Bucking the Sarge

Luther T. Farrell has got to get out of Flint, Michigan.

As his best friend Sparky says, “Flint’s nothing but the Titanic.”

And his mother, a.k.a. the Sarge, says, “Take my advice and stay off the sucker path.”

The Sarge milked the system to build an empire of slum housing and group homes. Luther’s just one of the many people trapped in the Sarge’s Evil Empire—but he’s about to bust out.

If Luther wins the science fair this year, he’ll be on track for college and a future as America’s best-known and best-loved philosopher. All he’s got to do is beat his arch rival Shayla Patrick, the beautiful daughter of Flint’s finest undertaker—and the love of Luther’s life.

Sparky’s escape plans involve a pit bull named Poofy and the world’s scariest rat. Oh, and Luther. Add to the mix Chester X., Luther’s mysterious roommate; Dontay Gaddy, a lawyer whose phone number is 1-800-SUE’M ALL; and Darnell Dixon, the Sarge’s go-to guy who knows how to break all the rules.

Bucking the Sarge is a story that only Christopher Paul Curtis could tell. Once again the Newbery Award–winning author of Bud, Not Buddy and The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 gives us a whole new angle on life and a world full of unforgettable and hilarious characters. Readers will root for Luther and Sparky every step of the way.

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Awards for Bucking the Sarge

ALA Best Books for Young AdultsWINNER 2005

ALA Notable Children’s BookWINNER 2005

Booklinks A Few Good BooksWINNER

Booklist Children’s Editors’ ChoiceWINNER

Connecticut Nutmeg Children’s Book Master ListWINNER 2008

Golden Kite Award for FictionWINNER 2005

Kentucky Bluegrass AwardWINNER 2006

Parents’ Choice Gold AwardWINNER 2004

Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the YearWINNER

School Library Journal Best Book of the YearWINNER

Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading ListWINNER 2005

Pacific Northwest Young Readers Choice AwardNOMINEE 2007


Praise for Bucking the Sarge

"Curtis's books occupy that all too rare space in middle grade lit; they're school curriculum standbys that are also crowd pleasers... Curtis's ninth novel is among his most suspenseful...Curtis is also a master at shifting tones—and so for every nail-biting moment, there's a note of goofy joy or slapstick humor...'Little Charlie' is a keeper: Raised in poverty, ignorance, and racism, Charlie develops his own moral compass—and becomes brave enough to act on it." —New York Times Book Review

⭐ "Curtis portrays Charlie as a product of his white Southern upbringing and values, skillfully conveying how his widening view of the world leads to a change in his thinking. Written in persuasive dialect and piloted by a hero who finds the courage to do what he knows is right, Curtis's unsparing novel pulls no punches as it illuminates an ugly chapter of American history."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

⭐ "Newbery winner Curtis once again successfully draws on the stories about enslaved people who found freedom in Canada...A characteristically lively and complex addition to the historical fiction of the era from Curtis."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

⭐ "A thought-provoking book from a master storyteller."—School Library Journal, starred review

⭐ "Curtis's ability to intertwine humor and tragedy, change pacing effectively, and find hope in the direst of circumstances is masterful... Readers will be riveted by the conclusion...if they can see the words through their tears."—The Horn Book, starred review

⭐ "This is an old story demanding to be told a new way, and master storyteller Curtis proves just the one to do it."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"Ultimately inspiring, but never simplistic, this should spark plenty of discussion."—Booklist

"Will resonate with readers for its timeless themes of justice, self-awareness and questions of right and wrong...modern parallels abound, offering a clear gateway for discussions that are painfully important today."—BookPage




2018 © Christopher Paul Curtis