Langston, Laura 1958-

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Langston, Laura 1958-


Born August 25, 1958, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; married Barry Nazarko; children: Tlell (daughter), Zachary. Education: British Columbia Institute of Technology, degree.


Home—Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].


Author. Has also worked as a bank teller, journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and radio broadcaster in Langley, British Columbia, and Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.


Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers, Writers' Union of Canada, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.


Red Cedar Award nomination, and Silver Birch Award shortlist, both for Pay Dirt!; New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age selection, 2003, for A Taste of Perfection; Blue Spruce Award nomination, Shining Willow Award nomination, Kate Greenaway Medal nomination, and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People designation, National Council for the Social Studies/Children's Book Council, all for Mile-High Apple Pie; Snow Willow Award nomination, Rocky Mountain Book Award shortlist, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award shortlist, and Kobzar Literary Award, all 2006, all for Lesia's Dream.



No Such Thing as Far Away, illustrated by Robert Amos, Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 1994.

Pay Dirt! The Search for Gold in British Columbia, illustrated by Stuart Duncan, Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 1994.

The Magic Ear, illustrated by Victor Bosson, Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 1995.

The Fox's Kettle, illustrated by Victor Bosson, Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 1998.

A Taste of Perfection, Stoddart Kids (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Lesia's Dream, HarperTrophy Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

Mile-High Apple Pie, illustrated by Lindsey Gardiner, Bodley Head (London, England), 2004, published as Remember, Grandma?, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.

Chan Hon Goh: Prima Ballerina, Pearson Education Canada (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2005.

Rosemary Brown: Political Pioneer, Pearson Education Canada (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2005.

Exit Point, Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2006.

Finding Cassidy, HarperTrophy Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

Perfectly Blue, Fitzhenry & Whiteside (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2008.

The Trouble with Cupid, Fitzhenry & Whiteside (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2008.

My Bully, illustrated by Cynthia Nugent, Fitzhenry & Whiteside (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2008.


Your Guide to Herb Gardening: Cooking, Crafts and Medicinal Herbs, Garden and Container Cultivation, Recipes and Instructions, Coles (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

Contributor to periodicals, including Canadian Gardening.


Laura Langston is an award-winning Canadian author of picture books for children, novels for young adults, and general nonfiction. Growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, Langston surrounded herself with books and decided to pursue an author's life while she was just a youngster. "I wanted to be a writer by the time I was in grade four," she recalled on her home page. "It's my mother's fault. She kept our house loaded with books and trips to the library were considered Very Special."

After graduating from high school, Langston took a job as a bank teller and later studied journalism while working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). "I didn't know any writers and I had no idea how to get paid to write, other than becoming a reporter and writing about current events," she later recalled. She eventually landed in the newsroom at the CBC's Winnipeg office, where she mixed reporting with documentary work. "Even in radio when I was paid to write the facts, I dreamed of writing fiction," she remarked in a Canadian Review of Materials interview. After her daughter was born, Langston began a career as a freelance writer, publishing a number of stories and articles.

In 1994 Langston produced her debut title, No Such Thing as Far Away. Based on the author's childhood memories of Victoria's Chinatown, No Such Thing as Far Away focuses on a young boy who grows concerned when his family prepares to move to a new neighborhood. Marion Scott, writing in the Canadian Review of Materials, called the work "a satisfying, reassuring treatment of the theme of leaving loved places and loved ones."

On her next two picture books, The Magic Ear and The Fox's Kettle, Langston collaborated with illustrator Victor Bosson. "Vic's not Japanese, but he does Japanese art, and he's incredibly talented," Langston commented in her Canadian Review of Materials interview. "After I saw his art, I was blown away by it, and I really wanted to do something with him." The Magic Ear, adapted from a Japanese folk tale, follows a peasant who saves the life of a tiny fish and is rewarded with a powerful gift. According to Ian McClaren in the Canadian Review of Materials, "the rich descriptiveness of Langston's writing is undeniable."

Langston spent a year researching Japanese mythology in preparation for writing The Fox's Kettle, which centers on a storyteller's complex and unusual relationship with a trio of magical foxes. "Langston is clearly comfortable with her material; her story has the directness and logic of folktale," observed Quill & Quire reviewer Annette Goldsmith of the picture book.

In Mile-High Apple Pie (also published as Remember, Grandma?), Langston explores the special bond between a young girl and her beloved grandmother, a woman who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. The author "has captured the voice of her young narrator beautifully," Valerie Nielsen commented in the Canadian Review of Materials. "Langston's approach to the topic is both sensitive and gentle," noted Resource Links critic Brenda Power, the critic adding that Mile-High Apple Pie "is touching, while at the same time it is not overemotional or sentimental."

Langston has also found success with her novels for teenage readers. In A Taste of Perfection, twelve-year-old Erin Morris spends a summer training Lavender Blue, her grandmother's show dog, and reinventing her own physical appearance. When Blue loses a leg in an accident caused by Erin, the youngster must overcome her guilt to nurture the "imperfect" creature. "Langston's text reads smoothly," observed Resource Links contributor Lisa Strong, and Barbara Auerbach remarked in School Library Journal that "the resolution is realistic and satisfying."

Lesia's Dream, a work of historical fiction, concerns a little-known episode in Canadian history: the internment of some 5,000 Ukrainian immigrants, who were deemed "enemy agents," from 1914 to 1920. The novel centers on Lesia, a fifteen-year-old who helps restore the family farm after her father and older brother are placed in an internment camp. In the Canadian Review of Materials, Joan Marshall called Lesia's Dream "a compelling story of the horrors faced by a particular immigrant family who quickly become endeared to the reader." In Langston's supernatural work, Exit Point, a sixteen-year-old accident victim must tend to unfinished business on earth before he reaches the afterlife. "With a fast-paced plot and the constant pull of tension," Kliatt reviewer Amanda MacGregor noted that "Langston manages to pack a lot of action into a brief story."

"Writing is the best job in the world, Langston concluded to CA. "I can wear slippers to work and I get to meet all sorts of interesting people: my characters. If I spend enough time with them, I end up with a story. With any luck, it's a story that makes people laugh or cry, or maybe even a little of both!"



Canadian Review of Materials, September, 1994, Marion Scott, review of No Such Thing as Far Away, p. 132; September 15, 1995, Ian McClaren, review of The Magic Ear; November 27, 1998, Joan Payzant, review of The Fox's Kettle; September 5, 2003, Joan Marshall, review of Lesia's Dream; April 15, 2005, Valerie Nielsen, review of Mile-High Apple Pie; October 13, 2006, Jane Bridle, review of Exit Point.

Kliatt, January, 2007, Amanda McGregor, review of Exit Point, p. 24.

Quill & Quire, June, 1998, Annette Goldsmith, review of The Fox's Kettle, p. 59.

Resource Links, June, 2003, Lisa Strong, review of A Taste of Perfection, p. 27; December, 2005, Brenda Power, review of Mile-High Apple Pie, p. 5; October, 2006, Maria Forte, review of Exit Point, p. 36.

School Library Journal, March, 1999, Nancy A. Gifford, review of The Fox's Kettle, p. 178; May, 2003, Barbara Auerbach, review of A Taste of Perfection, p. 156; August, 2006, Carol Schene, review of Exit Point, p. 123.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2007, Laura Woodruff, review of Exit Point, p. 528.


Canadian Review of Materials Web site, (October 8, 2003), interview with Langston.

Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers Web site, (December 20, 2007), "Laura Langston."

Laura Langston Home Page, (December 20, 2007).

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Langston, Laura 1958-

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