Elijah of Buxton

I’m probably one of the last people to read ELIJAH OF BUXTON, the Newbery Honor winning novel by Christopher Paul Curtis, but this weekend . . . that’s what I did. What a voice Curtis has developed for his Elijah. From the moment the novel begins you are interested in the character. And, I just read in “Booklist” that the novel has been made into a CD (Listening Library, read by Mirron Willis) and that it received a star review. That’s a CD I’m looking forward to hearing.

ELIJAH OF BUXTON also received the Coretta Scott King Award. The award is “given to African American authors and illustrator for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions. The Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream. The award is designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.” To learn more about the award and to read a list of past recipients, go to the American Library Association’s website at www.ala.org.

I say this frequently, but it always surprises me how much I learn while reading a children’s book. I was intrigued by the historical facts Curtis reveals in his Author’s Note. I particularly liked learning about the Liberty Bell and how it was rung whenever a newly freed person reached the Settlement. I confess: I like to read the Author’s Note before I read the book and then reread it when I complete it.

Christopher Paul Curtis received the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award for BUD, NOT BUDDY the year I was on the committee. It makes me even more interested in his success as a writer. Info about the award: “Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Awards are given for an author’s first or second published book written for children or young adults (ages birth to 17 years). Awards are given for fiction and nonfiction in each of three categories: primary, intermediate, and young adult. Books from any country and in any language published for the first time” are considered. For a list of past winners visit the International Reading Association’s website at www.reading.org.