Sunday, February 19, 2023

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

About a year or two ago my fellow book blogger Jane at her excellent website Reading, Writing, Working, Playing reviewed Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome (2018).  Jane gave this novel a positive review and I agree.  Finding Langston is an award winning young adult novel.  It's geared towards middle school kids but can be read and appreciated at any age.

The book is set in 1946 and the narrator, eleven year old Langston, has recently moved with his father from Alabama to Chicago.  Langston is having a tough time.  Chicago is a big intimidating city and the kids at his new school are mean.

But mostly, Langston misses his mother who recently passed away.  His father works hard and is exhausted at night.  He doesn't talk much and is dealing with his own grief at his wife's death.  Langston, therefore, is on his own spending his days going to school, dodging the bullies, and missing his Mom and the way things used to be with his family in Alabama.

And then one day Langston spots a library and decides to go inside.  He sees a book by a writer with his first name and becomes curious.  It's a book of poetry by Langston Hughes and he is transformed.  From there he goes on to look up other writers from the Harlem Renaissance and by the time the book ends young Langston has grown in so many ways.

Finding Langston is about the power of books to change our lives as they did for eleven year old Langston.  He found the poet he was named after and in doing so he found himself.


  1. This book sounds amazing! I'm going to have to get me a copy of this one. I wonder if some of the 4th graders I work with in my higher reading group would like it. Hmm... Thanks, Kathy! :D

  2. Hi Lark, I think they would like it and I am not sure where 4th graders are at their reading level but this is a book for grammar school kids and so I think it is for them and this novel won the Scott O'Dell award in historical fiction.

  3. I have been AWOL from blogging for a few weeks, so it warmed my heart to no end to read that you also read and loved this marvelous YA book about one of America's great poets. Wonderful review!

    1. Thanks so much Jane. I love your book reviews and I learn so much from your blog about new books I want to read. I think Finding Langston is a great book for all ages. It introduces kids to Langston Hughes and its an important book to assign in middle school because it could get kids to the library but also bullying can be bad in middle school and the kids that are bullied keep silent but this book shows if a kid tells their parent the parent can get it to stop by alerting the school to take action.