Sail Away poems by Langston Hughes, art by Ashley Bryan

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Summary: 15 of Langston Hughes’ poems, all having to do with the sea or water, are presented here, illuminated by award-winning illustrator Ashley Bryan, still going strong at age 92. The pictures are collages with swirls of bright color that perfectly capture the sea and the ships and people that travel on it.  40 pages; ages 5-10.

Pros:  I confess my knowledge of Langston Hughes is limited to “Harlem” (“What happens to a dream deferred?”).  I was surprised that he wrote so many beautiful poems about the ocean.  They’re accessible for young children, with language and imagery that could be appreciated by older ones.  Readers will love the brightly colored illustrations and may be inspired to try their hands at collage.

Cons:  There was no author’s note.  I would have loved to learn more about Hughes and how he came to write these poems.

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