Route 1 Reads

Harriet P. Henry Center for the Book

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A partnership through the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress

As home of Harriet P. Henry Center for the Book, the Maine Humanities Council is once again excited to participate in Route 1 Reads, a road trip-inspired reading list that explores various genres through the network of state Center for the Book affiliates located along Route 1. Our 2020 selection is Lizzy Bright and Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt.

About the Book

Turner Buckminster hates living in Phippsburg, Maine. Then he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart, amazing girl from a mix-raced community of freed slaves and whites who have lived on nearby Malaga Island for more than fifty years. Turner spends time with Lizzie despite everyone’s disapproval of their friendship, Lizzie, in turn, introduces Turner to the wonders and beauty of Maine. One day the two friends discover that the town elders of Phippsburg, and Turner’s father, want to force everyone to leave Lizzie’s island so Phippsburg can start a lucrative tourist trade there. Trying to save the people, the friends are caught in spirals of disaster that alter their lives forever.

History Behind the Novel

“For years, the story of Malaga Island was buried, lost to history and denied by the few who lived it. But today it is a story told repeatedly among families, schools, and communities. It is a story to learn from and remember.”

– Kate McBrien, The Story of Malaga, Island Journal.

“A Removal of all Visible Presence for 100 Years – Two” by Maine artist Daniel Minter. Featured in Othered: Displaced from Malaga, a catalogue of Minter’s exhibition of the same name at the University of Southern Maine Art Gallery, Gorham, Maine, 2018

In 1912, the state of Maine evicted a mixed-race community of approximately forty-five inhabitants from Malaga Island, located off the coast of Phippsburg.

“…it was an act motivated by economics, racism, eugenics, and political retribution. Eight islanders were committed to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded. The remaining islanders faired as best they could after moving to the mainland. Once the island was clear, the state moved the Malaga school to another island. Then they dug up the graves and reburied the remains in the graveyard at the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded.”

– Kate Philbrick and Rob Rosenthal, Malaga Island: A Story Best Left Untold 

About Route 1 Reads

Connecting the 2,369 miles of U.S. Route 1 from Ft. Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, the Route 1 Reads initiative is a partnership between 16 affiliate Centers for the Book to promote books that illuminate important aspects of their states or commonwealths for readers traveling the major and meandering highway. The initiative was launched at the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

The diverse reading list created by Route 1 Reads highlights each individual State Center for the Book while celebrating the East Coast as a whole.

Route 1 Reads is a partnership between the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and its affiliate Centers for the Book in the following states: Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Virginia; and D.C.