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Finding Langston
Cover of Finding Langston
Finding Langston
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A Coretta Scott King Honor Book

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, with 5 Starred Reviews, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2018
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.
Lesa Cline-Ransome, author of the Coretta Scott King Honor picture book Before She Was Harriet, has crafted a lyrical debut novel about one boy's experiences during the Great Migration. Includes an author's note about the historical context and her research.
Winner of the 2019 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
A Junior Library Guild selection!
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, with 5 Starred Reviews, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2018
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.
Lesa Cline-Ransome, author of the Coretta Scott King Honor picture book Before She Was Harriet, has crafted a lyrical debut novel about one boy's experiences during the Great Migration. Includes an author's note about the historical context and her research.
Winner of the 2019 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
A Junior Library Guild selection!
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.5
  • Lexile:
    760
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of Before She Was Harriet, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a nominee for an NAACP image award, and winner of the Christopher Award. Her other books include Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History and Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    Starred review from May 1, 2018
    A Great Migration novella with a vivid, believable protagonist.When Langston's mother dies in 1946, his father feels that Alabama has nothing left for him and moves himself and Langston to Chicago, where Negroes could make a living wage and avoid the severe discrimination so prevalent in the South. A sensitive boy who loved his mother deeply, Langston has spent so little time with his father that he doesn't really know him. When he becomes the target of schoolyard bullies who call him "country boy," his loneliness sends him to the George Cleveland Hall branch of the Chicago Public Library, where he learns that African-Americans are welcome, which is different from Alabama. A kind librarian helps him find books--including poetry by Langston Hughes, for whom she assumes he has been named. From snooping into letters his dad has saved, he realizes that his mother loved the poetry of Langston Hughes, which inspires him to read everything Hughes has written. Cline-Ransome creates a poignant, bittersweet story of a young black boy who comes to accept his new home while gaining newfound knowledge of the African-American literary tradition. Langston's heartfelt, present-tense narration, which assumes a black default, gathers readers so close they'll be sad to see his story conclude.A fascinating work of historical fiction that showcases a well-developed, likable protagonist and presents Cline-Ransome at her best. (Historical fiction. 9-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    August 1, 2018

    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.

  • School Library Journal, Starred Review * "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."
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    Holiday House
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