My People

My People Cover

My People

By Langston Hughes; Charles R. Smith, Jr. (Illustrator)

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9781416935407, 40pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2009

Description

Langston Hughes's spare yet eloquent tribue to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today.



About the Author
Langston Hughes (1902 1967) was born in Joplin, Missouri, and lived much of his life in Harlem, New York. As one America s most cherished chroniclers of the black experience, known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes s work was constantly groundbreaking throughout his forty-six-year career. His poetry about the ocean and the symbolism that surrounds it stems from his travels through Africa and Europe working as a seaman.

Charles R. Smith Jr. says that while growing up in California, he read anything he could get his hands on. "Reading books filled with stories and poems inspired me to write my own," he says. "The more I read, the more I wrote. And if I wasn't reading a book, I was playing a sport: I played everything, particularly basketball, and spent many afternoons on the court, perfecting my jump shot." While working on his high school yearbook as a writer, Charles R. Smith Jr. was introduced to photography and immediately decided to make a career out of it. He graduated from photography school and headed to New York to pursue his dream. "I continued with my writing, and, with a heavy influence of rap music,
began writing more poetry instead of stories," he says. "Now, I have combined my photographic skills with my love of reading, writing, and sports to create an exciting career for myself!" Among the books the poet-photographer has written and illustrated is RIMSHOTS: BASKETBALL PIX, ROLLS, AND RHYTHMS, which was selected as an American Library Association Notable Children's Book.