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Elijah of Buxton (Scholastic Gold)

by Christopher Paul Curtis

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19th century, prejudice & racism
list price: $9.99
also available: Paperback
published: 2012
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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Elijah of Buxton

In his latest novel, the Newbury Awardwinning author Christopher Paul Curtis paints a memorable picture of life in 1849 in the black settlement of Buxton, Ontario. The reader follows the humorous yet suspenseful adventures of the gullible 11-year-old narrator, Elijah, in the newlyformed community that was a sanctuary for southern American slaves.

Related in a vivid, comical dialect, Elijah’s everyday routine exposes the relationships, personalities and values of the people of Buxton whose commonality is surviving slavery. The kind-hearted narrator is a celebrity of sorts as he is the first child born in Buxton, yet Elijah is plagued with the label of ‘fra-gile’— a label his mother constantly gives her only child.

It is important to note there are several violent, yet realistic, scenes which depict the brutal consequences endured by slaves. However, Curtis highlights that there is hope after such violence, as the villagers politely respect each other and their past painful experiences, no matter how tragic.

Christopher Paul Curtis shines as a fine storyteller. His compassionate novel is a suitable class read aloud for junior grades and intelligently challenges such an important historical event. Elijah of Buxton could inspire a class field trip or a website visit to Buxton National Historic Site and Museum to move beyond this rich novel.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2008. Vol.31 No.1.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Elijah of Buxton

Elijah is a firstgeneration freeborn child from Buxton, Ontario. When the town’s corrupt preacher steals money intended to buy the freedom of slaves still trapped in the U.S., Elijah sets off for nearby Detroit in pursuit of the thief.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

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  • Commended, Today's Parent 100 best Canadian kids' books of all time
  • Short-listed, Red Cedar Award (BC Young Readers' Choice)
  • Short-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award
  • Short-listed, OLA Red Maple Award, Fiction
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Children's Choice)
  • Commended, White Ravens Selection (International Youth Library)
  • Commended, Newbery Honor Book
  • Winner, Coretta Scott King Award (Author)
  • Commended, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
  • Commended, Notable Books for a Global Society, International Reading Association (IRA)
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Winner, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
  • Winner, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
  • Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award
  • Commended, Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children
  • Commended, Booklist Editors' Choices
  • Commended, Kirkus Best Books
  • Commended, Chicago Public Library - Children's Books for Year-Round Gift Giving
  • Commended, Governor General's Award for Children's Literature - Text
  • Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year
  • Short-listed, IODE Canada Violet Downey Award
  • Commended, Book Links Lasting Connections
  • Commended, New York Public Library 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing
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Elijah of Buxton, recipient of the Newbery Honor and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. This edition includes exclusive bonus content!

Eleven-year-old Elijah lives in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves near the American border. Elijah's the first child in town to be born free, and he ought to be famous just for that -- not to mention for being the best at chunking rocks and catching fish. Unfortunately, all that most people see is a "fra-gile" boy who's scared of snakes and tends to talk 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.

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Contributor notes

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."

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About the Author

Christopher Paul Curtis

Christopher Paul Curtis was awarded both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor for his debut book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963, and won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award for his second book, Bud, Not Buddy. Mr. Curtis is also the author of the Golden Kite Award-winning Bucking the Sarge, as well as Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission, and the Newbery Honor book Elijah of Buxton.
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