My People by Langston Hughes, photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009).
This picture book is a stunner. The photography by Charles R. Smith Jr. is soak-it-up-to-your-bones-to-your-soul beautiful. Find this book and see for yourself.
Here’s what Smith said about his photos himself:
At just thirty-three words total, the poem is a study in simplicity, which is what attracted me to it in the first place. Langston wrote the poem to celebrate the pride he had for his black brothers and sisters in the late 1920s, when blacks were not acknowledged much in society…
…To me, the words celebrate black people of different shades and age, so I wanted to show skin color as bright as the sun and as dark as the night; I wanted to show the newness of a newborn smile and the wisdom of wrinkled skin. But more than anything, I simply wanted to show that like any other group of people, black people come in all shapes, sizes, shades, and ages, and that each of us is unique.
(Image source & additional interview: The Brown Bookshelf)