Day 17: 365 Days of Literacy for Children – Fun, Easy & Completely Do-able

Children are drawn to poetry because it makes us think.  When talking about poetry with young children, it’s not necessary to analyze and interpret every detail.  What is important is feeling the essence of the poem, the words, and talking about how the words connects to our real lives.  The poem I, Too, Sing America by 20th century Black American poet Langston Hughes is a powerful poem that lets us feel the way the voice or speaker of the poem feels about being Black in America in a time when racial discrimination was prevalent.  The poem was first published in 1925, and it reflects a time when America was divided by racial injustice.  This is not a pleasant walk to take with your children today, but one that brings WORDS OF HOPE across and through decades of struggles and tears… and one that examines emotions on a most important level – the voice of PEOPLE.  Langston Hughes speaks and sings of and for his PEOPLE and the emotions of inequality.

I, TOO, SING AMERICA by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

Read the poem with your children.  Read it again.  And maybe again. You may have to explain the powerful images that the speaker of the poem creates for us.  Who is the darker brother?  Why is the darker brother sent to eat in the kitchen when company comes? Ask your children how they feel about this.  Talk about exclusion and inclusion and ask if they’ve had any experience with being excluded.  Why and by whom?  Does the speaker of the poem accept being sent to eat in the kitchen?  How does he feel about it?  What is he doing about it?  Who sent the speaker to eat in the kitchen?

Why does the speaker laugh, eat well and grow strong?  Does he have a positive attitude about who he is?  What will happen tomorrow?  Who will be ashamed some day?  These are very poignant questions that lead to very important conversations with your children.  Let Langston Hughes come into your lives today.  Think, feel, talk, share.  LITERACY is all about WORDS – Written, Spoken, Felt.

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

Sign Up To The Ultimate Style Newsletter for Moms


ShopStyle “List” Of all Things I Like and Blog About



  1. 2.10.11

    I simply want to tell you that I’m newbie to blogging and definitely liked you’re web page. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You amazingly have very good stories. With thanks for sharing your webpage.

Comments are closed.