Jane Langton

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Jane Gillson Langton (born December 30, 1922) is an American writer and author of children's literature and mystery novels. She both writes and illustrates her novels.[1]


Langton was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She studied astronomy at Wellesley College and the University of Michigan, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1944. She received an M.A. in art history from the University of Michigan in 1945, and another M.A. from Radcliffe College in 1948. She studied at the Boston Museum School from 1958 to 1959.

In 1961 Langton wrote and illustrated her first book for children, The Majesty of Grace, a story about a young girl during the Depression who is certain she will some day be Queen of England. Langton has since written a children's series, The Hall Family Chronicles, and the Homer Kelly murder mystery novels. She has also written several stand-alone novels and picture books.

Langton's novel The Fledgling is a Newbery Honor book. Her novel Emily Dickinson is Dead was nominated for an Edgar Award and received a Nero Award. The Face on the Wall was an editors' choice selection by The Drood Review of Mystery for 1998.

Langton lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts, near the town of Concord, the setting of many of her novels. Her husband, Bill, died in 1997. Langton has three adult sons: Chris, David and Andy.[2]


  • "Jane Langton is a master blender. She mixes Indian magic, the transcendental philosophies of Emerson and Thoreau, and the plain everyday life of Concord, Mass., and comes up with a splendid fantasy."—Boston Globe[3]
  • "Always a witty and literate writer."—Chicago Tribune[4]


The Hall Family Chronicles

NB: The model for the Hall Family house is located at 148 Walden Street, Concord, MA.

  • The Diamond in the Window (1962) Two Concord children begin to share dreams involving their town's literary heroes.
  • The Swing in the Summerhouse (1967)
  • The Astonishing Stereoscope (1971)
  • The Fledgling (1980) Georgie Hall learns to fly.
  • The Fragile Flag (1984) Five Concord children are gradually joined by hundreds of others in a walk to Washington D.C. to protest a nuclear bomb.
  • The Time Bike (2000) Edward Hall receives a bike that travels through time.
  • The Mysterious Circus (2005)
  • The Dragon Tree (2008)

The Homer Kelly novels

  • The Transcendental Murder (1964) aka The Minuteman Murder
  • Dark Nantucket Noon (1975)
  • The Memorial Hall Murder (1978)
  • Natural Enemy (1982)
  • Emily Dickinson Is Dead (1984)
  • Good and Dead (1986)
  • Murder at the Gardner (1988)
  • The Dante Game (1991)
  • God in Concord (1992)
  • Divine Inspiration (1993)
  • The Shortest Day: Murder at the Revels (1995)
  • Dead as a Dodo (1996)
  • The Face on the Wall (1998)
  • The Thief of Venice (1999)
  • Murder at Monticello (2001)
  • The Escher Twist (2002)
  • The Deserter: Murder at Gettysburg (2003)
  • Steeplechase (2005)

Other novels

  • The Majesty of Grace (1961) aka Her Majesty Grace Jones
  • The Boyhood of Grace Jones (1972)
  • Paper Chains (1977)

Picture books

  • The Hedgehog Boy: A Latvian Folktale (1985)
  • Salt: From a Russian Folktale (1992)
  • The String of Pearls (1994)
  • Saint Francis and the Wolf (2007)


  1. "Jane Langton Draws On Skills As Artist", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 23, 1992
  2. "At home with Jane Langton", Boston Globe, June 7, 2001
  3. "Jane Langton Fantasy Splendid", Boston Globe, May 31, 1967
  4. '"Tis the season for mystery novels", Chicago Tribune, December 11, 1995

External links