The Dream Flag Project
Suggested Age: K-12
Submitted by Brenda Freitas-Obregon, State Librarian, Kalihi-Palama Public Library
I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes
Recommended Readings / Related Books:
My People by Langston Hughes
Don’t You Turn Back by Langston Hughes
The Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes
The Sweet and Sour Animal Book by Langston Hughes
Activity: The Dream Flag Project®
The Dream Flag Project® invites students to dream and hope and wish. They capture their dream poems in words and images to share with the world.
About the Project:
Inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes and the tradition of Nepalese Buddhist prayer flags, The Dream Flag Project® is an annual poetry/art/community-connection project for students K-12. Since its inception in the spring of 2003, the project has spread to more than one hundred schools nationwide, including the Kalihi-Palama Public Library in Honolulu—and it’s still spreading worldwide.
To participate in the project, teachers and librarians register on The Dream Flag Project® web site, www.dreamflags.org. There is no fee.
- Something to write and draw upon such as 8 1/2″ x 11″ fabric pieces including wallpaper and upholstery samples or paper
- Permanent markers
- Fabric paints
- Rope, cord, or braided fabric or yarn
- Read Langston Hughes poems, particularly his dream poems.
The Dream Keeper
Bring me all of your dreams,
Bring me all your
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
- Create their own dream poems.
- Transfer their poems onto pieces of 8 1/2”x 11” cloth.
- Decorate the cloth however they wish.
- Attach the Dream Flags to a line—just like the prayer flags—creating a visual line of color and hope to display in schools, hospitals, regional sites, libraries, the web site, and other public places.
February 1 Kickoff (Langston Hughes’ birthday)
April Culmination activities during National Poetry Month
First Week of April Dream Flag Lines completed
The project can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 9 weeks to complete, depending on what a teacher wants to do with it.
At a culminating regional poetry festival, the Dream Flag Project Celebration, students and schools share their poems and connect thousands of Dream Flags. This has been held at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Area schools send representative poets, and all schools are invited to send poems to be read and flags to be displayed. The Dream Flags are meant to share positive hopes with the world—Connecting the dreams is what it’s all about.
After the Dream Flag Project Celebration, Dream Flags are exhibited where they will spread their messages of hope. This has included area hospitals, libraries, a baseball stadium, and Nepal.
Flags are returned to the schools in May after the exhibitions.