Author: Cline-Ransome, Lesa
Raised by his grandparents, first in Mississippi then in Wisconsin, ten-year-old Lymon moves to Chicago in 1945 to live with the mother he never knew, while yearning for his father.
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Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 507859
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/01/19)
School Library Journal (01/01/20)
The Hornbook (+) (00/03/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2019 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. They're alike in many ways: both leave the South during the Great Migration; their parental situations are perilous; and loneliness is an overwhelming feature of their lives. Yet where Langston finds solace in books, Lymon mostly finds trouble. After his beloved grandpops dies, he moves to Milwaukee with his grandmother, who's too sick to care for him. His mother, in Chicago, takes him in, but his resentful stepfather makes life miserable. Each day that passes warps the boy a little more, until he has a run-in with the law. 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. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2020 Gr 3–7—This companion to Finding Langston is set between the years of 1938 and 1947 when African Americans lived under Jim Crow laws. The novel opens with Lymon and his paternal grandparents, Ma and Grandpops, visiting Parchman Farm, where Lymon's father is incarcerated. In the evenings, Grandpops teaches Lymon how to play Delta blues on the guitar. When Grandpops dies, Ma and Lymon move from Mississippi to Milwaukee to be near family, and Lymon takes Grandpops' guitar with him. Lymon's frustration with his father's absence and school discipline leads to truancy, which Ma overlooks as she grows ill. When Ma has to be hospitalized, Lymon's mother, who lives in Chicago, takes him in. Unfortunately, Momma's husband Robert beats Lymon, breaks his guitar, and takes money that Aunt Vera sent to Momma. Lymon runs away with the money, and ultimately lands himself in the Arthur J. Andy Home, a juvenile detention center. Like its predecessor, this novel is set during the Great Migration, and readers learn that Lymon is one of Langston's bullies. Cline-Ransome focuses on the unfair treatment of black men and boys, a problem that endures today. Throughout the story, location and music are tied to Lymon's character arc: when Lymon is able to play in the band at the juvenile detention center, he begins to envision his new life with Ma and Daddy. Major and minor characters are equally well crafted. Through characters of all ages, Cline-Ransome explores how a person's treatment of others is developed through nature and by the circumstances they have been dealt. VERDICT Balancing rich history and timeless themes of race, instability, and the importance of music and the arts, this title is another must-have from Cline-Ransome.—Liz Anderson, DC Public Library - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.