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Leaving Lymon (The Finding Langston Trilogy) Hardcover – January 7, 2020
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Behind every bad boy is a story worth hearing and at least one chance for redemption. It's 1946 and Lymon, uprooted from his life in the Deep South and moved up North, needs that chance.
Lymon's father is, for the time being, at Parchman Farm--the Mississippi State Penitentiary--and his mother, whom he doesn't remember all that much, has moved North. Fortunately, Lymon is being raised by his loving grandparents. Together, Lymon and his grandpops share a love of music, spending late summer nights playing the guitar.
But Lymon's world as he knows it is about to dissolve. He will be sent on a journey to two Northern cities far from the country life he loves--and the version of himself he knows. In this companion novel to the Coretta Scott King Honor wining Finding Langston, readers will see a new side of the bully Lymon in this story of an angry boy whose raw talent, resilience, and devotion to music help point him in a new direction.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Selection!
Named a Best Multicultural Children's Book by the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature
A Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year!
A Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Book
Praise for Finding Langston, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
"There aren't any explosions in this spare story. Nor is there a happy ending. Instead, Langston discovers something more enduring: solace."--The New York Times
* "this crisply paced book is full of historical details of the Great Migration and the role a historic branch library played in preserving African American literary culture."--The Horn Book, Starred Review
* "This is a story that will stay with readers long after they've finished it."--School Library Journal, Starred Review
* "The impact on the reader could not be more powerful. A memorable debut novel."--Booklist, Starred Review
* "A fascinating work of historical fiction . . . Cline-Ransome at her best."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
* "Finding Langston is about cultural heritage and personal growth and, at its heart, about finding home wherever you land."--Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
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From the Publisher
"A captivating novel about a boy whose story will leave readers wanting more."
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"will uplift readers."
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"The impact on the reader could not be more powerful. A memorable debut novel."
—Booklist, Starred Review
★ "Cline-Ransome's masterful storytelling will keep readers enthralled . . . A captivating novel about a boy whose story will leave readers wanting more."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "Lymon’s life is a study of a boy who perpetually falls through the cracks, and who internalizes the painful lesson that the only person he can count on is himself. Cline-Ransome demonstrates a mastery of character development that deftly weaves historical and sociological nuances of an African American family."—The Horn Book, Starred Review
"Although readers of Finding Langston will appreciate the cannily crafted intersection of the two novels, readers who discover Lymon first will find the experience equally rewarding." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"In this companion to her Coretta Scott King Honor Book Finding Langston (2018), Cline-Ransome digs deep into the story of Lymon, the boy who bullied Langston. . . . Lymon's strong first-person narrative does an excellent job of capturing both the boy's confusion and disappointment, though his transformation into a bully is muted, as is the scene where he rips Langston's book. This is at its best when depicting the strong relationships that keep Lymon afloat, and the hopeful ending will uplift readers."—Booklist
"Ultimately redemptive and truly heartwarming, this character study—a stand-alone companion to the award-winning Finding Langston (Holiday House 2014)—is at once devastating and deeply beautiful. Very brief chapters are broken down into four sections ("Daddy," "Momma," "Lymon," and "Us"), facilitating enhanced readability for younger grades, while the subject matter and the masterpiece of an author’s note will reach those in middle school. Indeed, Lymon’s story is one of hope amidst great adversity and should be considered compulsory reading to all age levels." —School Library Connection
About the Author
- Publisher : Holiday House (January 7, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0823444422
- ISBN-13 : 978-0823444427
- Reading age : 8 - 12 years
- Grade level : 3 - 7
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.71 x 0.78 x 8.53 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #918,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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This is what my four-year-old had to say:
I really liked the book. I really liked his grandma because she showed him respect.
The only person who Lymon was wanting and needing was, the one individual who would just pop into his life, whenever they felt the need to. You can feel the desperation in his voice and in his actions as they made their appearance and when they walked out, Lymon was again looking, looking for them everywhere. Lymon has lots of questions but no one was honest with him. They liked to dance around the questions that he asked of them.
When Lymon lived with his grandparents, his grandfather taught him how to play the guitar and this love united them. This was a connection that he also had with his father, for his father did gigs and he always had another show. I enjoyed this music connection and how the author used this throughout the story.
This was a fantastic story and it was an emotional one for me. Lymon needed some stability and he needed someone to be there for him but would he ever find it and who would that person be? I think the ending was too perfect for me considering how the story was progressing and the characters. 4 stars This is a sequel to Finding Langston.
A young black boy, Lymon narrates this story, the tale of his life from who knows when but quite young in 1938 to who knows when but in or nearing his teens in 1947. He starts out happy in Vicksburg, Mississippi, living with his grandfather and grandma. His father is in jail and he’s never known his errant momma. That’s 1938 to 1942. In 1942, they move to Milwaukee to live with Lymon’s Aunt Vera and Uncle Clark: Lymon’s grandpa is dying and his grandma –he calls her “Ma”-- is ill with diabetes. By 1945, his grandfather is gone and grandma is in the hospital. His mother shows up out of nowhere and moves him to Chicago to live with her, her two boys by another father, and her new husband, Robert, who she assures Lymon is a good man ---look at how he took her in with two children of her own, neither one his! but Lymon has to be careful around him because he works so hard. But Lymon finds he can’t please Robert no matter what he does. He’s a tyrant and a bully and Lymon is a convenient punching bag. Hearing Lymon pick out a melody on a guitar his grandfather had left him, Lymon’s most valuable possession, Robert takes it from Lymon and deliberately destroys it.
A year later and Lymon is in detention, the Arthur J. Andy Home, in prison like daddy was years before. But his daddy’s out now and has no intention of going back in again. In the end, 1947, father and son are reunited. His daddy gives up his life on the road as a musician (a lot of this book is about music) and takes a steady job. Lymon and his dad live near Aunt Vera and Uncle Clark again.
That Lymon’s life end up positive, at least this segment of it, is largely because some good people did good things for him along the way: his grandfather taught him guitar, his grandparents and aunt and uncle looked out for him when he needed it, a deacon in his grandma’s church who owned a barbershop hired Lymon to clean up his shop in taught him how to play the trumpet and read music. One of the messages of this warm and affecting book is that good people can have an effect even in unfortunate times. Enough good people touch Lymon at the right times so that by the end of the book, as he nears adulthood, he has a sense of self and he stands for something. It’s a lovely book.