Cover image for Love to Langston
Love to Langston
Medina, Tony.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Lee & Low Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
A series of poems written from the point of view of the poet Langston Hughes, offering an overview of key events and themes in his life.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.5 0.5 75459.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.7 2 Quiz: 32800 Guided reading level: P.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3563.E2414 L68 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Black History
PS3563.E2414 L68 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3563.E2414 L68 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3563.E2414 L68 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



Fourteen poems offer young readers an exciting glimpse into the life of Langston Hughes, one of America's most beloved poets. Each poem explores important themes in Hughes's life--his lonely childhood, his love of language and travel, and his dream of writing poetry. Full-color illustrations.

Author Notes

Tony Medina is a key figure in the current spoken-word poetry scene. He is the author of several collections of poems. He lives in New York City.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

These four new titles add to the growing number of books about Hughes published for young people. Rhynes' I, Too, Sing America, in the World Writers series, is the most traditional biography of the group. Chapters follow Hughes' life from birth to death, covering major relationships and events, as well as Hughes' intellectual and artistic ideas and efforts. The text is informative but dry, often switching abruptly between events. Best are the numerous quotes and the links between Hughes' work and personal life and descriptions that show the difficulty of a writer's life. A chronology, extensive sources notes, and a bibliography will make this useful for reports, and browsers will like the black-and-white photos. Walker's picture-book-size biography Langston Hughes: American Poet, first published in 1974, returns to print with lively new artwork. It is an excellent introduction to Hughes, focusing mainly on his adolescence and early adulthood. The text is romanticized in places, but the engaging, anecdotal style is perfect for read-alouds, and the brief sentences and simple vocabulary make the book a good choice for beginning and struggling readers. Deeter's realistic paintings capture the text's pivotal moments. Medina's Love to Langston uses poetry to tell Hughes' life story, presenting traditional biographical information in appended notes. Many poems focus on events in Hughes' life, and Medina often uses verse to define historical terms: "Jim Crow is a law / that separates white and black / making white feel better / and black feel left back." Some selections move beyond biography to celebrate Hughes' passions--jazz, literature, and the Harlem streets--and the sliding, syncopated beats and unexpected rhymes are reminiscent of spoken-word poetry. The art is uneven; the self-conscious, awkward angles of Christie's naive-style paintings are at odds with the celebratory mood of many poems, drowning out some of the subtle wordplay. Nonetheless, teachers and students will welcome this creative effort, particularly when the text is read with the concluding notes. In Visiting Langston, Perdomo offers a poetic tribute that celebrates Hughes' legacy rather than the events of his life. "Today I'm going to wear / My favorite pink blouse / I'm going with my daddy / to visit Langston's house," begins the rhymed text, written in an unnamed girl's voice. The child tells a bit about Hughes in a few oblique lines but mostly talks about herself--her likes and dislikes, her poetry, and the affinity she feels for Hughes. The brief lines sometimes scan awkwardly, interfering with the poem's momentum, but the girl's fierce pride, excitement, and curiosity will grab readers, as will Collier's exquisite collages, which mix rich textures, urban scenes, and contemporary people celebrating the impact of a legend's words. A page of facts and a listing of Hughes' works provide the only standard biographical information. The picture-book format may deter some older children, but many will be drawn to the book by its vibrant, sophisticated images, strong voice, and the speaker's powerful invitation to find oneself within the work and lives of legendary artists. Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Medina's (DeShawn Days) introduction states that his book "represents one Harlem poet's homage to another," and this compilation exudes affection for the Harlem Renaissance muse. The events of Langston Hughes's life inspire 14 impressionistic, free-verse poems. Some entries might be difficult for youngsters to interpret without referring to the author's concluding notes, which succinctly explain the relevance of each poem. In "First Grade," for instance, the narrator laments that "The teacher makes me sit in the corner in the last row far away from the other kids" and "tells one kid not to eat licorice or he'll turn black like me." The notes explain that when Hughes attended first grade in Topeka, Kans., in 1907, his teacher "took out her racist attitudes on Langston." Hughes's love of books, his disdain for his father and the inspiration he gleaned from Harlem and from jazz are among the topics of subsequent poems. Though Medina incorporates some of Hughes's style (refrains such as "Libraries/ are a special place/ for me") and layout, few of the poems build to an emotional climax. The content of the poems outweighs its impact. Still, Medina's solid research and accessible presentation may well lead readers to the work of Hughes himself. Christie contributes stylized acrylics, but unlike his artwork in Only Passing Through, the paintings here do not reflect the subject's many moods. A standout is the spread "Leaving Harlem for Africa," which shows the poet bound for unexplored shores. Ages 6-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-In this collection of original poems, Medina honors the groundbreaking poet of the Harlem Renaissance. The story of Hughes's life unfolds from his early childhood ("Little Boy Blues") to his later days ("Sometimes Life Ain't Always a Hoot"). The twists that the poet's life took, the people (both good and bad) whom he met, and the important places he visited are vividly brought to life. Some of the poems are based on the subject's own work; "Grandma's Stories," for example, is modeled on his "Aunt Sue's Stories." Medina's words stand on their own while they honor the tradition established by Hughes. Detailed notes tell the story behind each selection. Christie's full-page, vibrant illustrations with broad expanses of bold, flat colors and stylized figures invite readers into the world of sharecroppers, ocean liners, and libraries. This book has many uses: pair it with Floyd Cooper's Coming Home (Philomel, 1994) to introduce the poet. Or, combine it with J. Patrick Lewis's Freedom Like Sunlight (Creative, 2000) or Jacob Lawrence's Harriet and the Promised Land (S & S, 1993) for a unit on poetic biographies. A stunning collaboration.-Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.