Paired Texts > Harlem
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
In Walter Dean Myers' short story "Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push," a boy must change his approach to basketball when he loses the ability to walk.Pair “Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push” with “Harlem” and ask students to discuss the importance of sticking with your dreams. How does Langston Hughes emphasize what might happen to dreams when you decide to postpone them? How could Chris have easily given up on his dream of playing basketball after the accident? Rather than giving up, or postponing his dream, what does Chris do?
In Tony Medina's poem "Poetry Means the World to Me," Medina speaks from Langston Hughes' point of view to explore his love for poetry.Pair “Poetry Means the World to Me” with “Harlem” and ask students to discuss how the first poem provides information about the author of the second. How does Tony Medina explore how Langston Hughes uses poetry? How does “Harlem” further support Medina’s claims in “Poetry Means the World to Me”?
In the informational text "The Cotton Club," Jessica McBirney describes the popular club in Harlem where several African American entertainers performed and gained notoriety.Pair “The Cotton Club” with “Harlem” to provide students with information about Harlem during the 1920s and 1930s. How would students describe the experiences of African American entertainers during this time? What obstacles might Harlem have presented African American entertainers who were trying to realize their dream?
In "Painting Hope," Linda Trice describes the work of Jacob Lawrence, a famous Black painter.Pair “Harlem” with “Painting Hope” and have students think about the descriptions of Harlem in both texts. How does Hughes describe Harlem in his poem? How does Jacob Lawrence describe Harlem in “Painting Hope”? Do you think the descriptions of Harlem are more similar or different? Why?