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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 currently resides in Cambridge, MA.  Her debut picture book, When Langston Dances, received two starred reviews (Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly) and has been nominated for a 53rd NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work for Children category. When she isn’t raising money for local non-profits, she reads and writes picture books and novels for young readers.   Her debut middle grade novel in verse, The Order of Things, is forthcoming from Nancy Paulsen Books in May 2023.   She loves long road trips, dancing in random store aisles, singing at the top of her lungs, and adventures near and far with her Beloved.   You can find her at www.kaijalangley.com and on Instagram and Twitter @mizzkalwrites71

Longer Version

Kaija Langley was born and raised in Northern N.J. and currently resides in Cambridge, MA.  An only child and social introvert, Kaija was raised on a healthy diet of library books, Broadway shows, and other artistic performances.  Writing for young readers is a natural outgrowth of her own love for books as a child. 

She is a proud alumna of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland and has received an MFA in Fiction from St. Mary’s College of California.  Her debut picture book, When Langston Dances, received two starred reviews (Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly) and has been nominated for a 53rd NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work for Children category.  Her debut middle grade novel in verse, The Order of Things, is forthcoming from Nancy Paulsen Books in May 2023. 

When she isn’t writing books for young readers and raising money for causes that make the world a better place, she enjoys singing, dancing, and taking road trips with her Beloved.  

You can find her at www.kaijalangley.com and on Instagram and Twitter @mizzkalwrites71

Downloads


News

NAACP Image Award Nomination

When Langston Dances was nominated for the 53rd NAACP Image Award in the “Outstanding Literary Work for Children” category.

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

Feb 3

Daniel Butler School – Belmont, MA

Literacy Night

Feb 26

The 30th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair – Philadelphia, PA

Learn more at theafricanamericanchildrensbookproject.org

March 17

Cambridge Friends School – Cambridge, MA

Virtual Visit

April 12

Newton Public Schools – Newton, MA

Creative Arts & Sciences AuthorFest


Connect

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