Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Abstract: The famous poem, taken from The collected poems of Langston Hughes (c1994), illustrated with watercolors.

Publisher: Disney Jump at the Sun Books, [unpaged]

1 comment:

Teresa said...

The illustrations each can stand alone, yet they work together so well in the theme of individual, community and experience with rivers. Nothing is lost in the book's gutters, which, unfortunately, I've seen happen to many picture books.

As for the award's criteria of reflecting the African American experience past, present or future, this book does all three exceptionally well. My least favorite of the paintings is the one illustrating "when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans," but I know it fits with Lincoln's experience of seeing people being bought and sold. And ties importantly with the previous spread of the, I imagine from the way his shoulders are hunched, bound man singing with his eye closed, facing the right of the spread, leading the reader to the next page of Lincoln with his head down. So, now in my process of typing this, I've changed my mind. The Lincoln painting is vital to the visual representation of Hughes' poem.