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Elijah of Buxton Kindle Edition

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Length: 364 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Age Level: 8 - 12
Grade Level: 7 - 7
  • Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* After his mother rebukes him for screaming that hoop snakes have invaded Buxton, gullible 11-year-old Elijah confesses to readers that "there ain't nothing in the world she wants more than for me to quit being so doggone fra-gile." Inexperienced and prone to mistakes, yet kind, courageous, and understanding, Elijah has the distinction of being the first child born in the Buxton Settlement, which was founded in Ontario in 1849 as a haven for former slaves. Narrator Elijah tells an episodic story that builds a broad picture of Buxton's residents before plunging into the dramatic events that take him out of Buxton and, quite possibly, out of his depth. In the author's note, Curtis relates the difficulty of tackling the subject of slavery realistically through a child's first-person perspective. Here, readers learn about conditions in slavery at a distance, though the horrors become increasingly apparent. Among the more memorable scenes are those in which Elijah meets escaped slaves—first, those who have made it to Canada and, later, those who have been retaken by slave catchers. Central to the story, these scenes show an emotional range and a subtlety unusual in children's fiction. Many readers drawn to the book by humor will find themselves at times on the edges of their seats in suspense and, at other moments, moved to tears. A fine, original novel from a gifted storyteller. Phelan, Carolyn

About the Author

Christopher Paul Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan. After high school graduation, he worked on the assembly line of the Fisher Body Plant for 13 years, until Christopher took a year off work to write his first novel. The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 won a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor book citation in 1996. Bud, Not Buddy received the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award in 2000. His most recent book, Elijah of Buxton, has garnered multiple awards, including a Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, the TD Children's Literature Book Award and the CLA Book of the Year, and was a finalist in the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature. "This novel came to me in a way that was far different than any other," says Curtis. "From the word 'go' Elijah and I became close friends. When I'd go to the library to write, it was as if he were anxiously waiting for me, waiting to tell about his life, his worries, his adventures."

Product Details

  • File Size: 13710 KB
  • Print Length: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008555CBY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,986 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Photo © 2003 James Keyser
author spotlight
"To me the highest accolade comes when a young reader tells me, 'I really liked your book.' The young seem to be able to say 'really' with a clarity, a faith, and an honesty that we as adults have long forgotten. That is why I write."--Christopher Paul Curtis

Christopher Paul Curtis made an outstanding debut in children's literature with The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963. His second novel, Bud, Not Buddy, is the first book ever to receive both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.


Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher Paul Curtis spent his first 13 years after high school on the assembly line of Flint's historic Fisher Body Plant # 1. His job entailed hanging car doors, and it left him with an aversion to getting into and out of large automobiles--particularly big Buicks.

With grandfathers like Earl "Lefty" Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression, it is easy to see why Christopher Paul Curtis was destined to become an entertainer.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 tells the story of 10-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan, and their unforgettable journey that leads them into one of the darkest moments in American history. It is by turns a hilarious, touching, and tragic story about civil rights and the impact of violence on one family.

Curtis's novel Bud, Not Buddy focuses on 10-year-old Bud Caldwell, who hits the road in search of his father and his home. Times may be hard in 1936 Flint, Michigan, but orphaned Bud's got a few things going for him; he believes his mother left a clue of who his father was--and nothing can stop Bud from trying to find him.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Author's Note of "Elijah of Buxton" begins with a statement on the part of author Christopher Paul Curtis declaring that when you ask authors what their favorite published work is, they'll generally hem and haw and refuse to select just one title. Not Mr. Curtis. Unlike these writers, he has no qualms about selecting the book he has always loved the most (it's "The Watsons go to Birmingham", in case you were curious). Now ask a librarian what his or her favorite Christopher Paul Curtis title is. Go on. The answer is going to be interesting. Some might play the hem and haw game, but many will burst out with their favorites without hesitation. The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963! Bud, Not Buddy! Mr. Chickee's Funny Money! One or two brave souls might even select his teen novel on the sly. Not me, of course. My favorite Curtis novel is "Elijah of Buxton ", no question. And when I am old and grey I will claim that it was my favorite right from the start, publication dates be damned. To my mind "Elijah" is an example of everything Curtis does well. His historical research is superior. His characters heartwarming. His prose funny and heart-wrenching in turns. Plus, any book where a character is famous for having upchucked onto Frederick Douglass when he was a baby is worth its weight in gold. Be prepared to meet your favorite Christopher Paul Curtis book as well.

Elijah Freeman's known for two things.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Jayson D. Pankin on August 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Christopher Paul Curtis has created another masterpiece in the realm of children's literature with his new novel, Elijah of Buxton. Like his previous books, Bud, Not Buddy and The Watson's go to Birmingham - 1963, Elijah of Buxton depicts the struggle of a young boy to understand and overcome the atrocities of racial injustice. Eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman takes readers on a journey to the final destination of the Underground Railroad, the Canadian settlement of Buxton. Like many contemporary children, Elijah enjoys a life of freedom characterized by normal childhood activities. As the first child born free to parents who were former slaves, Elijah is sheltered from the harsh realities of slavery. His only knowledge of slavery is obtained through secondhand accounts painfully recounted by residents of Buxton.

Young readers will laugh out loud as they accompany Elijah on hilarious adventures with Hoopsnakes, Moth Lions, and Chunking Stones. Students will feel empathy for Elijah as he realizes that he isn't the brightest bulb in Mr. Travis's class. Children struggling to grow into young adults will identify with the shame Elijah feels when he is teased and rebuked for being a "fragile boy". A vivid cast of characters peppers the book with spicy personality and captures the reader's interest more effectively Elijah's chunking stones capture fish. As Elijah interacts with former slaves, he realizes that the scars of slavery go deeper than the flesh. Elijah stumbles upon a hornet's nest of human nature when he utters a racial slur which causes a former slave to attack him. Throughout the book, glimpses of racism periodically appear, but Curtis skillfully encourages the reader to befriend Elijah so neither the reader or Elijah will face the atrocity of slavery alone.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Marcia Lindberg on October 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Once again, Curtis has written a lively, funny story with important and interesting history underneath. Many schoolkids study slavery and the Underground RR--this book provides a glimpse of "what happens next?"

This title would be a great follow-up/companion book to Shelley Pearsall's Trouble Don't Last--a first person narrative like this one--which follows a young boy (not unlike Elijah) who is trying to escape to Canada on the Underground RR. Many kids who read that book want to know what happens to Samuel in Canada? What kind of a life do the former slaves create? Do their hopes and dreams become reality? Curtis' book takes readers there.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Reading is my hobby on February 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'll tell you upfront I'm a fan of Christopher Paul Curtis, and his young and "fra-gile" (read gullible and easily scared) hero Elijah is my favorite.

If I have any criticism, it is that ELIJAH OF BUXTON Is a bit slow starting, but once the author hits his stride, watch out! Those who read this book will learn a lot about slavery and its after effects. By turns hilarious and heart-breaking, children who read it will realize that even the most "fra-gile" boy is capable of being a hero, and helping to make the world a better place.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Hendry on August 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A book that has won four awards, Elijah of Buxton tells of a time when Elijah Freeman begins to change from boy to man. In 1860 Buxton is a settlement of former slaves from the United States. Buxton is located in Canada not too far from Detroit, Michigan. Elijah has many boyish adventures at school and the woods around town. However, the presence of slavery in the United States haunts the town with fears that men will come to force the townspeople back into slavery.
Elijah of Buxton has memorable characters. Elijah Freeman is the main character in a story that tells about events when he was eleven. The son of former slaves, Elijah is known in town as the first free child born in Buxton, Canada. He is a good boy with a lot of fears and anxiety. His mother calls him "fra-gile" because of his fears and strong emotions. Elijah is adventurous and skilled at hunting and fishing, and by the end of the book he shows an inner strength and determination that will make his parents stop calling him "fra-gile." Elijah is responsible and easy to like. He seems a little too easy to fool, however. The Preacher is a fast-talking, strange man who is a little too slick to be completely trustworthy. He attempts and sometime succeeds at some very grand plans, but you always wonder if his plans will backfire. Mr. Leroy is an extremely hard worker who hopes to buy his family from their owner in Virginia. He takes a risk to bring his family back sooner, and Mr. Leroy's plans get Elijah tangled up in a dangerous journey. Elijah's mother and father are good, sensible parents who do their best to raise Elijah right. They will be surprised at the daring of their "fra-gile" boy.
I enjoyed Elijah's adventures in school and the woods around town.
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