Crista's Reviews > Crossing Bok Chitto

Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle
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's review
Oct 24, 2011

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bookshelves: native-american, picture-books, international

2008 American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner
2007 Jane Adams Award Honor Book

This is a beautifully illustrated story about the Choctaw Indian village, a slave plantation and the river that divides them. The main character is a young Choctaw Indian girl, who stumbles upon a forbidden slave church while looking for blackberries. She is discovered by a slave who then asks a young boy to guide her back to the river. The two become friends and she eventually leads them to the boy and his family to freedom.

Although this story came from a tribal legend, one of the things that bothered me is that it is not very realistic. The family thinks they can become invisible enough to escape to freedom, and then they actually do turn invisible. The boy and girl walk right in front of the plantation owners, and no one questions them. This is the first time she ever crosses the river, and she can easily have a discussion with the boy and his family. The girl shows the boy how to cross the river to freedom in the beginning, but he doesn’t do it until the end. This is one of those everyone is happy and all ends well books that just happens to talk about Indians and Slavery.

This would be a good book for intermediate grade students. The younger ones don’t have the patience for the long dialogue and the older ones will try to find the logistics in the legend.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Elizabeth I do agree that logically, there are some errors in the story. However, since it is folklore, I was willing to look over some of that. There is also the fact that once her mother catches her, she allows this to happen weekly. I was expecting the really sappy ending of Martha Tom and Little Mo getting married at the end. I was happy to see that they left that to our imaginations. Overall, of the choices that are available, I did like the book.

528_Laura I was wondering about the realistic piece as well. I am curious how students would understand them becoming "invisible" in order to escape freedom. I do agree with Elizabeth, this is a good choice considering the limited Native American literature available.

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