by Christopher Paul Curtis
Scholastic Press, 2014. Fiction, 363 p.
Benji is an African Candian boy from Buxton, and Alvin is an Irish Canadian boy from the nearby town of Chatham. Alvin and Benji meet and strike up a friendship. Their friendship is solidified when they both meet the mysterious and legendary Madman of Piney Wood. Their unusual friendship, and their experience with the mysterious shadowy "madman" gives them strength and insight to understand the adults in their lives that are dealing with ghosts from their past.
This is a companion novel to Curtis' Elijah of Buxton. It takes place 40 years after the first book and some of the adults in this book were children in that. In both books Curtis shows his amazing insight into human nature and his ability to create sympathetic and likeable characters who effectively deal with difficult situations. Parents should be aware that this book contains a brief description of wartime violence that might be disturbing to a sensitive child.