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Elijah of Buxton

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  8,388 ratings  ·  1,148 reviews
Newbery Medalist and CSK Award winner Christopher Paul Curtis's debut middle-grade/young-YA novel for Scholastic features his trademark humor, compelling storytelling, and unique narrative voice.

Eleven-year-old Elijah is the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from Detroit. He's best known for having made a m
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Scholastic Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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Newbery Medal Honor Books
27th out of 312 books — 291 voters
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Best Children's Historical Fiction
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Community Reviews

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Jan 31, 2008 Julie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 4th grade and up
Recommended to Julie by: Newbery Honor and CSK
I laughed and cried. Elijah became flesh and blood to me, and of course, I learned a little more about slavery and what it means to be free. It took a page or two for me to get accustomed to the dialect. I kept waiting for the library copy to come in, but went ahead and bought it. It's one worth owning.
Despite that I liked Curtis’s lively, colorful, convincing portrayal of everyday life in Buxton, I felt that Elijah of Buxton had a slow start. However, towards the middle of the novel, when Curtis began weaving individual Buxton residents' escape and slave stories into Elijah’s daily experiences, I slowly came to love the book. As I was reading the novel on a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) bus, I found myself tearing up, suddenly struck by what Elijah and his mother would call being “fra-gile- ...more
Kyle Kimmal

The boys picked to read Elijah of Buxton for this month’s discussion. The librarian asked me how I tricked them into reading an historical novel. I told her it was my wit and good looks. I think it has more to do with the cover. Anyhow, some have loved it, and some have struggled. Third graders are so used to being told to make sure words are spelled correctly that when they read a novel with dialect that is different it takes them out of their comfort zone.

On Friday during Independent Reading I
Jonathan Peto
Elijah is free born, as are some of the other children around him, but the adults in his community, Buxton, are former slaves. Other than that, except for a few details here and there, such as when some newly escaped slaves arrive, the story is mainly a pleasant character study with an interesting, folksy, historical setting, though that is done so well that the settlement of Buxton feels like a character too. Elijah fishes, takes care of horses, attends school, visits a traveling vaudeville sho ...more
A story set in a Canadian settlement of runaway slaves. Elijah was the first child born there, thus the first person born free, living in the community. The book at 340 pages is a bit long for this kind of novel and though there are many small incidents, the major incident in the book doesn't happen until the last quarter of the book. I was waiting for something to happen. I suppose it's a deliberately different construction for a young adult novel. Because of its length, I probably won't put th ...more
I had a hard time deciding what to rate this book. It isn't very action-packed or exciting. In fact, the events from the book description don't take place until the last 100 pages of the story. For the first 240 pages I felt like I was waiting for the real story to begin.

Also, the heavy use of dialect makes the reading a bit tedious. I hope I never have to read "gunn" used for "going to" or even "gonna" again!

On the other hand, I was fascinated with the setting. I learned a lot I hadn't known be
It's going to be hard for me to write about this book without resorting to blatant gushing, but I'll do my best. Elijah of Buxton is one of those books that kept popping up on all the lists this year. When it won both the Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award, I thought I'd better pick it up and give it a shot.

Now I had read Christopher Paul Curtis' Bud, Not Buddy when it won the Newbery Medal in 2000, and I liked it quite a bit, but I have to admit I wasn't completely blown away. I did
Mary Hoch
Elijah is the first free-born baby on the Buxton Settlement in Canada. The story takes place in 1860 and tells the story of Elijah at age 11. Buxton represents hope for former slaves and those trying to reach freedom. As Elijah comes of ages, he tries to overcome the fragility of childhood. He sets out to help his friend, Mr. Leroy, buy his family out of slavery. They journey to America after someone they thought they could trust runs off with Mr. Leroy’s money. On this journey, Elijah shows cou ...more
Amanda Behrends
Summary - Elijah of Buxton tells the story of Elijah, the first free-born child born in the settlement of former slaves in Buxton Canada. The story details the experiences Elijah has as he comes of age in the settlement and learns about the lives of his parents and the other former slaves in the settlement.
Curriculum Connection - I would use this book in connection with United States Studies until 1865, particularly SOL USI.8 and USI.9 to help the students better understand and connect with the
Bob Redmond
Curtis, in Newberry-Award winning style, tells the story of a young boy growing up in the (historically real) all-black community of Buxton, Ontario, Canada, in 1859. The book is completely absorbing, and one forgets immediately that this is a book for young adults or grade schoolers. Curtis writes with such a clarity of purpose and faithfulness to his story that there's no question of whether the book is merely edifying.

Elijah, the first boy born in the community, is 11 when this story begins.

I have nothing but excellent things to say about this book, which is top notch historical-fiction for all ages covering the final era of American slavery. This was one of the books I recently read and discussed with my 11 year old daughter for educational progress.

When she selected it, I thought that it would be a good lead in for the Autobiography of Frederick Douglass (which is our next joint read). What we got out of this read instead was so much more than preparation! This is such a solid b
Okay, I'm sold. It took me months to finally getting around to reading this one, and that's too bad, because I could have been recommending it all this time. It's fantastic.

Elijah Freeman was the first child born free in the Buxton settlement of Canada. His life is made up of family, school, chores, and fishing, and although he has heard stories about life in captivity from the former slaves around him, he leads a very different life. When an unscrupulous, self-proclaimed preacher makes off with
Jun 21, 2008 Sunny rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults
I wish I had a book club to discuss this book with. Spencer, I think, has opted not to read this one. Darn. So, if anyone chooses to read this book I'd love to talk about it with you!

The whole first part of the book wasn't very interesting. I really had no desire to keep reading it. I could've put it down and forgotten all about it - except that I kept thinking, "This won the NEWBERRY AWARD! Come on! This has to get good at some point!" Finally, towards the end it does get really good. But i th
Toby Meredith
1. When i first found the book I found the cover interesting, and bold. I also noticed the awards it had gotten from many world author organisations.
2. I thought it was a really good book as it showed emotion and a true tale of friendship while being a sad story overall.
3. That with a true heart, comes great courage.
4. I found elijah a kind-hearted character.He was described brave, and a good friend.
He is known for his great impressions and is a funny but silly boy who is always looking for tr
6th grade required reading for Campbell & Nathan

This book started off slow and I thought it would not be a plot driven novel but a story of the times. The times are late in the 1800's in Canada, just north of Detroit between slavery and freedom in the US. Elijah is a 12-year old living in Buxton and is the first born free person to live there. Elijah's parents consider him "fragile" but he most definitely is not. Several characters enter the story and become important and the book ends up te
Stacy Countee
Elijah was born into a world of freedom. He was the first born of his family to begin life in Buxton, Canada. Elijah never knew of the cruel life that existed outside of his community, until he left to buy his family out of slavery. On his journey, at the young age of eleven, he was forced to grow up fast. He had been lied to, cheated and taken advantage of by some people in his life. However, he was never discouraged and continued his journey to free his parents. Along the way, he ended up help ...more
This was an immediate 4-star from the first few paragraphs, when Curtis drew me in once more with his stellar writing that crackles and explodes like Rice Krispies. It's not as funny as Watsons Go To Birmingham, but it still has a couple hilarious scenes and boatloads of humorous dialogue. The humor in this book, however, almost always features something heartbreaking and sad as well. Sometimes, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. I loved the historical details, which actually nailed the real ...more
I didn't expect to like this book at all. It started VERY slow; nothing much happened until about the fourth-last chapter. And Elijah, the protagonist, was so annoying and stupid, and for most of time I just wanted to slap him; HARD.
But then things started moving faster and the last chapter, or rather the ending scenes, left me sobbing. The moment between the slave woman and her child, and when she gives the child to Elijah, was absolutely heartbreaking and beautifully written. I felt desperate
James Govednik
I listened to this book on audio CD, and it was fantastic. Mirron Willis does a great job of bringing Elijah and all the other numerous characters to life. Christopher Paul Curtis's story is informative, moving and uplifting. We get a glimpse of life in Buxton, a settlement of escaped slaves in Canada. Elijah is the first child born free in Buxton. I loved the way the historical details were woven into the story, from the school routine to daily chores to daring escapes from the brutality of sla ...more
This was a very interesting read. I generally love historical fiction novels, and this was no exception. Elijah is an 11-year-old boy living in Buxton, a settlement made up of freed slaves from America. He was the first child born "free". It is told in first person, Elijah being the voice. The language used by Elijah and the other characters seemed very authentic, yet sometimes hard to grasp in the beginning. However, soon I found myself more comfortable with the phrasing and vocabulary and coul ...more
This seemed like an epic of a story! Eleven-year-old Elijah is the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves. This book is story after story of Elijah's escapades, discoveries, and journeys - some humorous and light-hearted, and some very dangerous and life-changing. His mother has always accused Elijah of being fra-gile because he cried a lot, and so this is a coming-of-age story, too, as Elijah tries to prove himself time and time again. The two chapters t ...more
Neziah Whitson
In my opinion Elijah of Buxton is a very adventures book. The setting takes place in Buxton Canada, a settlement of runaways slaves who have escaped from slavery. This book tells about the time of slavery. In particular this book is about a boy named Elijah, who was the fist free born slave of Buxton Canada. Elijah's home life was blue sky's and sunshine the majority of the time. However that all changed when a former slave steals Elijah's friend Mr. Leroy's money, which he saved up to buy his f ...more
Elijah of Buxton
by: Christopher Paul Curtis

Review: Elijah is an eleven-year old boy living in Buxton, Canada, on a plantation for free slaves and their families. He was the first son born into freedom in his town. Elijah and his best friend, Cooter get to go to school and try their best. Elijah is very well known to the people in his community as a "fra-gile" boy who is scared of snakes, but when Elijah finds out that a man has stolen his friends money Elijah knows he will have to be brave. Elij
Elijah is a “fragile” boy. After playing a practical joke on his elders, his mother repays the effort by having Elijah pull out a snake from a cookie jar. The boy runs screaming through the forest, and we are exposed to why his family has given him this tag. Elijah as the first free born black child in the Canadian settlement of Buxton, Ontario has much to learn about the complexities of adult life. Upon catching 10 fish, the local preacher uses his authority and Elijah's ignorance of the word “ ...more
This story takes place in the early 1860's just before the Civil War. Elijah is the main character and the narrator of the story. He was the first person born in the Buxton, Ontario settlement where runaway slaves would hide; therefore, he was not considered a slave/runaway slave. He is a very gullible 11 year old and consistently tries to prove that he is becoming a man despite his silliness and frequent mistakes. He is constantly called "fragile" by his mother and other people in the town of B ...more
L-Crystal Wlodek
Elijah of Buxton is recommended for children in grades 6-8. I read this book in the audio book format, which was an Odyssey Award Honor book in 2009. This book is focused around Elijah Buxton, the first child born into freedom in Buxton, a settlement in Canada of runaway slaves. He is best known for his ability to throw rocks. He is also known to be “fragile”, but that changes when he goes on journey to America to find a thief who steels money from a friend who is trying to save money to buy his ...more
Reading Level: Middle school and older
Elijah is an eleven year old boy - the first child born into freedom in Buxton Canada. Buxton is a settlement of former escaped slaves situated just over the border from Detroit. It is 1860 and Elijah finds himself helping a man . . . a former slave who gives all his money to the dishonest preacher who promises to take the money to get the man's slave family safely back to Buxton. When the preacher steals the money, Elijah goes after him into slave country a
Oct 28, 2007 Eugenia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Booklist review: *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. Narrat ...more
Apr 07, 2008 Jodysegal rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grades 4 and Up
Elijah is the first freeborn child in Buxton, Canada, a small community just across the border from Michigan which was settled by escaped and freed slaves from the United States. To eleven year old Elijah, whose story this is, that means bragging rights over Emma, the second freeborn child. But over the course of this powerful and very moving story, freedom comes to mean something entirely different to Elijah.

Kirkus: "Readers, young and old, will finish and say, 'This is one of the best books I
Mar 15, 2008 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
***children's book--This is a fantastic book and a surprise sobbing end. I cried my eyes out.

It is a historical fictional novel taking place in about 1860 during slaving times. It's about a Canadian settlement of slaves that made it to freedom. It really opened my eyes to the tragedy of the cause. It is graphic at the end of the book, and has a startling, but uplifting ending. It leaves you with the message there can always be something better--if not for you, then your children.

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Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan on May 10, 1953 to Dr. Herman Elmer Curtis, a chiropodist, and Leslie Jane Curtis, an educator. The city of Flint plays an important role in many of Curtis's books. One such example is Bucking the Sarge, which is about a fifteen year old boy named Luther T. Ferrel, who is in a running battle with his slum-lord mother. Curtis is an alumnus of the University of Mic ...more
More about Christopher Paul Curtis...
Bud, Not Buddy The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 The Mighty Miss Malone Bucking the Sarge The Madman of Piney Woods

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