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The Journey of Little Charlie (National Book Award Finalist)
by Christopher Paul Curtis


Overview - The National Book Award finalist by Christopher Paul Curtis

Twelve-year-old Charlie is down on his luck: His sharecropper father just died and Cap'n Buck -- the most fearsome man in Possum Moan, South Carolina -- has come to collect a debt.  Read more...


 
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More About The Journey of Little Charlie (National Book Award Finalist) by Christopher Paul Curtis
 
 
 
Overview
The National Book Award finalist by Christopher Paul Curtis

Twelve-year-old Charlie is down on his luck: His sharecropper father just died 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 folks accused of stealing from the cap'n and his boss. It's not too bad of a bargain for Charlie... until he comes face-to-face with the fugitives and discovers their true identities. 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.

Newbery Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis brings his trademark humor and heart to this story of a boy struggling to do right in the face of history's cruelest evils.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780545156660
  • ISBN-10: 0545156661
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Publish Date: February 2018
  • Page Count: 256
  • Reading Level: Ages 9-12
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.75 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Historical - United States - Civil War Period (1850-1877)
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Action & Adventure - General
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Prejudice & Racism

 
BookPage Reviews

A long way to freedom

BookPage Children's Top Pick, February 2018

Two-time Newbery Medal-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis’ latest middle grade novel, a coming-of-age tale set in 1858, will resonate with readers for its timeless themes of justice, self-awareness and questions of right and wrong.

Little Charlie Bobo’s family are white sharecroppers for the Tanner plantation. It’s a meager existence, so Charlie’s father tries a few side hustles to earn more money, including joining the Tanner’s overseer and slave catcher, an unremittingly mean and clever man, in a scheme. However, Charlie’s father dies before he can complete his part of the bargain, and the overseer makes 12-year-old Charlie take his father’s place.

At first Charlie is excited to be traveling to Detroit to break up what the overseer explains is a gang of thieves who stole thousands of dollars from the Tanners. On the trip, Charlie carefully observes the overseer and eventually comes to several troubling conclusions about their mission. Charlie is further conflicted when he realizes one of the “stolen goods” is a boy not too different from himself. Without any guidance, Charlie must make several grown-up decisions of his own.

The historical accuracy of The Journey of Little Charlie educates readers on the efforts to capture runaway slaves and the fortitude of those who journeyed north to freedom. In this tale set in the past, modern parallels abound, offering a clear gateway for discussions that are painfully important today. As Curtis writes in his author’s note, the leap taken by Charlie is “[a] step that is available to all of us.”

 

This article was originally published in the February 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews