ICYMI…You’ll Want to Find It Now

December 9th, 2020

The particulars of what you’re reading happened because of this Facebook post. Above the picture, it says, “My current TBR pile. What should I start first?”

I’d been leaning toward FINDING LANGSTON by Lesa Cline-Ransome because at 104 pages, I could inhale it in one day. That fit my current mood. And a recommendation in the Facebook comments sealed the deal.

Even before I opened to the first page, I had no intention of reviewing Finding Langston. Books with two stickers* on their covers have already received much greater attention than I can give. When I finished reading, I thanked the person who recommended it, agreed it was a beautiful book, and that would have been that if not for a subsequent comment. Another friend — one without kids and without ties to the kidlit world — bought it and read it and loved it on the basis of that brief exchange. Then it dawned on me. Why wouldn’t I share such a beautiful book with those who might never have heard of it before? So, I’m sharing.

Langston, our main character, dreams about being back home in rural Alabama. That’s where his family is. His friends. The food he loves. That’s where life was seemingly easy. But following the death of his mother, his father joined the post-WWII Northern Migration and moved the two of them deep inside urban Chicago, where everything is hard, from making unburnt toast to his grouchy neighbor to the bullies at school. In escaping the nasty trio one day, he runs out the back of the schoolyard and finds himself in front of a library. The only library he’d ever seen back home was for whites only. When Langston steps inside and finds he’s welcome there, he also finds he’s one step closer to a whole new set of dreams.

This is a beautiful book, both in its writing and in its story. When I turned the last page, I wanted to spend more time with Langston, but I also knew this was just the right ending. Then…I discovered some great news. The companion book LEAVING LYMON came out last January and the third in the trilogy BEING CLEM is scheduled to release next summer. And you know, I’ll be revisiting that world soon.


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@Barrie Summy

*Scott O’Dell Award and Coretta Scott King Honor Book

15 thoughts on “ICYMI…You’ll Want to Find It Now”

  1. It sounds like a lovely story, and I can see why it won so many rewards! I too am reluctant to share bestsellers (the novel I reviewed was one) or well awarded books, but at this holiday time, it makes sense to share your favorites. Happy Hanukkah!

  2. My dad was an avid, speedy reader. He could inhale a full novel in an evening. It takes me forever to read a book because I subvocalize every word. He ready every new book that came into the high school library before it went on the shelf. – Margy

    1. It takes me somewhere between you and your dad in my reading speed. Sure wish I had his ability. I can read very fast, but when I do, I can space out and completely forget what I read. I’ll be you retain more your way!

    1. Then you should definitely pick this up. The Great Migration is just a matter of fact in their lives, but she integrates it so well you don’t really know you’re learning much. There’s more in the back matter, though.

  3. I was curious to learn which book you’d decided to read from your TBR pile. I pretty much always read what you review. So, I’ll be getting FINDING LANGSTON. Sounds terrific! Thank you for reviewing.

  4. I love hearing how people discover the books they read (and review).

    This sounds like a good and timely story. Thanks for reviewing and bringing it to the attention of the group! 🙂

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