I will be creating a display in the library to showcase some of the amazing books we have that demonstrate African Americans' accomplishments, contributions, and experiences. Instead of just creating the display and calling it a day, I'm going to spotlight a book a day that you may or may not know about. Get ready for some book love!
Day 1: I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes
A celebration of Pullman porters is the focus of this new picture-book edition of Langston Hughes' classic poem. The collage spreads, blending oil paintings and cut paper, begin with an image of a speeding train before moving on to large portraits of African American porters serving white passengers aboard a luxury train. When the passengers leave, the porters gather left-behind items-newspapers, blues and jazz albums-and toss them from the train. Carried by the wind, the words and music fall into the hands of African Americans across the country. The final, contemporary pages show young black people celebrating their place in America and dreaming of a bright future. Collier's long final note explains his interpretation of the poem, and with adult help, kids can look closely at what the pictures show about the porters then and now as well as Collier's visual themes, including the recurring use of stars and stripes, which culminate in a beautiful, final close-up of a boy with his mother staring through a train window today at the starry city sky. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Here's a link to the powerful poem that inspired this picture book by Langston Hughes: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-too I encourage you to have a discussion about the poem’s vocabulary, rhythm, and meaning.