Friday, March 6, 2009

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

by Gary D. Schmidt

This book was a very pleasant surprise for me. I checked it out at the library based on the author (who wrote The Wednesday Wars—fabulous book), also based on the fact that it was a Newbery Honor as well as a Printz Honor book. I certainly didn’t expect to like it as much as I did! It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story about 13 year-old Turner Ernest Buckminster III who moves to Phippsburg, Maine in 1912 where his father has been appointed the town minister. There is an island nearby where a small community of black people live, including Lizzie Bright Griffin who is close to Turner’s age. Turner doesn’t get along with anyone else in town, but he does form a closeness and friendship with Lizzie. The problem comes when the people of Phippsburg decide they need the land on Malaga Island for tourism to help their economy, and they want to force the black people to leave. The story is based on true events.

There are some great characters in the book, especially the old women in town. Turner is forced, as punishment, to play the organ for an old lady who is sure she will die anytime, so she keeps a paper and pen nearby so whoever is with her will record her last words as she is certain they will be prolific. Turner is careful not to play any songs that will encourage her to die. There are other well developed characters that I grew to love, hate, or feel sorry for.

This was a story that stuck with me and the more I think about it, the more I like it. I love books like that. There are some prime teaching moments for families about prejudice, courage, family, adversity. This is a beautiful story. I give it an A.

1 comment:

Lula O said...

Did you read this one with your kids? Did they like it?