We are delighted to host the #CoverReveal for Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Journey of Little Charlie.
Here’s a summary from the publisher:
Newbery Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis brings his trademark humor and heart to the story of a boy struggling to do right in the face of history’s cruelest evils.
Twelve-year-old Charlie is down on his luck: His dad just died, the share crops are dry, and the most fearsome man in Possum Moan, Cap’n Buck, says Charlie’s dad owed him a lot of money. Fearing for his life, Charlie strikes a deal to repay his father’s debt by accompanying Cap’n Buck to Detroit in pursuit of some folks who have stolen from him. It’s not too bad of a bargain for Charlie … until he comes face-to-face with the fugitives and discovers that they escaped slavery years ago and have been living free. 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 …
From the author:
As I began writing The Journey of Little Charlie, I thought I’d be telling the story of a young man of African descent as he was captured in Canada by an American slave catcher, but the story had other ideas. It was waylaid by Little Charlie Bobo, the son of a white sharecropper from South Carolina, who finds himself accompanying that same slave catcher north, in pursuit of “stolen property” that he soon discovers are other human beings. The US Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required African Americans, even those living in “free” states, to provide documentation, upon request, demonstrating that they were not escaped slaves. One of the many consequences of this law was a migration of both free people of African origin and those escaping slavery beyond the US border, into Canada, where they received protection under Canadian law, and were welcomed with open arms in communities such as Buxton, Ontario.
As I listen to the radio and read the news today, I hear echoes of those events 167 years ago, stories full of fear-fueled dramatic escapes with swaddled babies and crying children and ice-covered fields – stories of people seeking freedom. As an avid student of history, I believe this is the most important thing writers can do: In addition to entertaining our readers, we can also point out that those who don’t remember the past, or choose to ignore it, are condemned to live it again and again.
About the author:
Christopher Paul Curtis was awarded both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor for his debut book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, and won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award for his second book, Bud, Not Buddy. Mr. Curtis is also the author of the Golden Kite Award-winning Bucking the Sarge, as well as Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission, and the Newbery Honor book Elijah of Buxton.
As you can see from the cover bling, Jacqueline Woodson’s telling of her childhood in verse is truly beloved: it won the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and was a Newbery Honor book.