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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