Finding Langston
Finding Langston

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Annotation: In this poignant story, eleven-year-old Langston's discovery of a book of Langston Hughes' poetry in the library helps him cope with the loss of his mother, the pain of being bullied, and the stress of relocating from Alabama to Chicago.
Catalog Number: #171128
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Holiday House
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 107 pages
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-8234-3960-7 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-3147-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-8234-3960-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-3147-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017030385
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 25 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
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Langston wishes he was back in Alabama. The 11-year-old's mother was barely dead and buried before his father moved them to Chicago, where, in 1946, "a man can provide for his family without always scraping and bowing." But to Langston, Chicago is loneliness and lacking friends, family, or good food, just his dad's bad cooking. Three bullies make life even harder. Then he discovers something that amazes him: a public library, and it's not just for whites like the one back home. This branch library not only welcomes African Americans, it celebrates successful black men and women, especially writers. The library becomes Langston's everything s space away from his tiny apartment, his refuge from the bullies, the expansion of his world through books. It is also the place where he finds his namesake, Langston Hughes, and begins to find himself. Cline-Ransome, lauded for her picture books, including Booklist's 2017 Top of the List title Before She Was Harriet, proves herself an adept novelist, one with keen insight into the human condition. Every character, child and adult, is layered, a feat made more remarkable by the fact that the writing is spare. Emotions and relationships are teased out through quiet details and glimmers of understanding, but the impact on the reader could not be more powerful. A memorable debut novel.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (Sun Apr 01 00:00:00 CDT 2018)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal Starred Review (Wed Aug 01 00:00:00 CDT 2018)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Word Count: 22,936
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 3.0 / quiz: 195865 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.6 / points:7.0 / quiz:Q74913

In this poignant story eleven-year-old Langston overcomes bullies and loneliness, discovers the public library and the poet Langston Hughes, and makes a new home his own.

Langston's mother has just died when he and his father leave rural Alabama to make a new home in Chicago's South Side of the 1940s. It's lonely in the small apartment with just his father and at school he's bullied.

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.

A moving story of one boy's experiences during the Great Migration.

A Junior Library Guild selection!

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