Monday, June 25, 2012

Elijah of Buxton

Curtis, C. P. (2007). Elijah of Buxton. New York: Scholastic.

Ages: 11-14 years

Genre: Historical Fiction


I’ma  gunn let ya’ll hear freedom ring! My name is Elijah Freeman and I was the first freeborn child in the Buxton Settlement, in Canada West. I belong to my Ma and Pa, no one else. That part a be’in free.  I get to go to school too. Mr. Travis, my Sabbath and school teacher tells me I need to do better conjugate’n my Latin verbs. I knowed I’s lucky, many black folk are still slaves. Every time new-free slaves come to Buxton we talk to ‘em real gentle. We figure they been runnin’ so hard and so long, they’d run away if we’d start hoopn’ and hollern’ to celebrate when they got here. So we’s send Emma Collins to greet ‘em.  Emma even more fra-gile then me, she start cryn’ if you ax her what’s two and two. “She ain’t never got over that I was the first child born free in Buxton. Ma and Emma’s ma were in a race to see who was gonna be firstborn and Emma didn’t come out till six days after me. Since me and Ma won the race, Emma’s always let the sin of envy choke her heart.”

I do love chunkin’ rocks though, and I good at it!  I can get ten fish on a stringer in jus a few minutes. Preacher even tried to get me joined up with the circus ‘cuz of it. Preacher does a lot of excitn’ stuff you’ll see if you read my story.  You read all about how life is here in Buxton and how we try to help slaves over ‘yon, in America. Sum people like my story ‘cuz it give ‘em hope, hope a be’in free. Others like my story ‘cuz I do lot a thinking about what growed ups mean when they be talkn’. Ya’ll read my story though an you’ll be surprised at me, I may even bring a little “Hope” to Buxton.

I promised ya’ll I was gunn let you here freedom ring though, and I make good on my promises.  There will be 20 rings to celebrate you be’in free, free to read my story.  Now, I want to do this right, like Pa with the new-free slaves, “Looky there, look at that land! Look at those trees! Have you ever seen anything that precious? It’s the land of the free!” You choosed the most perfectest day to read my story! You free!

Please also see the video of this booktalk at

Comprehension Strategy of the Week:
I utilized the Marking Time comprehension strategy largely to record setting changes. Specifically, location is integral to this story since the Buxton Settlement represented a place where slaves could live a life of freedom.  They were afforded this freedom because they were in Canada, which had different laws and government.  However, even citizens of Buxton that were of African descent had to be extremely careful when traveling, especially into America. As well, since most of the story took place in Buxton, it was important to remember when the characters traveled to other places. When the characters traveled it meant a major story event would take place. As a result, I used post-its to record the main character's travels, which cued me to remember the cause for the travel and the sequence of the story. Please see the below pictures of my Marking Time recordings. 

I used the Marking Time strategy to track
the main character's travels to alert
me to major story events

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