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Finding Langston

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,341 ratings  ·  378 reviews
In a debut historical novel about the Great Migration a boy discovers Chicago's postwar South Side and the poetry of Langston Hughes.

When 11-year-old Langston's mother dies in 1946, he and his father leave rural Alabama for Chicago's brown belt as a part of what came to be known as the Great Migration. It's lonely in the small apartment with just the two of them, and at
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Holiday House
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,341 ratings  ·  378 reviews

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Jodi Meadows
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just lovely. Langston is so pure.
Laura Harrison
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
One of my top favorite middle grade readers of the year. Beautifully written, warm and one children will enjoy. I hope it wins an award or two!
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Unlike a lot of historical fiction for children, this is actually a joy to read. Not a whole lot of giggles or such, but it's concise, immersive, and heartwarming, and just a great story. Our hero reads poetry *and* (when turning the other cheek doesn't work) puts the bully in his place. Lots going on behind the scenes, too, like the teacher's inability to control the class w/out screaming (and it's not even winter yet... how can she escalate to last the rest of the year?) and the question about ...more
Joanne Kelleher
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is such a special book, well-deserving of its Newbery Honor Medal. Cline-Ransome packed so much in a scant 112 pages!! Of course, what appealed to my nerdy self was all the library love. It is a love letter to the George Cleveland Hall branch of the Chicago Public Library, where Langston found himself in the writings of his famous namesake. It also portrays librarians in the very best light! The poems featured in the book were accessible for middle grade readers and provide a springboard ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story about a young boy reawakening his love of reading thanks to a public library and the poetry of his namesake.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Mini Me Rating & Review: The first part was really entertaining but I started to lose interest towards the end.
One more "important" book in a year of "important" books. Shines a light on the Great Migration through a displaced southern boy in post-war Chicago. Can't help but love the library scenes. Otherwise, the story felt bland and something to get through and check off the box.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-readers
This young reader historical fiction gem is set in Chicago during the Great Migration. Middle schooler Langston moves from Alabama to Chicago with his father, but he misses everything about Alabama. In Chicago, Langston must adjust to his new life while coping with the loss of his mom; learn about new opportunities such as being able to use the public library while getting bullied at school for being a “country boy”; and nurture his love for reading while finding out the truth behind his ...more
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
story of junior high aged boy and his dad moving from Alabama to Chicago in 1946. mom passed away n dad needed to get away from rural Alabama and memories. boy discovers the library and books help him through the transition. my 8 year old gave it 4 stars. authors husband is ransome, he did cover art.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
A beautiful story.

In 1946, Langston and his Dad move to Chicago from rural Alabama. His mother recently passed away and he is feeling a little lost in this big city. The city is so noisy and everyone calls him “Country boy” because he has an accent and wears overalls. He hasn’t made any friends and is experiencing bullying from a few kids in his class. In order to avoid the bullies, one day he goes a different way home from school and discovers the George Cleveland Hall Branch Library.

Stephanie Bange
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a story of a boy finding out who he is after the death of his mother.

Langston feels he was ripped from his home in Alabama and forced to move to Chicago with his father for a "fresh start". He feels alien in the city, it is so different from his country home in the South. While trying to avoid a bully at school, he stumbles upon the public library. Once Langston discovers the beauty of poetry by his namesake, Langston Hughes, and other Black poets, he is able to turn his world around.

Susan Dove Lempke
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A historical fiction novel set in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago right after World War II. The main character (whose name we don't learn until part way through) deeply misses his late mother, and misses their Alabama home. Bullied at school and left alone a lot in the very bleak apartment he shares with his silent father, he finds comfort in the neighborhood library. For a librarian, this was a treat to read, and Cline-Ransome evokes the time, the place, and the poignant characters ...more
Sherry Guice
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It has been a long time since I've read such a moving book--short and lyrical and filled with pain and longing. Langston and his father move to Chicago after the death of Langston's mother. He discovers Langston Hughes and poetry as he copes with the pain and loneliness of his new life, far from Alabama and without his mother.
Leah Agirlandaboy
I highly recommend this perfect little book, and the audio version is exquisite. Just...wonderful all around. (It inspired my 6yo to run into the library and check out a book of kid-friendly Langston Hughes poems this morning, and if that’s not strong praise I don’t know what is.)
The writing is top shelf. Langston is a character to love and he is three dimensional with supportive adults and a class full of realistic behaving kids.

Love the window to the world the library plays in the story.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
So lovely! Short but packs a punch.
Katelyn Patterson
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
My only complaint: I wanted more pages! Beautiful book!
Caroline Mickey
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sensational. I struggle to love poetry, but following Langston's discovery of it and how it helps him adjust to a new life in Chicago after the death of this mother, made me love it a little more.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
He loves the library so much! ...more
Kelly Petersen
I read Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome and I chose Birthday Present for the main character alternative for a book report option. I looked over the different choices for alternatives before I read the book so that while I was reading I’d see what stuck out to me. Within the first couple of pages I instantly thought that he should have a keychain or something for his key so he wouldn’t lose it anymore and so it wouldn’t bother him. So, I thought the birthday present one would be interesting ...more
Katelyn Lee
Cline-Ransome, L. (2018). Finding Langston. New York City, NY: Holiday House, Incorporated.

Miller, D., & Anderson, J. (2011). The book whisperer: Awakening the inner reader in every child. New York, NY: Scholastic.

The alternative assessment that I chose for this book was to create a birthday list for Langston. By choosing this alternative assessment, students will be reading the book in order to understand the characters of the book. Donalyn Miller talked about how assigning a comprehension
Andrew Guan
Langston's story connects to Princess X's because both characters mothers have passed away.
After his mother dies, Langston and his father move from rural Alabama to urban Chicago in 1946, part of the Great Migration in which many blacks from the South moved north for better lives. While Langston hopes that his father's dreams of a more stable lifestyle and independence and self-respect will come true, he still misses many things about his home, including its sights, sounds, and the air there, and his beloved grandmother. Father and son live in a small apartment, and Langston grieves ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one of those rare children's books that are so much more than just a cute story for kids. On top of the historical aspect of it, it's also an enjoyable read for anyone who loves books and libraries in general. It deals with important subjects like bullying and grief, but does it in a way that doesn't feel overwhelming or too emotionally charged. The pace is a bit slow, but in my opinion that added to its charm. For a quick little read, I was very impressed with this book.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A love letter to books, libraries, and librarians.
Leonard Kim
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Listened to audiobook. I suppose there aren’t a lot of surprises in this book and everything in it has been “done before” but it engaged me and I really responded to it.
Taylor Heersink
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a short, but very powerful chapter book. I did not expect myself to finish this book in one sitting, but I could not put it down until the last page. This is a story about an Alabama boy and his father moving to Chicago after their mother passes away. Langston, the main character is tormented at school for being a “country boy”. One day while running away from the mean boys who bully him, he finds himself at the steps of a library. The library becomes Langston’s escape and he finds ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mid-grade-books
I particularly liked how Lesa Cline-Ransome describes how the main character, an 11-year-old boy, enjoys reading poetry. Usually there's a stereotype in many books that boys don't like poetry. But in Finding Langston, the main character (named Langston) discovers that reading poetry is a way to help him understand his loneliness as he and his father moved to Chicago in 1946 during the Great Migration after his mother had recently died in Alabama. They're seeking a better life and Langston ...more
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
First sentence: Never really thought much about Alabama's red dirt roads, but now, all I can think about is kicking up their dust.

Premise/plot: Langston, our hero, has moved with his father to Chicago from Alabama. It wasn't his choice--but his father's. (Alabama reminded him too much of his late wife.) This coming of age novel is set in Chicago in 1946.

Finding Langston is an Coretta Scott King Honor book in the author category for 2019.

My thoughts: I really found this a quick, compelling read.
Penny Peck
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-ya
In this brief but emotionally truthful novel for grades 4-8, Langston has moved to Chicago with his father from rural Alabama in post-WWII after the death of his mother. He has trouble adjusting to school but appreciates that in Chicago, African-Americans are allowed to use the public library. This is a great story about father-son, dealing with loss, making friends after a move, dealing with bullies, etc. It is a plus that some historical information is also included (but doesn't overwhelm), ...more
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“It's better to read in the library. Sitting at my favorite table by the window reading and listening to the sound of other folks turning pages makes me feel like I'm in a house full of company I don't have to talk to.” 3 likes
“The lady said the Langston who wrote these words is a poet. Seems more like a magician to me, pulling words from my heart I never knew I had" -Langston” 2 likes
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