Tag Archives: christopher paul curtis

New Book Wednesday – It’s a Two-fer

So, today I have a new book and a “classic” book. But they go together, so I didn’t feel I could do one without the other. And they’re both from one of my favorite authors.

cpcSo, the “classic” in this pair is Elijah of Buxton. In this story (set, I think, in the 1860s), Elijah is born free in Buxton, Canada, a community of freed slaves. When someone steals the money his best friend was saving to buy his family out of slavery, Elijah travels to the United States to try to catch the thief. On his journey, he learns exactly what his parents went through to get out of slavery.

The “new” book is The Madman of Piney Woods. It’s a companion book to Elijah, which means that it’s set in the same “world,” but you don’t need to have read the first to appreciate and enjoy the second (kind of like Chains and Forge). This is set in the same town as Elijah, but about 40 years later (and Elijah apparently has a small part). In this book Benji and Red are two very different boys, who really aren’t friends, but who have a lot in common. Most importantly, they’ve both had an experience with the Madman of Piney Woods and want to investigate more: Benji from a journalists’ perspective and Red from a scientist’s.

I haven’t read either book yet (although I did just download the audio for Elijah and requested the audio of Madman as I was writing this), but I have not doubt that they are AWESOME. Christopher Paul Curtis is one of my favorite writers and I have never been disappointed in any of his books. One review of Madman I read said that this is really a buddy story, similar to Tom Sawyer. And I can see where a comparison to Mark Twain would be totally on the mark. Curtis writes believable, relatable, funny characters.

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Books for Black History Month

For Black History Month, I thought I’d focus on some African-American authors. One of my all-time favorites is Christopher Paul Curtis.
Luther T. Farrell is under the rule of his mother, a.k.a. The Sarge. He does a lot of work at the slum housing and group homes that she owns. At 15, he’s got a fake driver’s license because he’s expected to drive the group home residents around. Meanwhile, he’s got to defend his science fair title against someone with whom he might be in love and his mom is making him share a room with a strange old guy known as Chester X. Luckily, his best friend, Sparky, has a plan to get them out of Flint once and for all. But how much do you think you trust a guy named Sparky to come up with a really good plan?
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I love this book. Curtis is funny and witty and draws truly believable and relatable characters. I discovered this book after finding it in Unshelved’s Book Club. (Unshelved is where I get a lot of my library themed t-shirts.)
And if you try it and like it, he’s got a few other really good books as well.