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.  


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. 



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


Picture Book Buzz Interview


Dec 4

The African American Children’s Book Project

Black Books Are — Reboot!
Virtual panel

Dec 15

7:00 p.m.

Odyssey Bookshop

Virtual reading
Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Past Events

Nov 6

2:00 p.m.

Mont Blanc Boston

Copley Place, Boston, MA
Free and Open to the Public. No registration required.

Oct 30

3:00 p.m.

Story Starters Open House

Reading, Q&A, and Signing (Outdoor)
Newton, MA

Oct 19

9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Open Book Foundation

Virtual Reading

Oct 6

6:30 p.m.

Cambridge Public Library, O’Neill Branch

Virtual Reading

Sept 26

10:30 a.m.

Brookline Booksmith

Virtual Picture Book Hour

Sept 25

10:00 a.m.

The Silver Unicorn Bookstore

Saturday Morning Story Time (In-Person)
The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, 12 Spruce Street, Acton, MA 01720

Sept 18

11:00 a.m.

Cambridge Public Library, Main Branch

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

Sept 10

7:00 p.m.

Porter Square Books

Virtual Book Launch
Missed the virtual book launch? Watch a clip of the conversation

Virtual event at Porter Square Books with Jaqueline Woodson


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