Elijah of Buxton
Elijah, the first free-born child in a Canadian community of former slaves in 1860, doesn't have many worries, except for some teasing from his parents. Soon, though, he is drawn into more serious concerns, following a disreputable preacher to recover money for a neighbor, who is hoping to rescue his family from slavery. Elijah's journey opens his eyes to many different kinds of people, as well as the horrors of enslavement, and he grows from a child to a young man over the course of the story.
Curtis writes with a distinctive voice, and Elijah's character begins as a lighthearted, somewhat clueless boy who takes readers with him on his journey to adulthood through this important story. It has strong examples of adult role models for young people - good ones, scheisters, and those in between. This book includes some disturbing, mature content - probably too much for most fifth graders. It is a powerful text worth discussing in depth.
"You think it ain't choke up with the same kind of hate and disrespect it has when they say it?"
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