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My People by Langston Hughes
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bookshelves: 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 time deciding how to do so. The brilliant use of sepia photography, coupled with tan font and close-up shots make this book visually stunning.

Application: We all have 'our people'. Unfortunately, sometimes finding people can be difficult for some children in the United States. The interpretation of this book can be varied from the most simplistic of my people=same outward appearance; to my people=people who have things in common with me, my friends, etc. Because of this, the activity portion of my lesson would be the same across K-6 grades. After reading the book and talking about people, the students will create a poster. They will be in the center, and around them in 4 different boxes will be their interpretation of "their people".

Awards 2010 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner
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