Monday, October 15, 2007

Mock Newbery: Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Title: Elijah of Buxton
Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN-13: 978-0439023443
Starred review in: Booklist, Kirkus, PW

Review: I must confess that Curtis is one of my favorite authors and I am delighted to report that he does not disappoint. Elijah is the first free child born in the Canadian settlement, Buxton. At 11, he is all boy with a voice (in the vernacular) that rings true. Curtis does not shy away from portraying the brutality and prejudice of the time (1860) but it is tempered with the love and respect that the people of Buxton share. Elijah thinks with the naivete of a young boy backed by more than a little common sense and a keen eye for the world and people around him. This book will have you laughing and crying, joyous and outraged. The ending juxtaposes unimaginable horror with undeniable hope. Although Elijah is not a real person, Buxton is a real place and his story is the story of the people who lived there in freedom. This book is definitely in my top 10.

Review by: Debby K., Oradell


Anonymous said...

Worth reading, no make that required reading.Everyone should have to read the chapter on "familiarity breeds contempt".
All those hateful songwriters that use the n word should read Curtis's take on what an escaped slave would have to say. Powerful stuff, powerfully written.

BookWyrm said...

I second the required reading!
The story was engaging, powerfully written, and emotionally charged without getting too melodramatic and over the top. Curtis didn't shy away from some of the harsher realities and walked that fine line at the end between dispair and hope with grace and skill.