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Photo credit: Lanita Foley

Kaija Langley writes books for young readers and lives in Cambridge, MA


Why I Write

As an only child and social introvert, I was raised on a healthy diet of library books, gravitating always to books of poetry and stacks of Judy Blume novels and Nancy Drew mysteries. Writing for young readers is a natural outgrowth of my own love for books as a child. 

Sadly, it wasn’t until I was a pre-teen that a family friend gifted me my first YA novel written by a Black author, featuring a Black family: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. That was a true turning point in my evolution as a reader and writer, seeing young characters who looked like me, and families who looked like mine, on the page. 

Representation matters as much now as it did when I was a child. I take great pride in being able to carry that torch forward for young readers today and in the future.  


Books

When Langston Dances

Langston likes basketball okay, but what he loves is to dance—ever since he saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform. He longs to twirl into a pirouette, whirl into a piqué. He wants to arabesque and attitude, grand battement and grand jeté. When he walks, the whole street is his stage. With his neighborhood cheering him on, will Langston achieve his dream?

Illustrated by Keith Mallet.

Already have a copy?  If you love it, please leave a review on Amazon and GoodReads.


Press Kit

Short Version

Kaija Langley was born and raised in Northern N.J. and now lives in Cambridge, MA with her Beloved. When she isn’t raising money for local non-profits, she reads and writes picture books and novels for young readers. She loves long road trips, singing at the top of her lungs, and adventures near and far. Learn more about her at www.kaijalangley.com and Instagram and Twitter @mizzkalwrites71

Longer Version

Kaija Langley was born and raised in Northern N.J. and now lives in Cambridge, MA with her Beloved. She received her bachelor’s from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland and an MFA in Fiction from St. Mary’s College of California and spends her time writing novels and picture books, raising money for causes that make the world a better place, and enjoying adventures with her Beloved.  

An only child and social introvert, she was raised on a healthy diet of library books, Broadway plays and musicals, and sweltering summers on the family farm in North Carolina. Her picture book debut, When Langston Dances, is about a little Black boy’s first day of ballet (Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, September 2021). Little boys deserve to see themselves represented in dance, too. It’s also a universal story about courage, perseverance, and triumph that everyone can enjoy. Learn more about her at www.kaijalangley.com and Instagram and Twitter @mizzkalwrites71. 

Downloads


News

Two Starred Reviews!

“The absolute embodiment of Black boy joy, this is a beautiful and important book.”

Kirkus Reviews

Read the full review on Kirkus Reviews

“Notable is Langston’s unwavering passion for ballet—and his mother’s just as steadfast support—in this richly affirmative picture book.”

Publisher’s Weekly

Read the full review on Publisher’s Weekly Review

Interviews

Picture Book Buzz Interview


Events

Porter Square Books – Friday, September 10, 2021

Missed the virtual book launch?  Watch a clip of the conversation

Virtual event at Porter Square Books with Jaqueline Woodson

Cambridge Public Library – Saturday, September 18, 2021

11:00 a.m. Outdoor Story Time (In-Person)
Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA

The Silver Unicorn Bookstore – Saturday, September 25

10:00 a.m. Saturday Morning Story Time (In-Person)
The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, 12 Spruce Street, Acton, MA 01720

Brookline Booksmith – Sunday, September 26

10:30 a.m. Virtual Picture Book Hour
Free online event, registration required:


Connect

Contact Info: For inquiries and event bookings, contact mizzkalwrites@outlook.com