December 2, 2015

Sweet and sour poems

Langston Hughes has written poems for children and adults of all ages. His subject matter encompasses hopes, dreams, life and love, whether with sorrow, like the blues, or pride, like his people. These are poems that are remembered long after they are read.

The Sweet and Sour Animal Book
by Langston Hughes
illustrations by students from the Harlem School of the Arts

From A to Z, these are light-hearted animal poems with a somber touch. A bee looks for honey in papier-mâché flowers, a goose can't quackle, and a quail meets an untimely end; however, the monkey, newt, and turtle are content.

The lower-case alphabet letters may puzzle children who are unfamiliar with cursive, but the animal sculptures are a delight.

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems
by Langston Hughes
illustrated by Brian Pinkney

This is an excellent collection of Hughes' best poems deemed especially suitable for children aged nine and up. Some are very melancholy, some are inspirational, and some have a touch of sweetness.

an excerpt:

Reasons Why

Just because I loves you--
That's de reason why
Ma soul is full of color
Like de wings of a butterfly.

Just because I loves you
That's de reason why
Ma heart's a fluttering aspen leaf
When you pass by.

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