My People (Hardcover)

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

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781416935407, 40pp.

Publication Date: January 6, 2009

List Price: 18.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Spring '09 Kids List

“How would you illustrate this timeless poem? Charles Smith, Jr. answers this question with a series of photographs that will make you smile. This book is a great selection for teachers and would be a perfect lesson plan feature for discussions of poetry writing and imagery.”
— Angela K Sherrill, 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL
View the List


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. is an acclaimed poet and the Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator of My People, a picture book based on the poem by Langston Hughes. He is also the illustrator of If, the author and photographer of I Am the World, and he won the Coretta Scott King Author Honor for his book Twelve Rounds To Glory. He grew up in California and attended the Brooks Institute of Photography. A magazine and book cover photographer in addition to a picture book creator, Charles lives with his wife and kids in Poughkeepsie, New York. Visit him at