Finding Langston — Review

Thought for the Day:

“ You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

~ Jack London ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

If you haven’t been thinking about The Payoff in your book, you really should. The post HERE by K. M. Allen will help you make that Payoff pay off.

Writers in the Storm has an excellent post HERE on how to strengthen your writing with a few good tips.

I read novels in verse when I can, and, when they are done well, I am in awe of them. There are some I think are just short novels with a lot of white space, but there are many that just knock my socks off. I have wished I could write one. I’m not sure I ever will try it, but there is an excellent post HERE on Through the Tollbooth by Jennifer Gennari with Five Tips to Writing a Verse Novel.

I promised you some helpful shopping tips as we lead up to the holidays. I don’t write much about picture books here, but most of us have little ones in our lives to buy for, so when I ran across the post HERE on Writers’ Rumpus with reviews of twenty picture books, I thought it would be a big help to those who need to buy pictures books for the short people in their lives. Happy shopping!

findinglangston200One of my very favorite poets is Langston Hughes, so when I saw the title Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome on the list of review books for the Seattle Book Review, I was intrigued. I am also always looking for more diversity in books, so this was a double hit for me. I asked for it right away. I was not disappointed. And I love the cover! Here is the review I wrote for them.

It is 1946, and eleven-year-old Langston and his father leave Alabama, the only home Langston has ever known, to move to Chicago. Langston’s father says it is for better opportunities, but maybe it is just too difficult for him to be where Langston’s mother died. It is a hard move for Langston. He misses the red dirt of Alabama, his grandmother and cousins, but most of all, his sweet mother. The boys at school tease him unmercifully about being a country boy, and they bully him as well. But Langston finds his way to a public library, one that lets black people in, unlike the one at home in Alabama. There, Langston finds solace and discovers poetry and the man for whom he was named. But the bullies may even ruin that.

lr_jh480Author Lesa Cline-Ransome has written a moving story about loss, love, and finding one’s voice. The character of Langston will worm its way into readers’ minds and hearts and stay there a long time. The writing is lyrical and rich and the story memorable and sweet. This book will help young people find their own voices but deserves readership far beyond the middle grades.

There will be no giveaway this week.  I am giving the nice hardbound copy I received for review to the library at my granddaughter’s charter school. They have a tiny budget and really need books. Check back next week. I may have a giveaway then. If you are reading this in your email, please click HERE to get to my blog, then click on the title of the post, and leave a comment. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.


25 thoughts on “Finding Langston — Review”

  1. What a wonderful gift for your granddaughter’s library. I love Langston Hughes’ poetry and used to use fragments of it when my art class work on inspirations from the paintings of William H. Johnson. Often a poem and a painting were a perfect fit. This is a book I would like to read, so thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this sounds like a wonderful story about Langston’s early beginnings. He was part of the great wave of black families moving north to Chicago for better opportunities. Can’t wait to read a copy. You give just enough in your review to tease readers, and leave us wondering what happens. Will have to go check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For a professional reviser like myself, your links once again provided new insights. Your thoughts on FINDING LANGSTON convinced me it is a must read. I enjoy books set in the 40s and having it in Chicago is another plus.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oooh, that cover IS intriguing. Sounds like a great book – and one the kids at the school will enjoy. (That’s where my review copies usually end up, at a school with limited resources for buying books).

    Liked by 1 person

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