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Elijah of Buxton

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  12,942 ratings  ·  1,620 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 in his hometown as
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Scholastic Press (first published August 29th 2007)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  12,942 ratings  ·  1,620 reviews

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Kyle Kimmal
Mar 10, 2008 rated it really liked it

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
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
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
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
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Phil Jensen
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Oh, Christopher Paul Curtis, you had me at this description of hoopsnake poisoning:

You swell so much that after exactly seven and a half days the pressure in your body becomes too great and you explode like an overheated steam boiler! In seconds your stomach and your lungs and your other entrails are flung around you for miles

Then Curtis seals the deal with a two page long section combining my two favorite things: Frederick Douglass and vomit jokes.

Clearly, Curtis has upped his comedy game. He h
Fred Kohn
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-people
I mistakenly thought that this was the author's Newbery medal-winning book. Did I "waste" time reading this when I had intended it to be credited towards my project of reading all the Newbery medal books? I don't think so! I enjoyed every page. ...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
Reviews May Vary
I loved this story of Eli, the first free-born black child of Buxton, a black settlement in Canada. He gets into some little trouble and then some big trouble. The audiobook is a great read. This is probably considered middle grade.
Luisa Knight
I really enjoyed this!

The plot is original and the character's journey is one that would be hard to guess; something which I really appreciate. The character development is exceptional too. You really come to feel for the characters, agonizing with them in their guilt, foolishness, pain, and growth. It's a story that will stick with you because the lessons are poignant.

I would definitely recommend this be read by a more mature reader or as a family read-aloud so you can discuss the issues/life
Dee Dee G
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So many gems in this book. The one that stood out was the use of the N word and why no one should say it. I can’t stand that word but I know many who use it out of love, insults or embracing. Let’s just say that if a young person reads this book they will get what the big deal is about using certain language. Overall an enjoyable book with a lot of history. Some parts sad and some parts funny. When you think the story is going one way it goes another.
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Bob Redmond
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
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
May 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-school
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
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the reasons I love reading Newbery Award winners is that I learn so much. This especially true of this book. I learned of the community of Buxton in Canada, made of runaway slaves. The story adds so much to ones understanding. Check out Chapter 7! This is the author of Buddy, Not Buddy one of my favorite Newbery Medal Winners. This book equals it. It is slow starting but continue on and you will be rewarded. Also there is an author’s note that tells you all about the National Historical S ...more
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
L Frost
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Oct 28, 2007 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
Amanda Behrends
Aug 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: libs-642
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
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Elijah of Buxton is one of the best young adults novels I have ever read. The author does an excellent job of weaving historical facts into the story, giving readers a raw glimpse into what those that managed to escape the cruel grip of slavery must have felt. It gives you a new appreciation for the resiliency of Black people who are still standing despite all the terrorism we have endured.

This book made me laugh and cry. I felt so many emotions ranging from contemplative to joy to utter despai
Samuel Graham
*Listened to audiobook version performed by Mirron Willis.

Elijah is an 11-year-old black boy in 1849. He is the first free-born person in the settlement of Buxton, Canada, where many runaway slaves escaped to freedom just across the U.S.-Canada border from Detroit, Michigan. Elijah is often identified as a “fra-gile” boy, which would be an interesting vocabulary study with students as the word takes on a more and more nuanced meaning as we get to know him. Elijah is sensitive as he empathizes wi
Apr 21, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Mary L.
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Toby Meredith
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Anna  Zehr
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: seventh graders
Elijah of Buxton is set in Buxton, Ontario, a settlement on Erie for formerly enslaved people. Christopher Paul Curtis weaves a powerful story, using the comic relief of Elijah's (Huckleberry Finnesque) shenanigans in the first half of the book to give the history of Buxton before Elijah along with the reader experience the full impact of slavery's devastation on human beings. The heavy topics around slavery are not sugar coated, yet are handled in an age appropriate manner.

This had a slow start to it, but I was hooked near the end.

Popsugar Challenge 2020 - A book set in a country beginning with "C" (Canada)
I listened to the audiobook read by Mirron Willis and I cried. What a powerful, funny, charming, poignant book.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Barb Middleton
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn't really like Elijah at first because he's so gullible that he's an idiot. Many will find this funny but I found it annoying after several chapters; however, in typical Curtis character development, Elijah becomes more than annoying and grows into a thoughtful person who starts thinking for himself. I wasn't sure where the plot was going at first but it becomes clear by the end as the author has some surprising twists and a look at the horrors of slavery. It requires a mature reader. ...more
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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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