By that time (middle school), I had already discovered poetry, but [was also] reading rap lyrics at home and making the connection. I’m figuring out very young that these things are very much the same, and they’re being talked about differently and they’re being contextualized differently and they’re being sensationalized in different ways. But as far as I’m concerned, in my 10-year-old brain, these things are exactly the same. Tupac’s “Dear Mama” and Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son” could very well be a response to the other.
You start digging through Langston Hughes’s work, and you realize, man, this is the best way to begin a life in letters. To write something that feels simple, one must be extraordinarily talented. On the totem of my ancestors, I choose for him to be there.
― Jason Reynolds, Interview, People Magazine
What booksellers are saying about There Was a Party for Langston
- This is a stunning picture book — Jason Reynolds has a way with words that maybe no one has had SINCE Langston Hughes. Poetic yet approachable; his style is unique. The illustrations by Pumphrey make Reynolds’ words dance, jump, and soar on the pages as you go through a story that is in part bio, part resistance, part celebration of a man whose contributions to literature are still reverberating all these years later.
― Jamie Southern, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks
- The text and illustrations sing in harmony in the beautiful picture book.
― Rae Ann Parker from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN | Buy from Parnassus Books
- There was a hoopla in Harlem. A whizbanger for the wordmakers. A chance for those he loved to celebrate Langston and now, young readers can celebrate that the joy of Langston Hughes through the verse of Jason Reynolds and the vision of Jerome and Jarret Pumphrey in this must have new picture book.
― Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC | Buy from The Country Bookshop
About Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Kirkus Award winner, a UK Carnegie Medal winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, an Odyssey Award Winner and two-time honoree, the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award. He was also the 2020–2022 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His many books include All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely); When I Was the Greatest; The Boy in the Black Suit; Stamped; As Brave as You; For Every One; the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu); Look Both Ways; Stuntboy, in the Meantime; Ain’t Burned All the Bright (recipient of the Caldecott Honor) and My Name Is Jason. Mine Too. (both cowritten with Jason Griffin); and Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.
Jerome Pumphrey is a designer, illustrator, and writer. His work includes It’s a Sign!, Somewhere in the Bayou, The Old Boat, and The Old Truck, which received seven starred reviews, was named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly, and received the Ezra Jack Keats Writer Award Honor—all of which he created with his brother Jarrett. They also illustrated Jason Reynolds’s There Was a Party for Langston. Jerome works as a graphic designer at The Walt Disney Company. He lives in Texas.
Jarrett Pumphrey is an award-winning author-illustrator who makes books for kids with his brother, Jerome. Their books include It’s a Sign!, Somewhere in the Bayou, The Old Boat, and The Old Truck, which received seven starred reviews, was named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly, and received the Ezra Jack Keats Writer Award Honor. They also illustrated Jason Reynolds’s There Was a Party for Langston. Jarrett lives near Austin, Texas.