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Elijah of Buxton

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,215 Ratings  ·  1,211 Reviews
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 in his hometown as the boy who made a memorable impression on Frederick Douglass. But things change when a former slave steals money from Elijah’s friend, who has been saving to buy his family out of captivity in t ...more
Audio CD, 8 pages
Published March 11th 2008 by Books on Tape (first published January 1st 2007)
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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
Jan 31, 2008 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kyle Kimmal
Mar 17, 2008 Kyle Kimmal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
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
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
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
Feb 13, 2008 Josephine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit
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
Sep 28, 2011 Mary Hoch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 02, 2009 Bob Redmond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Oct 03, 2008 babyhippoface rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
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 liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Morgan Scott
Sep 08, 2015 Morgan Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elijah Freeman is the first child to be born free in the settlement of runaway slaves known as Buxton (Raleigh), Canada. He's known for his excellence in catching fish and rock chunking, along with his unfortunate "fra-gile"persona. Elijah's fragile nature is put to the test when a freed slave thieves the money Elijah's work partner Mr. Leroy had been saving to buy his families freedom. It's up to Elijah to catch the thief, but his journey comes with many challenges. Will he have the courage to ...more
Mar 15, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
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
Mar 15, 2015 Stacy Countee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-fic
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
Mar 05, 2014 D.C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2015 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fourth-grade, newbery
This has been my favorite kids' book so far this summer. And my favorite book by author Christopher Paul Curtis, author of 'Bud, Not Buddy' and 'The Watsons go to Birmingham'. Set in the 1860s, Elijah Freeman is the first child to be born in the free settlement of Buxton in Canada. He confronts the historical issues of slavery and the messages about racism and bravery resonate 150 years later. Prior to reading this, I knew nothing of Buxton and now realize that this is something I should know mo ...more
L Frost
I wish I could give the first half of the book one rating and give the second half a different rating. The book has a slow start and doesn't seem to really have any sort of plot. It seems more like a collection of short stories from the life of 11 year old Elijah. As the book continues, more humor is found in the stories perhaps as the reader becomes more familiar with the characters. Even when it shifts to having more of a plot in the second half and developing a more serious tone, the author s ...more
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
Benji Martin
Jun 25, 2013 Benji Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how Christopher Paul Curtis does it. Every single time he writes a book, he manages to tell a deep, heavy, meaningful story, but at the same time he keeps it light-hearted and hilarious. Before I start a CPC book, I prepare myself for a whole lot of laughter, and some gut-wrenching crying as well.

This is my favorite of his books (and that's saying a ton. I love Budd not Buddy, The Mighty Miss Malone and The Watsons go to Birmingham.) I've read lots of short stories, picture books an
Oct 20, 2009 Alisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 09, 2011 Neziah Whitson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2012 06mirandah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 10, 2012 L12_tomj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 10, 2010 Dena rated it liked it
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
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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
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