Title: The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Author: Langston Hughes
Illustrator: E. B. Lewis
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Concepts: human resources, natural resources
Review: In this beautiful and uniquely captivating book, award-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis has provided a stunning visual interpretation of Langston Hughes’s signature poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Just as Hughes’ poem signals that water has served as a source of life and sorrow in the lives of black people, the illustrator’s note describes how water also has special meaning in his own upbringing and work. Embedded in the poem and illustrations are some important ideas in economics, including the role of natural resources (the rivers) and human resources (the labor of black people) in our history. Teachers and parents who are seeking different genres for teaching children about black history and economics concepts may want to try poetry, and The Negro Speaks of Rivers would make an excellent point of departure.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children