Carol of the Brown King: Nativity Poems

by Langston Hughes and Ashley Bryan

Five poems written by the famous African American poet Langston Hughes receive the... read more

Five poems written by the famous African American poet Langston Hughes receive the gift of fresh visual interpretation by the artist and performer who so frequently introduces them to audiences in the United States and beyond. Along with the title poem, Bryan's paintings are rendered in tempera and gouache are for "Shepherd's Song at Christmas," "On a Christmas Night," "On a Pallet of Straw," "The Christmas Story," and an anonymous verse translated from a Puerto Rican Christmas card. This handsome full-color volume has strong child appeal for all and a particular pleasure for the children of color who read and see Three Wise Men, / One dark like me - / Part of His / Nativity. Bryan has set the traditional story somewhere in the Middle East or Africa, while the final poem pictures a contemporary dark-skinned elder woman reading the Bible to a young girl and on another page, a similar setting with a man and boy. Thoughtful readers will realize that the Brown King can refer both to the Christ Child and one of the Magi. Observant viewers will notice Bryan's various uses of star images and discover other ideas, as well, about which to reflect and celebrate. (Ages 2-8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1998

show less