
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
In Hughes' first collection of poetry for young readers, he offers poems about the natural world, broken hearts, and quiet girls. It's a nice collection with brief poems that capture the subjects that Hughes was most invested in during the period, though with a subtler political edge. In this contemporary addition of Hughes' first picture book includes Pinkney's beautiful black and white relief illustrations, updating the original illustrations that largely presented adults with beautiful sketch ...more
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poem
Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
***This review contains spoilers***
The book I’ll be writing about is The Dreams Keeper and other poems by Langston Hughes. This book is a series of poems and it focuses on the African American experience. I would rate this book five stars and definitely would recommend it to others who like poetry. The author talks about the African American experience very passionately and pridefully. For example, “Whereas the spirituals are often songs about escaping from trouble, going to heaven and living ha
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, childrens
Some of these poems I enjoyed a lot. However, for some reason I missed the fact that this was a collection of poems for children when I requested the book from the library, and so it wasn't quite what I was expecting. There were still some really deep, intense themes here, but in some of them it felt like Hughes had pulled his punches in order to connect with his audience more. I guess I was hoping for more of the poems to hit hard.

That said, I did enjoy most of these at least a little, and some
Shannon (That's So Poe)
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
This collection contains short poems intended for a young audience, with poems to inspire (often about dreams and aspirations), teach (often about resilience), and warn (often about the issues facing black youth). The style generally focused on short, simple verses that packed a punch, some of which were actually quite dark and serious, others of which were uplifting. I definitely enjoyed the poems, especially a few that spoke to my own experiences, although overall I think I was not the intende ...more
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent poetry book by Langston Hughes. If you have never read anything by Langston Hughes this is a great place to start. This book of poetry takes the reader back to what it was like during the Jim Crow era. He uses jazz and black folks' rhymes in his poetry that makes it easy for any African American to relate to. Some of my favorite poems in this collection are " Mother to Son"," The Weary Blues"," Po Boy Blues", "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", and last but not least" A Daybreak i ...more
Patricia N. McLaughlin
Jul 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Langston Hughes wrote many mighty fine poems, like “The Dream Keeper” and “Mother to Son,” but this collection contains very few of them. Most read like lyrics—trite and repetitive—and some of them could be put to music and would make fine blues songs, such as “Po’ Boy Blues.” In his Introduction, Hopkins claims that “this new edition . . . will ring true for today’s youth just as the earlier edition did for past generations.” Poems like “Baby” and “Sinner” and “Prayer Meeting”? Hardly. Pinkney’ ...more
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James Mercer 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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The Dream Keeper

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.”
“Quiet Girl

I would liken you
To a night without stars
Were it not for your eyes.
I would liken you
To a sleep without dreams
Were it not for your songs.”
More quotes…