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Langston Hughes has long been acknowledged as the voice, and his poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, the song, of the Harlem Renaissance. Although he was only seventeen when he composed it, Hughes already had the insight to capture in words the strength and courage of black people in America.
Artist E.B. Lewis acts as interpreter and visionary, using watercolor to pay tribute to Hughes’s timeless poem, a poem that every child deserves to know.
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Langston Hughes(1902-1967) was an an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. Hughes is known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He wrote what many consider to be his signature poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, at seventeen, in 1926.
E.B. Lewisis the acclaimed illustrator of many award-winning picture books, including the 2005 Caldecott Honor Book,Coming on Home Soon. He has received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award forTalking About Bessie, by Nikki Grimes, and his booksVerivie Goes to School With Us Boys;Bat Boy and his Violin; andMy Rows and Piles of Coinseach won Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Awards. Mr. Lewis teaches illustration at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, and is a member of the Society of Illustrators. He lives in Folsom, New Jersey.
*Starred Review* In perhaps his most powerful effort to date, Lewis illustrates the classic Langston Hughes poem named in this beautiful picture book’s title. Each spread pairs a line of poetry with soaring watercolor artwork. Like the poem, the images celebrate African American strength through generations, and each picture is both timeless and weighted with history. In the picture accompanying the line “I heard the singing of the Mississippi,” a man springs from the muddy water, while a nineteenth-century steamboat passing on the far shore sets the image in time and opens up deeper questions about the man’s place in the world: is he free? Some scenes are literal: on a jungle riverbank, a mother holds her dozing child next to the line “I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.” Others are powerful visual metaphors: brown hands hold a brown earthen water jug under the words “older than the flow of human blood in human veins.” Lewis’ dramatic, expertly modulated fluctuations between light and dark evoke the poem’s dichotomies of celebration and sorrow, the spiritual and the material worlds, and the single soul that follows millions of ancestors. Even if children don’t grasp the meaning in every line, they’ll easily connect with these luminous, soul-stirring pictures that honor both African American heritage and the whole human family. Transcendent images for a transcendent poem. Grades K-3. --Gillian Engberg
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Book Description Disney/ Jump at the Sun Books, New York, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Lewis, E. B. (illustrator). First Printing. Coretta Scott King honor book for 2010. Seller Inventory # 8265
Book Description Hyperion Book CH, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110786818670
Book Description Hyperion Book CH, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0786818670