It only takes a few hours for Turner Buckminster to start hating Phippsburg, Maine. No one in town will let him forget that he's a minister's son, even if he doesn't act like one. But then he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart and sassy girl from a poor nearby island community founded by former slaves. Despite his father's-and the town's-disapproval of their friendship, Turner spends time with Lizzie, and it opens up a whole new world to him, filled with the mystery and wonder of Maine's rocky coast.
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See free resources for parents and educators to teach kids about social justice and racial equality. Skip to Content. Turner and Lizzie are creative, dynamic and thoughtful characters who are the moral compass in the unsettling world of the novel.
Parents need to know that this tragic novel is based on actual events and offers much for discussion, which might spur readers on to further research. In addition to its depiction of racism in early 20th-century New England, there are relationships of many kinds to explore, moral growth and change in several characters, majority vs. Its lyrical and metaphorical writing are terrific examples for writing classes. Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus.
Join now. Add your rating See all 4 parent reviews. Add your rating See all 9 kid reviews. Turner, newly arrived in a small coastal town in Maine where his father is to be the new minister, is immediately an outcast, despised by the children, watched incessantly by the suspicious adults, and ground down by his rigid father.
His life is wretched and lonely until he meets Lizzie Bright, granddaughter of the minister on the nearby island of Malaga, an impoverished community of slave descendants.
Lizzie is tough, smart, and wise, and with her and her community Turner feels at home in a way he never will in his own home. But the town wants to attract tourists, and the first step is the elimination of the Malaga community. Turner's father, beset and manipulated by the Deacons of his church, supports their efforts, leaving only Turner to stand up for what is right.
But doing the right thing is far more complicated than it seems and, as Lizzie often tells him, he "never can look at things straight.
This complex and powerful novel deserves its Newbery Honor. Its richness of language and metaphorical meaning, as well as its three-dimensional and evolving characters, are well summed up in a line from the end of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species , which the author quotes near the end of the book: "From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. The beautiful and wonderful forms that evolve here are the characters and their relationships and viewpoints, all complex, and all undergoing change.
There's Turner, of course, struggling to live up to his father's teachings even when his father doesn't; Mrs. Cobb, a crusty old racist who learns to love a black girl and an ill-mannered boy; Willis, who seems to be a bully but has an ironclad sense of what's right; his father, Deacon Hurd, whose pride goeth before a fall; and many others, a Dickensian wealth of real characters.
And evolution is not just individual -- the relationships and understandings between the characters change, and change again.
This lovely, heartbreaking, and very real story doesn't always go where you think it will, but in the end it goes to a movingly spiritual place. Families can talk about the challenges of standing up for something you believe in when popular opinion is against you.
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners. See how we rate. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support. Our ratings are based on child development best practices.
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Learn how we rate. Parents' Ultimate Guide to Support our work! Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. A preacher's son stands up to a racist town. Gary D. Schmidt Historical Fiction Rate book. Read or buy.
Based on 4 reviews. Based on 9 reviews. Get it now Searching for streaming and purchasing options Common Sense is a nonprofit organization.
Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free. Get it now on Searching for streaming and purchasing options A lot or a little? The parents' guide to what's in this book. Positive Messages. The town's racism leads to tragedy, but the main character tries to stand up for what is right.
Several bloody fights, one leading to death. Some mild swearing. Set limits for violence and more with Plus. What parents need to know Parents need to know that this tragic novel is based on actual events and offers much for discussion, which might spur readers on to further research. Stay up to date on new reviews. Get full reviews, ratings, and advice delivered weekly to your inbox.
User Reviews Parents say Kids say. Adult Written by kathryn1 January 8, Excellent writing, great story I would recommend that kids below age 12 read this with an adult for clarification of the language and wording and in order to understand the background of some Continue reading.
Report this review. Parent of a year-old Written by limehottie May 11, Perfect for sixth grade and beyond I absolutely loved this book! The message was so good and the characters were amazing. I would very highly reccomend this book to anyone looking for a good read Kid, 12 years old July 14, Scary and disturbing The end is so so so sad and disturbing and disgusting. Parents should definitely read it first.
It was horrible. Kid, 11 years old December 19, This is such an amazing book! So sad, though! However, I think to really understand the deeper meanings of this book, children should be a little older. What's the story? Continue reading Show less. Is it any good?
Talk to your kids about Would you have behaved any differently than Turner did if you had been in the same situation?
What prompted Turner's father to change his mind about his son's actions? This tale was based on a true story, but which elements were factual -- and which were fictionalized for dramatic effect? Book details Author: Gary D. For kids who love books to talk about. Books About Friendship.
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Enchanting tale will leave readers grinning. A moving, funny, lyrical tale with big appeal. Sahara Special. A lovely, moving book about a student and teacher. About these links Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase.
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Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
See free resources for parents and educators to teach kids about social justice and racial equality. Skip to Content. Turner and Lizzie are creative, dynamic and thoughtful characters who are the moral compass in the unsettling world of the novel. Parents need to know that this tragic novel is based on actual events and offers much for discussion, which might spur readers on to further research. In addition to its depiction of racism in early 20th-century New England, there are relationships of many kinds to explore, moral growth and change in several characters, majority vs. Its lyrical and metaphorical writing are terrific examples for writing classes.
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