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Coming Home
     

Coming Home

by Floyd Cooper
 

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A lonely child's search for a home is the center of this picture book about the writer Langston Hughes.

Overview

A lonely child's search for a home is the center of this picture book about the writer Langston Hughes.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This insightful picture book illuminates, in both words and art, moments from the childhood of poet Langston Hughes (1902-1967). Facing difficult times with his parents because of segregation and other forms of racism, Hughes spent many of his early years in the care of his grandmother in Lawrence, Kans. As told by Cooper ( From Miss Ida's Porch ) in the first book he has written as well as illustrated, the wide-open Midwest offers Langston plenty of space to dream, but staying with poor and aging Grandma proves mostly sad and lonely. An eventual move to the home of family friends ushers in a rosy period of love and care that encourages Hughes's burgeoning writing career. Young readers may not understand how Hughes's childhood shaped his adult work, but they are likely to enjoy this story in and of itself. Warmly lit oil portraits, so atmospheric that the sounds of daily life seem to emanate from them, are almost sure to prompt questions about the era, while a muted palette of browns, golds and pinks establishes a comfortable mood. A fine tribute. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)
Children's Literature
"I have always thought of Langston Hughes as a beacon for all dreamers," writes Cooper in the Author's Note of his newest book. This magnificently illustrated picture book captures the true and inspiring portrayal of Hughes childhood, his loneliness and dreams, racial indignities, and adult successes. Hughes, who was raised by his grandmother, always dreamed of having a real home, reunited with his mother and father. He inextricably wove his own life experiences into his written words and became an internationally known writer and poet. Langston Hughes finally did find a "home" within himself, fostered by pride in his family heritage. Cooper recreates Hughes's life story for all ages and generations for come.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Bagel
"I have always thought of Langston Hughes as a beacon for all dreamers," writes Cooper in the Author's Note of his newest book. This magnificently illustrated picture book captures the true and inspiring portrayal of Hughes childhood, his loneliness and dreams, racial indignities, and adult successes. Hughes, who was raised by his grandmother, always dreamed of having a real home, reunited with his mother and father. He inextricably wove his own life experiences into his written words and became an internationally known writer and poet. Langston Hughes finally did find a "home" within himself, fostered by pride in his family heritage. Cooper recreates Hughes's life story for all ages and generations for come.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This is the first picture book Floyd Cooper has both illustrated and written and the combined power of his two art forms is stunning. Hughes and Cooper share a poetic soul, for Cooper's voice is filled with a lyricism uncommon in most biographies. Cooper focusses on Hughes' early life, which is most appropriate for the book's intended child audience. He writes of a lonely boy, who is only partially comforted by his storytelling grandmother, who would wrap him in a torn shawl and " in family stories of pride and glory." Cooper gently tells of Hughes' longing to be reunited with his mother and father and the occasional trips to visit his mother in Kansas City, where he would wander "riding his ears around the city," hearing "jazzy old blues music that drifted down the alleys and tickled his soul" with rhythms he never forgot. Cooper knows how to balance emotion and technique, and darks and lights in illustrations. He applies the same skill to words; the telling of a difficult life has a satisfying end. Hughes discovered that "home was in him."
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Langston Hughes's lonely boyhood is presented with empathy in this picture-book biography. Cooper recounts how Hughes was raised by his grandmother, whose vivid stories of black heroism fueled his imagination, until she, with age, retreated into silence. His mostly absent parents appeared briefly but were unable to offer him a real parental relationship. When he moved in with family friends, he felt for the first time what it was like to have a home. Cooper's writing proves equal to his artwork in highlighting elements that convey the emotion and important events from his subject's youth. His earth-toned, hazy paintings have little detail but expressively depict moments and people. This does not attempt to be a complete biography. Rather, it focuses on those aspects of Hughes's childhood that relate to the central theme of finding a home. Teachers looking for a good way to introduce youngsters to this prominent poet will find this book to be an excellent accompaniment to his work.-Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Hazel Rochman
The lonely child's search for home is the center of this touching picture book about Langston Hughes. In the first book that artist Cooper has written as well as illustrated, he combines large, soft-textured, earth-tone paintings with a warm, immediate storytelling voice. Dreamy words and pictures express the boy's yearning for a "home with his ma and pa. A home he would never have to leave." There are close-ups of his strong grandmother (who told him family stories of pride and glory) as well as views of his loving foster home and of the streets of Kansas City, where the child heard the "jazzy old blues music that drifted down the alleys and tickled his soul." Like Hughes' poetry, the power of Cooper's story is that it confronts the sadness even as it transcends it. Children like Hughes who dream of a "real home" will take heart from the story of the boy who found community and grew up to write astonishing poetry about it. Some of that poetry has recently been reissued in "The Dream Keeper".

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780780780514
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
02/28/1998
Product dimensions:
8.25(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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