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Elijah of Buxton [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Paul Curtis
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Master storyteller Christopher Paul Curtis's Newbery Honor novel, featuring his trademark humor, unique narrative voice, and new cover art--now in paperback!

Eleven-year-old Elijah lives in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves near the American border. He's the first child in town to be born free, and he ought to be famous just for that. Unfortunately, all that most people see is a "fra-gile" boy who's scared of snakes and talks too much. But everything changes when a former slave steals money from Elijah's friend, who has been saving to buy his family out of captivity in the South. Now it's up to Elijah to track down the thief--and his dangerous journey just might make a hero out of him, if only he can find the courage to get back home.


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’ first novel, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, was awarded both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor. His second novel, Bud, Not Buddy, won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award in 2000. He is also the author of the Golden Kite Award-winning Bucking the Sarge, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, and Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission. These titles are all available on audio from Listening Library.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buxton bound 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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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lauren's Review of Elijah of Buxton 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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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lively story and great combo with Trouble Don't Last 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Buxton's worth a trip 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read probably better for 11 or 12 and up 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Good book for teens and young adults easy to remember
Published 6 days ago by GrantC
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for kids
This book was greaT. It had adventure and mystery. I liked this book because the time setting was perfect for the book.
Published 26 days ago by 21mtucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you! book as described. arrived quickly and priced right!
Published 1 month ago by D Taddeo
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a great book for an 11 year old
This was a great book for an 11 year old. I bought it for my son because he had read and enjoyed the Watsons go to Birmingham by the same author. Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. Smythe
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book that will hold middle grades student's attention. Elijah is a very believable character and the book reveals a part of history that might remain obscured.
Published 3 months ago by CATLVR98
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I absolutely loved this book it was so very awesome and exciting. This book is one of the best that I have ever read now. I totally recommend this book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brandon Hamrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful
The story is powerful and beautifully written. I have 3 girls and it is a book they have read and re-read. Definitely a great book!
Published 4 months ago by Jennifer Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, moving, worthwhile
I recognized the author's name - Christopher Paul Curtis - from a novel we'd listened to and enjoyed a few years ago entitled Bud, Not Buddy.

This was a long listen. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lacey
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of a true masterpiece
I'm 66 years old and very few books have moved me as much as Elijah of Buxton. Through the simple eyes of a young 11 year old African American boy, a story is told with great humor... Read more
Published 5 months ago by shib
5.0 out of 5 stars Lesson plan
This is a great fiction book teachers can use to develop a better understanding of those times in history. Characters are likable and the story is written very well. Read more
Published 5 months ago by aryca harritt
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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.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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.

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