Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis.
Scholastic Press: NY, 2007.

My opinion of Elijah of Buxton is mixed. There is a quality of Curtis's that I truly enjoy. His writing is always engaging with characters that you know fully. The theme is always a conflict in life that has affected our past and still affects our present. There is a great story within the book. It starts way too slow, though. A reviewer at CleanReads noted that it took 2/3 of the story to get to the plot. I agree that this is true. For me this is too long. I was close to not finishing the book despite some of the entertaining details and my liking of the author.

The ending is great! I love that it is based on true events as well. The narrative is entertaining and gives a deep knowledge of Elijah and the free black community which is a haven for fugitive slaves. My two problems with the book are the short length of the plot and the fact that I dislike reading dialect. Not only is Elijah of Buxton's dialogue riddled with it, but so is the narrative. Maybe other people see it as richness of character and adding to the setting. I see it as unnecessary, and it disrupts the flow of the writing. The story has some wonderful moments (for ex. the difference and division between the US and Canada-both physically and in thought, the heartrending decision to save a child when Elijah wanted to do so much more), but it's not one of my favorites, and I don't think it deserves a Newbery. The Watsons Go To Birmingham is still my favorite of Curtis's books.
related-freedom, slavery, fugitive slaves, blacks, Canada, Canadian and American history, North Buxton, identity, heroes
RL=5th and up

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