Lullaby (For a Black Mother)

by Langston Hughes and Sean Qualls

This beloved poem by Langston Hughes, in picture-book form for the first time and illustrated by the award-winning Sean Qualls, is an irresistible celebration of poetry and the love between mother and baby.

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547362656
  • ISBN-10: 054736265X
  • Pages: 32
  • Publication Date: 03/19/2013
  • Carton Quantity: 48

About the book

“My little dark baby, / My little earth-thing, / My little love-one, / What shall I sing / For your lullaby?" With a few simple words as smooth as a song, the poet Langston Hughes celebrates the love between an African American mother and her baby. The award-winning illustrator Sean Qualls’s painted and collaged artwork captures universally powerful maternal moments with tenderness and whimsy. In the end, readers will find a rare photo of baby Hughes and his mother, a biographical note, further reading, and the complete lullaby. Like little love-ones, this beautiful book is a treasure.

About the author
Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes penned many well-known poems, such as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "I, Too, Sing America," and "The Dream Keeper." A renowned contributor to New York City's Harlem Renaissance, he died in 1967.

Sean Qualls

Sean Qualls received a Coretta Scott King Honor award for his illustrations in Before John Was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatherford, and has published many other acclaimed books. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his family. Visit his website at


"Hughes' classic lullaby gets a loving lift with Quall's graceful artwork."


"A wonderful celebration of both love and poetry."

School Library Journal

"A quiet but welcome introduction to the writer's work for the very young."

Publishers Weekly

"Share with little ones needing a gentle lullaby."


"Not all poems make for great picture book texts, but this one has just the right cadence and all the right line breaks for smooth page turns, especially when accompanied by Qualls's superb art showing the deep bond between a mother and her baby at bedtime."

Horn Book