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 p...moreI 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 before about the settlement of runaway slaves called Buxton in Canada.
I also really liked the characters, especially Elijah and his wonderful sense of humor. He makes a great narrator. A favorite "Elijah" quote that made me chuckle: "All the growned folks that hadn't never learnt to read nor write whilst they were 'slaved in America had to take lessons at the school house at night. Between cooking and cleaning and gardening and sewing and knitting and working the fields at harvesttime and helping out at the chopping bees and the raising bees and tending to her sheep and shearing 'em and gathering wool and carding it and spinning it, Ma had been lazy and was slacking off on her school lessons and they waren't sticking particular good."
In fact, I found myself marking the place of several great quotes:
Wisdom from Elijah's neighbor: "Mr. Leroy kept chomping and said, 'Fish eating's like anything else in life, Elijah. If you go at it 'specting something bad to happen, all you gunn do is draw that bad thing to you. You caint be timid 'bout nothing you do, you got to go at it like you 'specting good things to come out of it. If I's to worry 'bout bones choking me, it'd happen every time I et fish. Ain't nothing further from my mind.' Fish bones snapped in his mouth like dry twigs."
Wisdom from Elijah's Ma when comforting a neighbor who just found out that her husband had died: "Well, the body don't never endure, do it? But I hopes . . . naw, I knows that something inside all of us be so strong it caint be stopped. It fly on forever."
Wisdom from Elijah's Pa when they found out Mr. Leroy was conned out of a huge sum of money that was meant to buy his family out of slavery: "Let this here be a lesson to you. You caint let your wantings blind you to what's the truth. You always got to look at things the way they is, not the way you wish 'em to be."
I can see why Elijah of Buxton won so many awards, and I'm definitely not sorry I read it! But because of the issues mentioned above, I really can't give it more than three stars.(less)
Wow. Well-written, well-researched, and definitely deserving of the awards it has received. This is an amazing work of historical fiction by Laurie Ha...moreWow. Well-written, well-researched, and definitely deserving of the awards it has received. This is an amazing work of historical fiction by Laurie Halse Anderson. I feel like I've experienced Isabel's life along with her - and a very tough life it was as a slave in New York during the early part of the Revolutionary War. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the continuation of the story in Forge.(less)
When I was in high school, I did an extra credit report on Oppenheimer, "Little Boy," and "Fat Man." It was all new to me, and so interesting and horr...moreWhen I was in high school, I did an extra credit report on Oppenheimer, "Little Boy," and "Fat Man." It was all new to me, and so interesting and horrifying that I have always been very interested in that area of history. This is a work of historical fiction about the scientists who worked on the atomic bomb and their families. It is told from the point of view of the children, who were not given many details of the highly classified project and thus not many details make it into the story. The bomb is a looming presence in the story, though, only because the reader has knowledge that the characters do not.
Ultimately, the book is about its characters - who are written so well that I would immediately recognize them if I met them. Especially Dewey! What a great character! Not only do I really like her, but I'm so happy to find a girl protagonist who is good at math and likes to build and invent things. There aren't enough of those in children's literature. Not that I'm good at math, necessarily, but I want girls who ARE good at math and science to be encouraged.
I liked this book a lot, and highly recommend it!(less)
I wouldn't have predicted that I would enjoy a book featuring the Black Panthers so much! When I read the book summary before reading the book, I didn...moreI wouldn't have predicted that I would enjoy a book featuring the Black Panthers so much! When I read the book summary before reading the book, I didn't think it would be a book that I would relate to much at all. But now that I've read this, I can see why it has won so many awards. After reading this, I definitely know more than I did about the Black Panthers and the Civil Rights movement in California in 1968.
This is well-written in simple yet lyrical prose. The main characters feel very real. I particularly liked the narrator, Delphine. I'm the oldest in my family, too, so I definitely related with her. One character that left me baffled, though, was the girls' "crazy" poet mother, Cecile. The girls didn't understand her for the most part, either, so I think that's okay.
If you are looking for an award-winning historical fiction children's story dealing with Civil Rights, this is a great choice!(less)
I thought this was interesting while I was reading it, but I don't think I'll be able to remember much about it as time passes. Since I knew going in...moreI thought this was interesting while I was reading it, but I don't think I'll be able to remember much about it as time passes. Since I knew going in about the fantasy aspect of the story, I wasn't bothered by it and actually found it to be an interesting part of the story. I was also very interested in the author's note at the end which talked about parts that were historically accurate - such as the jackrabbit drive. I think I would have enjoyed this a lot if I would have read it again after reading the author's note.(less)
This was an interesting read, but the grandpa was so very unpleasant that he nearly ruined the book for me. I also didn't always like Robert, but his...moreThis was an interesting read, but the grandpa was so very unpleasant that he nearly ruined the book for me. I also didn't always like Robert, but his character flaws were understandable and did add some interest to the story. I really felt for Abel Hoffman, the German artist. This wasn't a top favorite, but worth reading. It was a Scott O'Dell award winner for 2001.(less)