Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
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 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 the South. Elijah embarks on a dangerous journey to America in pursuit of the thief, and he discovers firsthand the unimaginable horrors of the life his parents fled -- a life from which he'll always be free, if he can find the courage to get back home.
About the author
Christopher Paul Curtis was born and reared in Flint, Michigan. After high school graduation, he worked on the assembly line of the Fisher Body Plant/Flint Plant No. 1 and graduated from the Flint branch of the University of Michigan. His first book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963, received a Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor book citation in 1996, and Bud, Not Buddy received the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award in 2000.
His 2007 book Elijah of Buxton won a Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2008. "This novel came to me in a way that was far different than any other," states Curtis. "From the word 'go' Elijah and I became close friends. When I'd go to the library to write, it was as if he were anxiously waiting for me, waiting to tell about his life, his worries, his adventues."
Christopher Paul Curtis lives with his wife and two children in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
- Commended, Today's Parent 100 best Canadian kids' books of all time
- Short-listed, Red Cedar Award (BC Young Readers' Choice)
- Short-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award
- Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Children's Choice)
- Short-listed, OLA Red Maple Award, Fiction
- Commended, White Ravens Selection (International Youth Library)
- Winner, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
- Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
- Commended, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
- Commended, Newbery Honor Book
- Winner, Coretta Scott King Award (Author)
- Winner, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
- Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award
- Commended, Notable Books for a Global Society, International Reading Association (IRA)
- Commended, Canadian Library Association Book of the Year For Children
- Short-listed, IODE Canada Violet Downey Award
- Commended, Chicago Public Library - Children's Books for Year-Round Gift Giving
- Commended, Booklist Editors' Choices
- Long-listed, Governor General's Award for Young People's Literature - Text
- Commended, Book Links Lasting Connections
- Commended, Kirkus Best Books
- Commended, New York Public Library 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing
- Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year
"As in his previous novels, Curtis is a master at balancing the serious and the lighthearted... His latest book is another natural award candidate and makes an excellent case, in a story positively brimming with both truth and sense, for the ability of historical fiction to bring history to life." -- New York Times Book Review"Here's a pre-Civil War history lesson wrapped in an adventure story." -- USA Today"Curtis has created a vivid setting that is easy to imagine. When the action begins, you'll want to race through the pages." -- The Washington Post* "This is Curtis's best novel yet, and no doubt many readers, young and old, will finish and say, 'This is one of the best books I have ever read.'" -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "Many readers drawn to the book by humor will find themselves, at times, on the edges of their seats in suspense and, at others, moved to tears. A fine, original novel from a gifted storyteller." -- Booklist, starred review* "This arresting, surprising novel of reluctant heroism is about nothing less than nobility." -- The Horn Book, starred review* "Curtis's talent for dealing with painful periods of history with grace and sensitivity is as strong as ever." -- School Library Journal, starred review"Elijah of Buxton is sure to become a classic -- for readers of all ages." -- BookPage"The Newbery Medal judges should just go ahead and put Christopher Paul Curtis on speed dial." -- The Christian Science Monitor"Curtis is a genius storyteller..." -- Detroit Free Press