In short chapters and with spare, simple language, 11 year old Langston tells how he and his father move to Chicago to try to build a new life after the death of his mother. His story is set in the period after the 2nd World War when many African Americans migrated to northern cities drawn by the booming economy and promise of freedom from the segregationist attitudes of the South. But Langston is homesick for Alabama, for the friends and family life he left behind. He is bullied at his new school, called 'country boy' and mocked for his accent. Little by little, things improve, starting from his accidental discovery of a library and chancing upon a book by his namesake, Langston Hughes, whose poetry, full of nostalgia for the South, speaks to the boy, and opens the door to a world of reading that helps heal his hurts. A moving novel that evokes its period successfully and stimulates a curiosity to engage further with the variety of black writers and artists it introduces. First in a trilogy.