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ONLINE BOOK Elijah: A Graphic Novel

Tin Roof Press was formed in 2008 and is the publishing wing of the Elijah Gowin studio. Book previews and signed copies of books are available directly online at Books can also be found at fine art bookstores nationwide.

ONLINE BOOK Elijah: A Graphic Novel

Parents need to know that Christopher Paul Curtis' Elijah of Buxton is a Newbery Honor Book that also won the Coretta Scott King Award. Set in 1859, before the U.S. Civil War, it's the story of an 11-year-old boy who lives in a Canadian settlement of formerly enslaved people. Though residents of Buxton are free, they must remain vigilant about the threat of "slave catchers," and many Buxton residents who escaped slavery are trying to save enough money to pay for the release of loved ones still trapped in the American South. Narrated by Elijah, the book shows Buxton life through a child's eyes. There's some silly kid logic and antics, in addition to a boy's-eye view of the atrocities perpetrated on Black people in the mid-19th century. The violence is not especially graphic or bloody, but Elijah sees people who have suffered gunshot wounds, torture, and branding. He also fights off an attack dog and is treated roughly by some adults. Curtis also offers some hopeful inspiration and great information about the true events behind the novel.

This exciting and moving historical novel is told in the voice of a winningly naive child brimming with compassion and curiosity. In his award-winning debut The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963, author Christopher Paul Curtis established the style that also serves well in Elijah of Buxton: Both books start out with a charming and amusing tone (some of the humor a bit off-color, perhaps, but true to the narrator's age and personality) before giving way to a worrisome situation. The affection and familiarity the reader feels for the characters by the time things get heavy add to the impact of the events. As with The Watsons, Elijah's story is informed by history -- in this case, the horrific history of slavery and the inspiring free Black settlement that Buxton is patterned on.

This online experience includes a copy of the Elijah Bible study book or eBook, limited-time access to watch the Elijah teaching videos, an online community, as well as exclusive bonus content from Shirer.

I confess, I had to learn to read graphic novels. They weren't around when I was a kid, though there were plenty of books of comic strips (ah, Luann by Greg Evans, that was a good one. Have you seen her lately? She's completely updated). No, I learned to read graphic novels as an adult. If I were going to keep up with my kids, it was an absolute necessity. And "keep up" is the operative phrase here. My kids DEVOUR graphic novels; they can never get enough.

When I came across Chad Sell's The Cardboard Kingdom: Roar of the Beast, I jumped on it. A graphic novel about preteen kids who hoard cardboard and pretend to be beasts and monsters? Does Chad Sell live in my house? (If so, he's hiding really well). I thought Roar of the Beast would be super-cute and entertaining for all my kids, and then I sat down to read it.

I should have known Kurt would show up. There's usually more to graphic novels than initially meets the eye, and graphic novels for bigger kids don't pull many punches. As it turns out, Kurt is the least of Vijay's problems, which is definitely the way things really work.


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