Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
Newbery Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis brings his trademark humor and heart to the story of a boy struggling to do right in the face of history's cruelest evils.
Twelve-year-old Charlie is down on his luck: His dad just died, the share crops are dry, and Cap'n Buck — the most fearsome man in Possum Moan, South Carolina — has come to collect a debt. Fearing for his life, Charlie strikes a deal with Cap'n Buck and agrees to track down some thieves. It's not too bad of a bargain for Charlie... until he comes face-to-face with the fugitives and discovers that they escaped slavery years ago and have been living free in Detroit. Torn between his guilty conscience and his survival instinct, Charlie needs to figure out his next move — and soon. It's only a matter of time before Cap'n Buck catches on...
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.
- Short-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award
- Winner, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
- Commended, The Horn Book Fanfare - Best Books
- Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Starred Selection
- Commended, School Library Journal Best Books
- Commended, Parents' Choice Award, Recommended Seal
- Short-listed, Governor General's Award for Young People's Literature - Text
- Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year
- Commended, Kirkus Best Books of the Year
- Commended, New York Public Library Best Books
- Short-listed, National Book Award, Young People's Literature
Praise for The Journey of Little Charlie:Winner, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, 2019Short-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award, 2020Short-listed, Snow Willow Award (Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice), 2020Short-listed, National Book Award, Young People's Literature Category, 2018Short-listed, Governor General's Award for Children's Literature - Text, 2018Commended, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, 2018Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year, 2018Commended, New York Public Library Best Books, 2018Commended, The Horn Book Fanfare - Best Books , 2018Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Starred Selection, 2018Commended, School Library Journal Best Books, 2018Commended, Parents' Choice Award - Gold, 2018"Curtis's books occupy that all too rare space in middle grade lit; they're school curriculum standbys that are also crowd pleasers... Curtis's ninth novel is among his most suspenseful... Curtis is also a master at shifting tones -- and so for every nail-biting moment, there's a note of goofy joy or slapstick humor... 'Little Charlie' is a keeper: Raised in poverty, ignorance, and racism, Charlie develops his own moral compass -- and becomes brave enough to act on it." -- New York Times Book Review* "Curtis portrays Charlie as a product of his white Southern upbringing and values, skillfully conveying how his widening view of the world leads to a change in his thinking. Written in persuasive dialect and piloted by a hero who finds the courage to do what he knows is right, Curtis's unsparing novel pulls no punches as it illuminates an ugly chapter of American history." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review* "Newbery winner Curtis once again successfully draws on the stories about enslaved people who found freedom in Canada... A characteristically lively and complex addition to the historical fiction of the era from Curtis." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "A thought-provoking book from a master storyteller." -- School Library Journal, starred review* "Curtis's ability to intertwine humor and tragedy, change pacing effectively, and find hope in the direst of circumstances is masterful... Readers will be riveted by the conclusion... if they can see the words through their tears." -- The Horn Book, starred review* "This is an old story demanding to be told a new way, and master storyteller Curtis proves just the one to do it." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review"Ultimately inspiring, but never simplistic, this should spark plenty of discussion." -- Booklist"Will resonate with readers for its timeless themes of justice, self-awareness and questions of right and wrong... modern parallels abound, offering a clear gateway for discussions that are painfully important today." -- BookPage"This is a compelling and ugly story for middle-grade readers told with genuine care... Christopher Paul Curtis does it again." -- Historical Novel Society"The latest marvelous novel of the African-American experience from acclaimed author Christopher Paul Curtis" -- The Buffalo News