The book Elijah of Buxton shows life on a runaway slave settlement in the 1800’s with humor, drama and mystery. It also teaches that even people considered “fra-gile” can be courageous.
This is one of the Christopher Paul Curtis books I am giving away Friday for my Black History Month triple book giveaway. It is about an 11-year-old boy named Elijah, who lives on the settlement with people who have escaped to freedom. (Fun fact: Buxton is an actual place in Canada, across the border from Detroit, but the story is fiction.)
In Buxton, freedom is a big deal in. In fact, when someone escapes to the settlement, the residents eagerly ring a bell to signify “you are free!”
Elijah is the first child born into freedom on the settlement and he is also the best at chunking rocks. He is an awkward kid known for throwing up on Frederick Douglass and being scared of snakes. That’s why he has been given the label “fra-gile.”
Elijah decides to prove he is not the “fra-gile” boy people think he is by going on a dangerous journey to find money someone has stolen from one of his older friends. The man had been saving up money to buy his wife and kids out of slavery.
Even though it had tough topics, this book was really funny and had me laughing out loud in some parts! What I think Christopher Paul Curtis wanted us to know is that even in the darkest times, there is light. It also made me think about how lucky we are to have all of these privileges people who were enslaved could only dream of.
This book would probably appeal to audiences 8 and up. I give it four out of four roses!