That Is My Dream!: A Picture Book of Langston Hughes's "Dream Variation."

That Is My Dream!: A Picture Book of Langston Hughes's "Dream Variation." illus. by Daniel Miyares. 32p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Oct. 2017.
PreS-Gr 2—Miyares selects a single Langston Hughes poem and builds a visual narrative around it. For the retitled "Dream Variation," Miyares uses his illustrations to place the poem within a specific historical context before reimagining that context as a colorful utopian permutation. Instead of the 1920s of Hughes's original publication, Miyares evokes America in the 1950s, focusing on a black family navigating their segregated town. For the first stanza--a pointedly small dream of serenity amid oppression--Miyares depicts two siblings and their mother riding at the back of the bus, drinking from a segregated fountain, and also enjoying a quiet family picnic with their father. The more energetic second stanza erupts into vibrant fantasy, with the same siblings riding songbirds into the sky and frolicking with two white children in a vision of racial harmony. Miyares's gouache paintings begin with a subdued color palette, enlivened solely by the family's bright clothing, before ebbing into a gentle darkness; the fantastical second half vibrates with more electric colors but settles into a similarly lush night for the final line, "Black like me." The parallel highlights Hughes's embrace of blackness and makes the dark an affirmation instead of an ending.
VERDICT This lovely uplifting iteration of a classic Hughes poem achieves accessibility for a younger audience.

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