Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

by Gary D. Schmidt

Paperback, 2006


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Call number

J Sch


Yearling (2006), Paperback, 224 pages


In 1911, Turner Buckminster hates his new home of Phippsburg, Maine, but things improve when he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from a poor, nearby island community founded by former slaves that the town fathers--and Turner's--want to change into a tourist spot.

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User reviews

LibraryThing member bbellthom
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is a story about Turner the new minister’s son and Lizzie a resident of Malaga Island off the coast Philipsburg Maine. The boys in town play baseball different then Turner and they jump off cliffs to swim in the ocean something Turner has never done. As an
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outcast Turner spends much of his time alone until he meets Lizzie a black girl from Malaga Island. The townspeople wish to rid Malaga Island of the people that live there so that they can build up tourism in their town. Turner is forbidden to see Lizzie but he still does and they develop a deep friendship. The story of Malaga Island is a true story. In 1912 the people of Malaga were evicted from their homes, their houses burned to the ground, their graves dug up, and they were forced to move to the Maine School for the Feeble Minded. This book was not only a wonderful story it told a very important fact of our history that I had not known before. In April 2010 Maine legislatures issued a statement of regret for the Malaga Island incident.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
Once again Schmidt did it! He wrote an outstandingly beautiful book dealing with very complex, gritty issues.

This book was written before The Wednesday Wars and received the 1995 Newbery Honor award. It is particularly poignant, outstandingly breathtaking and incredibly tragic.

Based upon true
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occurrences of race-related issues in Phippsbubrg, Maine, the setting is the early 1900's wherein an interracial community of African Americans, who were rich in values and culture, but poor in financial means, eeked out a living on Malaga Island and, deemed as a blight on the land, were forcibly, cruelly evicted.

Enter Turner Buckminster III, son of the newly appointed pastor of the Congregationalist church, mix in a cast of characters who are ignorant and blatantly inadequate in human kindess, add delightful, spunky, enchanting, courageous African American Lizzie Bright Griffin, then stir the mix by adding a heaping tablespoon of contradictions of the Right Reverend Buckminster II, and the end result is a work of art beyond excellence.

Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, another award winning book portraying the scathing underbelly of racism, Schmidt unflinchingly deals with the hypocrisy of church going folk who sit in the Sunday pews singing the hymns while perpetrating evil on innocent people.

In a cruel, uncaring environment, Turner finds solace and is grounded by a special, forbidden friendship with Lizzie Bright.

As all around him throw stones which land like savage blows filled with hated words and actions in a quagmire of mucky mess, Turner takes the higher ground and walks the path where the waves lap the shores, where the lights are gentle and the cabins are filled with loving, kind African Americans who simply want to live in peace.
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LibraryThing member susanmartling
Wow! This is an incredibly well written and seemingly well researched book. After reading it, I happened to look at some historical accounts of the event described and was impressed with how well author, Gary Schmidt, interwove the facts in his fictional account. This is a tale in which Turner
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Buckminster finds himself and his family in the center of an historical drama unfolding. Turner follows his instincts and makes some unlikely friends while town politics threaten to tear his family apart. This is a brutally realistic and ultimately sad story of two heroic friends during a time of racial discrimination and unjust use of power.
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LibraryThing member dcully1
"Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" was a thrilling novel to read, filled with enough reality to reach out and touch a person's heart. It was a book that made me feel that I was living in the same time period as Turner Buckminster, that I felt all of the trials and tribulations he went through
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as he felt them himself in the novel. The language of the story was so descriptive and methodical, for example, the way everything from Malaga Island in its entirety to the short choppiness of a wave was described really allowed me as the reader to dive right in and fully envision the setting. By the end of the story, I had a vivid mental picture of what the inside of Mrs. Cobb's house, the cliffs at the New Meadows, Malaga Island, and the faces of Lizzie, Turner, Minister Buckminster, and Mrs. Cobb looked like - as long as a novel can accomplish this, it is great in my eyes. The characters were also believable, relatable, and well-developed. Turner and his various encounters with the society of Phippsburg was a relatable concept almost every child can relate to - doing something with good intentions, but not receiving praise because other people don't know your perspective. The plot was organized and purposeful, having a soft beginning and then building up in the last segment in the book to the expected deaths of Mrs. Cobb and Reverend Griffin, to the completely unexpected deaths of Reverend Buckminster and Lizzie ending the story. There were many big ideas of this novel, including the essence of needing to cherish the things in life that matter most, which Turner shows happen not to be what Phippsburg's idea of a minister's boy should be. Sometimes life is about touching a whale, or sneaking to a forbidden area of town to learn about clams or saving people that are being harshly and unnecessarily moved out of their homes. It also sends a message about what life was like for the average African-American in the segregation era. In conclusion, I would not only recommend this novel to young readers, (4th-5th grades) but I would require it as a teacher.
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LibraryThing member edspicer
What teens say:

This book had a lot going on in it. It was good but the cover makes it seem like it is for kids. I liked how Turner gradually learned to like Mrs. Cobb. In fact the older ladies were the best characters.

I can’t believe that this story is based on fact, but I can’t believe history
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sometimes. I didn’t like how Lizzie disappeared from the story when her name is in the title. The description of the island and the whales was pretty cool.
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LibraryThing member auntieknickers
Excellent story for young people about a little-known and shameful chapter in Maine history, when a group of African-American and mixed-race people were evicted by the state from an island where they had lived for some time.
LibraryThing member jlsherman
The characters were well developed, as was the setting. Research was conducted by the author, and the setting is a real place. The author's note gives some information about the settlement, and what transpired there.
Personally, I had difficulty reading the book. It was difficult to keep interested
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in the book.
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LibraryThing member hdusty
one the best books i've read in a long while. the writing is crisp and evocative, perfectly reminiscent of the early 1900s voice. the son of the new minister in a small maine town befriends an african american girl who lives in poverty on a island apart from the town. she teaches him baseball,
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romance, injustice, and standing up to tragedy.
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LibraryThing member smarks2008
I enjoyed Schmidt so much in Wednesday Wars, I had to keep reading. Having lived in Maine, it was really interesting, though very sad, to learn about the African American population who were driven off from Coastal Maine.
LibraryThing member milibrarian
This is a wonderful book. It is written for tweens and young adults, but almost everyone should read it. Based upon a real event, the people on an island off the coast of Maine are forced to move out to make room for a tourist resort. The island inhabitants are all black and the townspeople white.
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Turner Buckminister, whose father is the minister of the Congregational Church, moves to small town Maine from Boston in 1912. He can't seem to fit in with other boys, but makes friends with a girl, Lizzie Bright Griffin, from the island. When Lizzie is sent to an insane asylum and Turner inherits a house, he, his family, and the town learn what it means to stand up for what is right.
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LibraryThing member mmillet
This book really kept me interested. The most intriguing part of it to me was the author's note at the end -- stating that the book's premise was based on actual events. So sad to see the treatment of people different from everyone else. My favorite part was when Willis asked Turner why he didn't
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hit the last pitch and Turner replies "because everyone expects green shutters." Very insightful story urging everyone to do the right thing even if it means you are going against the current.
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LibraryThing member ImBookingIt
I enjoyed listening to this book.In this book, Turner learns that adults don't always do the right thing, but that doesn't stop his attempts to do so.Thinking back on it, the book could be seen as heavy on the lessons, but the story was about Turner learning them, and they were well balanced with
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the more adventurous aspects of the story. For the most part, Turner seemed like a real kid to me. Perhaps he was a little too good to be true, but he wasn't perfect. I liked seeing how he grew as the book continued. The secondary characters were an interesting bunch. . Just as I'd start to think that although they were interesting, they were also flat, one of them would surprise me with some character development.I'll recommend this book to my 11 year old. I actually wish I'd saved it for our upcoming road trip, I'm not sure I'll want to listen to it again that soon.
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LibraryThing member pbamy
It is a story of friendship in the midst of conflict between the powerful and the powerless and a father and his son. The sadness of the story is nicely balanced with humor and wonderfully descriptive language. A highly recommended read.
LibraryThing member scote23
This book gave me...feelings. Rather strong ones. I thought it was depressing. Why do all these people have to die? I suppose it is historically accurate, but wow. I'm not sure I would have chosen to stay in Phippsburg. Also, it made me wonder, after having read some of this other books, if Schmidt
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isn't writing some version of the same thing over and over (which is not to say it is bad; quite the opposite: Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now are two of my favorites). However, all three seem to feature a dad that is kind of a jerk who somewhat reforms at the end, with a stoically sweet mom. There are crazy (in a good way) adults in the male children's lives who make them feel better, and a female sidekick turned potential love interest. Although this book did make me want to drive down the coast to Phippsburg, I was quite horrified by what actually happened on Malaga Island--bad Maine! This book wasn't as strong for me as his later works. Too depressing.
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LibraryThing member knapier
There's no doubt this book was intelligently written. The way Schmidt uses nature throughout the book to illustrate what's really going on is a nice introduction to symbolic meaning in literature. I'm confused as to why this is classified 'Junior Fiction.' It must be the reading level, as I don't
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think it's very difficult. However, I have a hard time seeing the average kid delving into this and being able to hold on to the somewhat slow tempo of the story in order to pick up on the deeper meanings the book conveys. I'll be interested to read some kid reviews.

The fact that the two main characters were minister's kids held special interest to me since my husband has before held that title, and we have kids. Even though our situation is vastly different, the book certainly leaves much for my family to talk about, especially since Mr. Buckminster seems to find more inspiration in reading Darwin than Jesus. The fact that Mr. Buckminster handled the pressure from the town so poorly, and only just began to come around at the very end saddened me. Turner, aptly named, shows more promise for standing for what is true and good.

Gone through in more detail, this book definitely generates thought and offers plenty of discussion.
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LibraryThing member olive_mucho
This story is about a boy named Turner, that is forced to move with his father has a new job. The story has a impact of racism in it. The boy has had a terrible time in the new community. Other children make stories about him and he feels unwelcome. Then he meets a young girl named Lizzie. She was
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an African American. They become really good friends of disapprovals of the friendship. Yet, on the Island the girl is from a company is running down and is wanting to remove the people living in the town and make a vocation spot. The two fought for the community but could do very little to help. The story is a tragic and is very sad. But I enjoyed reading it.

The story really does not relate to me in a huge way but I do date an African American boy and some people are real mean and have called him names. So I can relate to the story in some way.

I would used the story ins a history lesson. I would have the student read the book at home as a semester long assignment keep sticky tabs available for note and have the student form literature groups and share thought. The second lesson I could use this book with is a test. I would create a multiple choice quiz or test and allow the student to take it when they have completed the books and the class is finished with weekly literature groups.
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LibraryThing member The_Hibernator
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is a children’s historical novel about a minister’s son who must confront narrow-mindedness in the townspeople and even his own father when his family moves to a small town in Maine. This book gives a “realistic” look at how blinded people can be by
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their own prejudices. I listened to it as an audiobook, and found myself in the awkward position of tearing up in public while I was listening to it on a walk. Luckily I pretended it was the sharp winter air that was giving me the sniffles. This book’s reading level is appropriate for perhaps 5th graders, but the content is a bit mature. I hated depressing books when I was that age! I gave this book 3.5/5 stars (it lost half a star for making me cry!)
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LibraryThing member Kasey2
This book tells a realistic story, the out comes that happen in this book are believable, there's know sugar coated everybody wins ending, it ends how it would have ended in real life.
LibraryThing member asomers
This book is just another reason why Gary Schmidt is one of my favorite authors. Based on historical facts, this story will leave you feeling outraged and sad. Turner Buckminster loses his innocence in the most heartbreaking of ways and Lizzie Bright truly is the closest thing to glory on God's
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green earth.
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LibraryThing member eekazimer
Schmidt's character brings out the irony of religion and prejudice. How religious men can justify sending long time residents to the mental hospital and evicting them from the only home they have ever known. Lizzie is just like her last name, Bright. She is so lovable and wise for her years. Turner
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is new to Philippsburg, Maine and learns the extent people will go fo
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LibraryThing member 68papyrus
A sweet story of friendship between two young people at the turn of the century. The fact that Turner is white and Lizzie makes their friendship unique and frowned upon during this time period. Despite the fact they are discouraged from interacting the two become fast friends. Lizzie lives with her
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grandfather on the Malaga Islands along the coast of Phippsburg Maine where Turner resides. Although, the story was a bit slow in places it was well written and thought provoking. I would recommend this book to fans of Virginia Hamilton.(less)
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LibraryThing member mariaft
Incredible, incredible book. Slow start gave way to a plot that REALLY sticks with you. So sad and tragic, yet beautiful and uplifting at the same time.
LibraryThing member AUSTINRING
this book is about a boy and girl who become friends and are not sopposed to be friends becouse they are different racis, the boy is the son of a preacher and the daughter is a slave who is living on an island they are trying to touch a whale but the whale keeps swimming from the boy.

I liked this
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book becouse there are surprising parts and you get really surprised in the book it is a really good book abd i say that ist should be read
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LibraryThing member Yona
I really stretched this out. This is one of the best books I've read. I loved his writing style. It's a great story that didn't, and probably couldn't, end the way I wanted it to. I want to go run with the sea breeze and meet a whale.
LibraryThing member JenGennari
Blown away by the poetry of Schmidt's writing. Just heard him speak and his moral compass is true; the story shines with it, too. A role model for me.


Original publication date


Physical description

224 p.; 5.37 inches


0553494953 / 9780553494952


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