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[Poetry Friday] Langston Hughes’ Dream Variation illuminated by Daniel Miyares

"That Is My Dream!" by Langston Hughes and Daniel Miyares.

Myra here.

Thank you to Buffy Silverman for hosting this week.

That Is My Dream! (Amazon | Book Depository)

Poetry by: Langston Hughes Illustrated by Daniel Miyares Published by Schwartz & Wade Books (2017)
ISBN: 0399550178 (ISBN13: 9780399550171). Book borrowed from Overdrive. Book photo taken by me.

While I love poetry anthologies in picturebooks, there is also something quite powerful in transforming one whole poem into a picturebook. Daniel Miyares has done just that in his interpretation of Hughes’ Dream Variation. 

Miyares conceptualizes the segregated America of Hughes’ childhood through each line and turn-of-phrase in Hughes’ poem. Apart from portraying the racial inequality through his art, Miyares also captured the beautiful sense of dreaming and the fierce sense of pride in owning one’s identity.

I am in awe of the bold and bright colours, and the sense of movement in each page. Despite the boy’s having sad eyes, his arms are wide open to what the world has to offer.

In the Illustrator’s Note, Miyares explained what inspired him to create this wonderful tribute to Hughes’ words:

I first encountered the poetry of Langston Hughes in my high school English class. We were studying the Harlem Renaissance and the role Hughes played in it. His work showed me a version of the American experience that I had never seen before, and I was profoundly moved. For the first time, I understood the raw power of poetry – its ability to peel back a facade and reveal deep truths that may be hard for us to see.

Miyares ended the note with a dream for his own children:

I have two young children at home, and my dream for them is that they’ll always value listening more than judging and understanding more than righteousness.

I share that dream with this wonderful artist.

What is your favourite Langston Hughes poem, PF enthusiasts?

#ReadIntl2020 Update: Langston Hughes (POC).

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

5 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Langston Hughes’ Dream Variation illuminated by Daniel Miyares

  1. Gorgeous picture book of a gorgeous poem. Thank you for the introduction to this book and for sharing Miyares’ words: “I understood the raw power of poetry – its ability to peel back a facade and reveal deep truths that may be hard for us to see.” Yes! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read this one, but recently read and loved Night Walk to the Sea by Daniel Miyares. His books are wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh this looks like a gem of a book–will have to look for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Langston Hughes, and what gorgeous illustrations!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such colorful illustrations fitting for the work of Langston Hughes. Thanks for teaching me about Danial Miyares and as for my favorite poem, I’d have to think about that. But I Loved my friend is one of my favorites. It’s perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

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