Today's book from the 2021 Bluestem Award Nominee List is Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome. (Book is available as an ebook from Epic! If you already have a login from your teacher, please use that OR follow the website's directions for free access.)
It's 1946 and Langston and his father have recently moved to Chicago from Alabama after Langston's mother passes away. Langston is trying his best to adjust from the country life he has always known to his new, bustling city life. Sadly, he is a target for the bullies at his school. They wait for him after school every day and taunt and tease him for being a "country boy." One day, Langston tries running home to avoid running into the bullies, but he ends up getting lost. While lost, Langston stumbles upon the George Cleveland Hall Library. In Alabama, libraries were mainly for "white folk," but Langston discovers this library is for everyone. This discovery opens Langston's world to amazing writers like Langston Hughes, W.E.B Dubois, Gwendolyn Brooks and more. It also brings him closer than he expected to both his father and his beloved mother.
This story is a librarian's dream come true! A boy discovering the wonders of reading and the power of libraries? What's not to love?! I admit I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but this was a fascinating read about authors and time periods like the "Harlem Renaissance" and the "Great Migration" that I did not know a lot about. Langston is also a very sweet, sympathetic character and I found his frustration about having to adjust to a completely different life very relatable.
Langston Hughes on Biography.com
History.com article on Harlem Renaissance