When a book aimed at middle school kids combines real historical events and lyrical prose with a solid story, it’s a winning combination. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, by Gary D. Schmidt does it perfectly. Taking place in the very early 20th century on the coast of Maine, this book illuminates its characters. Though portraying a sad episode in American history about the effects of racial prejudice, even by clergy, the prose and characters stay with the reader long after the book has ended. The main character, Turner Buckminster, a minister’s son, says “I have looked into the eye of a whale,” and the reader understands this boy’s life will change in many ways. The boy then changes the lives of people around him, and thus the reader.