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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: eBook
published: 2009
publisher: Scholastic Inc
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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, OLA Red Maple Award, Fiction
  • Short-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Children's Choice)
  • Commended, White Ravens Selection (International Youth Library)
  • Winner, Coretta Scott King Award (Author)
  • Winner, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
  • Commended, Canadian Library Association Book of the Year For Children
  • Commended, Notable Books for a Global Society, International Reading Association (IRA)
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Commended, Newbery Honor Book
  • Commended, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
  • Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award
  • Winner, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
  • Commended, Kirkus Best Books
  • Short-listed, IODE Canada Violet Downey Award
  • Commended, Booklist Editors' Choices
  • Long-listed, Governor General's Award for Young People's Literature - Text
  • Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year
  • Commended, Book Links Lasting Connections
  • Commended, Chicago Public Library - Children's Books for Year-Round Gift Giving
  • Commended, New York Public Library 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing
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Master storyteller Christopher Paul Curtis's Newbery Honor novel, featuring his trademark humor and unique narrative voice, is now part of the Scholastic Gold line!


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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Editorial Review

"As in his previous novels, Curtis is a master at balancing the serious and the lighthearted... His latest book is another natural award candidate and makes an excellent case, in a story positively brimming with both truth and sense, for the ability of historical fiction to bring history to life." -- New York Times Book Review"Here's a pre-Civil War history lesson wrapped in an adventure story." -- USA Today"Curtis has created a vivid setting that is easy to imagine. When the action begins, you'll want to race through the pages." -- The Washington Post* "This is Curtis's best novel yet, and no doubt many readers, young and old, will finish and say, 'This is one of the best books I have ever read.'" -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "Many readers drawn to the book by humor will find themselves, at times, on the edges of their seats in suspense and, at others, moved to tears. A fine, original novel from a gifted storyteller." -- Booklist, starred review* "This arresting, surprising novel of reluctant heroism is about nothing less than nobility." -- The Horn Book, starred review* "Curtis's talent for dealing with painful periods of history with grace and sensitivity is as strong as ever." -- School Library Journal, starred review"Elijah of Buxton is sure to become a classic -- for readers of all ages." -- BookPage"The Newbery Medal judges should just go ahead and put Christopher Paul Curtis on speed dial." -- The Christian Science Monitor"Curtis is a genius storyteller..." -- Detroit Free Press

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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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