Finding Langston (Finding Langston Trilogy #1)

by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Author)

Finding Langston (Finding Langston Trilogy #1)

When eleven-year-old Langston's father moves them from their home in Alabama to Chicago's Bronzeville district, it feels like he's giving up everything he loves.

It's 1946. Langston's mother has just died, and now they're leaving the rest of his family and friends. He misses everything-- Grandma's Sunday suppers, the red dirt roads, and the magnolia trees his mother loved.

In the city, they live in a small apartment surrounded by noise and chaos. It doesn't feel like a new start, or a better life. At home he's lonely, his father always busy at work; at school he's bullied for being a country boy.

But Langston's new home has one fantastic thing. Unlike the whites-only library in Alabama, the Chicago Public Library welcomes everyone. There, hiding out after school, Langston discovers another Langston--a poet whom he learns inspired his mother enough to name her only son after him.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
"A fascinating work of historical fiction that showcases a well-developed, likable protagonist and presents Cline-Ransome at her best. (Historical fiction. 9-13)"

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 2-5--It's 1946 and 11-year-old Langston, named after Langston Hughes, has just moved from Alabama to Chicago with his father following the death of his mother. Langston feels isolated and is bullied at school, and every day he misses Alabama: the dirt roads, his Grandma and her cooking, and the sound of Mama's voice. When Langston accidentally stumbles into the public library to ask for directions, he realizes that, unlike in Alabama, black people are allowed in the library, and portraits of esteemed black literary figures hang on the walls. Langston secretly visits the library daily and is pulled into the poetry of Langston Hughes, discovering his namesake. As the bullying at school intensifies and tragedy strikes his family, Langston finds solace with his neighbor, Miss Fulton, who reads Hughes's poetry out loud to him in the evenings. Cline-Ransome presents a stunning story of a boy during the Great Migration who finds his longing for the South and his father's fondness for the blues reflected in Hughes's poetry. Langston's observations about the world are astute, whether it's his realization of the burdens his father carries or how men on the street look at women. Readers who have struggled with grief, identity, racism, bullying, or loneliness will find their experiences reflected in this beautifully written novel, which has a satisfying, but not-too-tidy ending. VERDICT Cline-Ransome's novel is an engaging, quick, and relatable read that skillfully incorporates themes of race, class, post-war American life in the North and South, and a bit of Langston Hughes' poetry. This is a story that will stay with readers long after they've finished it. A first purchase for all libraries.--Liz Anderson, DC Public Library

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"An engaging, quick, and relatable read that skillfully incorporates themes of race, class, post-war American life in the North and South, and a bit of Langston Hughes' poetry. This is a story that will stay with readers long after they've finished it."—School Library Journal, Starred Review

★ "The impact on the reader could not be more powerful. A memorable debut novel."—Booklist, Starred Review

★ "A fascinating work of historical fiction . . . Cline-Ransome at her best."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

★ "Finding Langston is about cultural heritage and personal growth and, at its heart, about finding home wherever you land."—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

★ "Written in short chapters, this crisply paced book is full of historical details of the Great Migration and the role a historic branch library played in preserving African American literary culture."—The Horn Book, Starred Review

"There aren't any explosions in this spare story. Nor is there a happy ending. Instead, Langston discovers something more enduring: solace. To quote Langston Hughes: 'My black one / Thou are not beautiful / Yet thou hast / A loveliness / Surpassing beauty.'"—The New York Times
Lesa Cline-Ransome
Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of numerous nonfiction and historical fiction titles for picture book, chapter book, middle grade, and young adult readers including Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams and The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne. Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and received a Jane Addams Children's Book Honor, Christopher Award, and Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband and frequent collaborator, James Ransome, and their family. Visit her at LesaClineRansome.com.

James E. Ransome's highly acclaimed illustrations for Before She Was Harriet received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. His other award-winning titles include the Coretta Scott King winner The Creation; Coretta Scott King Honor Book Uncle Jed's Barbershop; Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt; and Let My People Go, winner of the NAACP Image Award. James is also a recipient of the ALA Children's Literature Legacy Award. He frequently collaborates with his wife, author Lesa Cline-Ransome, and their books include Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams and Fighting with Love: The Legacy of John Lewis. James is a professor and coordinator of the MFA Illustration Graduate Program at Syracuse University. He lives in New York's Hudson River Valley region with his family. Visit James at JamesRansome.com.

Robert Battle became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in July 2011 after being personally selected by Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958. Mr. Battle has a long-standing association with the Ailey organization. A frequent choreographer and artist-in-residence at Ailey since 1999, he has set many of his works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, and at The Ailey School. The Company's current repertory includes his ballets Takademe and Unfold. Mr. Battle studied dance at The Juilliard School before joining the Parsons Dance Company, and later founding his own dance company called Battleworks. Mr. Battle was honored as one of the "Masters of African-American Choreography" by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005, and he received the prestigious Statue Award from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA in 2007. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and has addressed a number of high-profile organizations, including the United Nations Leaders Programme and the UNICEF Senior Leadership Development Programme.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780823439607
Lexile Measure
760L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Holiday House
Publication date
August 20, 2018
Series
The Finding Langston Trilogy
BISAC categories
JUV047000 - Juvenile Fiction | Books & Libraries
JUV039090 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | New Experience
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV016150 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States - 20th Century
JUV039230 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Bullying
Library of Congress categories
History
African Americans
20th century
Poetry
Books and reading
Bullying
Chicago (Ill.)
Moving, Household
Single-parent families
Hughes, Langston
Coretta Scott King Award
Honor Book 2019 - 2019

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