I read the book, Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis. This book is the recipient of both a Newberry Medal and a Coretta Scott King award.
The story is told from the point of view of 11-year old Elijah Freeman as he recounts the events of his life in the year 1860. He is a typical student, son, and friend, but he was also the first child born out of slavery in the Buxton, Canada settlement for escaped and freed slaves. While he understands that this is an honor, Elijah doesn’t quite recognize what it meant to be a slave.
The novel chronicles Elijah’s humorous escapades with his friend Cooter and the old mule Flapjack, as he tries to overcome his “fra-gile” disposition by proving to his parents that he “ain’t no baby no more.” He accompanies the self-proclaimed Right Reverend Zephariah W. Connerly the Third to a peculiar traveling carnival and his eyes are opened to “the way flimflam” really works. He may have honed his stone-throwing skills, but when the disreputable preacher runs off with money that was supposed to buy Mr. Leroy’s family their freedom, Elijah faces the ultimate test: A life-threatening journey to America to catch the thief. He comes to realize the true horrors of slavery, but will he be able to return to the beautiful freedom that he had once taken for granted?
Although it looks a little thick, the print is large and the story moves very quickly. So don’t let the book’s size keep you from the joy of reading Elijah of Buxton!
(then I will read a short excerpt from the text)