Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt

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Schmidt, G.D. (2004). Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. New York: Clarion Books.

Annotation: A minister’s son and a girl from a poor community of former slaves form a friendship. Through their interactions they learn about racial inequality and the consequences one faces trying to fight prejudice.

 Awards:  

Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book – 2005

ALA Best Book for Young Adults – 2005

Newbery Honor Book – 2005

Review: Young Turner Buckminister moves to Maine with his minister father. Unable to play baseball with the other boys, Turner believes his life cannot get worse. Then, he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from Malaga Island. Their unlikely friendship takes a turn when plans have been made to remove the Lizzie’s people off the island.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy has elements that make it more compatible with juvenile fiction than young adult fiction; hence, why it is recommended for children 10 and up. The scenario of an unlikely, but innocent friendship along the backdrop of a not so simple world is thematic to juvenile fiction. However, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy departs from this classification by courageously embracing death and tragedy. In other words, because of the novel’s realistic approach to adult issues, it segues into young adult fiction by intensely touching upon the ageless challenge of wanting to belong in a not so welcoming world. In spite of of its heartwarming story, the narrative, at times, is unnecessarily detailed. So much so, that quite a bit of it can be removed from the text.  Without all this excess, the reader would still have a clear and precise understanding of the characters and situation.

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