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Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom
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Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  679 ratings  ·  160 reviews

There is a river called Bok Chitto that cuts through Mississippi. In the days before the War Between the States, in the days before the Trail of Tears, Bok Chitto was a boundary. On one side of the river lived the Choctaws. On the other side lived the plantation owners and their slaves. If a slave escaped and made his way across Bok Chitto, the slave was free.

Thus begin

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Paperback, 40 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Cinco Puntos Press (first published April 1st 2006)
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4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  679 ratings  ·  160 reviews


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Jessaka
CROSSING BOK CHITTO

Beautiful story telling and illustrations. This is a children’s book that even an adult can enjoy.

My friend here in Cherokee County told me about this book, how she knew of the artist, Jeanne Bridges, a Cherokee woman from around here. Tim Tingle, the writer, is a storyteller. I have only listened to two Cherokee storytellers and both kept me spell bound, just as this book did, but I admit, listening to story telling is much better.

This book made me think of the Indian belief
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Elizabeth
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: native-american
In Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle, the author combines the stories of two cultures into a unique tale. In the story, the Bok Chitto River cuts through Mississippi. On the one side lived slaves. On the other side lived the Choctaw Tribe. If a slave escaped across the river, they were free. As is expected, Choctaw girl crosses the river and meets a slave boy and they become friends. In the end, the Choctaw tribe is called upon to save the boy’s family from the slave catchers. I enjoyed this st ...more
Casey Strauss
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: native-american
This is a picture book inspired by a song that the author heard on a trip to visit the Mississippi band of Choctaw Indians. Two young children, Martha Tom, a member of the Choctaw tribe, and Mo (short for Moses), a black slave, become friends, even though the Bok Chitto River separates them. On one side live the Choctaws, Martha's tribe; on the other is plantation owners and their slaves, Mo’s family. The first page tells the reader, “If a slave escaped and made his way across Bok Chitto, the sl ...more
528_Laura
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crossing Bok Chitto describes the power of friendship in the late 1800’s in Mississippi. A Choctaw girl named Martha Tom meets a plantation boy named Little Mo as she crosses the forbidden river to fetch blueberries for her mother. Although her family disagrees, their growing friendship allows Martha Tom to help this planation family escape as their mother is threatened to be sold. Author, Tim Tinkle is a noted storyteller. This wonderful picture book would be an excellent read aloud as it is to ...more
Katy
Nov 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom, by Jim Tingle, is a story of friendship, bravery, and liberation. The story takes place in Mississippi where a river called Bok Chitto was a boundary between the Indian nation of the Choctaws, and the plantation owners and their slaves. If the slaves were able to cross the river to the Choctaw side they would be free. One day a Choctaw girl named Martha Tom was sent to look for blackberries. She crossed the river to find them and en ...more
Stacy
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 100nativebooks
This book is beautiful. From the illustrations to the moving, touching story itself. This is a must read for all. Old and young alike.
Meredith
A beautifully written and illustrated story about First Nations people helping slaves escape to freedom. A story of friendship and trust.
~☆~Autumn♥♥
A wonderful story of a great miracle. I cried. Its a children story so you can read it very fast and the illustrations are very beautiful. I hope to find more of his books.
Lindsey
Jul 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: native-american
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Taneka
Martha Tom is sent out to find blackberries. On her way, she crosses the Bok Chitto River to the side where plantation owners live with their slaves. She comes across a group of slaves singing and befriends a boy named Moses. Moses’ family is in need of help, because his mother has been sold and he asks Martha to help them. The family crosses the river with the help of the Choctaw women, leaving the overseers on the slave side thinking that they saw black spirits walking across the water to free ...more
Mary
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story Crossing Bok Chitto is a story about Martha Tom a young Choctaw girl. She lived along the banks of the Bok Chitto a river that separated her village from the plantations. Her and her people were free, but across the river those of color were slaves. One day Martha crossed the river via a secrete stone path inches below the muddy water to pick black berries. While in search of berries she became lost. A young slave boy by the name of Mo show her the way back to the river. From this meet ...more
Emma Hughes
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Crossing BOK Chitto" was a surprising, heartwarming and insightful historical fiction story of two friends living in different worlds. Taking place in Mississippi before the Trail of Tears, it tells the story of Martha Tom, a Choctaw girl, and an African American boy, Mo, whose forbidden friendship ends up being a source of hope in scary times. I love how this story is centered around the history of American Indians and African Americans and their strength in a time of unimaginable injustice an ...more
Crista
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
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A_Cathi
This story of a Native American girl and her unlikely friendship with an African American slave from the other side of the Bok Chitto River touched my heart. It is told on the side of the Choctaw and has been told for generations and now is written and illustrated in beautiful muted painted colors. Nothing stands out in the illustrations, the reader has to look carefully at all of them to take in all of the landscape.
Martha Tom is the Choctaw girl who goes looking for blackberries across the fo
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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Overall, I enjoyed this tale of Choctaws helping slaves escape to freedom. The reason I'm giving it 3 stars instead of 4 is because the illustrations seemed a bit stiff to me, and because the story was believable and realistic up until the escaping slave family became invisible. That was a jarring bit of fantasy in an otherwise beautiful story. The historical information provided at the end provided an interesting background to the tale. This book was a 2008 American Indian Youth Literature Awar ...more
Eden
Martha Tom knows she's not supposed to cross Bok Chitto, but she does one day in search of blackberries. Martha Tom hides behind a bush when she hears someone and soon she is discovered by a tall slave. He instructs his son, Little Mo, to help Martha Tom get home. A friendship begins between Martha Tom, Little Mo and his family.

A unique and wonderful story about friendship and freedom. It is based on Choctaw lore and I thought it was a great story with good illustrations.
Charlie Hersh
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-and-ya
Children would need a lot of historical background in order to understand this book (eg slavery in the American South), but once they get there, the narrative of helping others in need is clear. The author writes how this book started out as an oral story and the plot structure probably works a bit better when read out loud. I especially loved the mini-essay in the back about modern Choctaws.
Emily
A very beautifully illustrated story about the friendship and solidarity between a Choctaw girl and an enslaved boy that pays careful attention to black and indigenous music, narratives and culture.
Susan Morris
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Neat story, based on Choctaw history. I did not know the Choctaw were from Mississippi & were first Indians removed on the Trail of Tears. (Library)
Jen
I appreciate Tim Tingle's telling of a Choctaw story that's been told from generation to generation. Please do read the author's notes at the back of the book. It's a fascinating bit of history about the Choctaws and the slaves.

Great read-aloud for 4th grade and up.

Erin Ramai
Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom is appropriate for children in grades 2-4. It was a Jane Addams Peace Award Honor Book for younger children in 2007.

Recently, every time I read a book about slavery, whether it's a children's book or a novel, I learn something new. This was the case with Crossing Bok Chitto. Before the Civil War, the Choctaw Indians lived on one side of the Bok Chitto River, a river that cuts through the Mississippi. And plantation owners and slaves
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Jessica LeBaron

Crossing Bok Chitto
Tim Tingle

In Mississippi, there is a river called Bok Chitto. It used to be a border that separated a tribe of Choctaw Indians from plantation owners and slaves. There was a law in place that stated that if a slave managed to cross the Bok Chitto river, the slave would be considered a free man (or woman). One day, a Choctaw girl named Martha Tom was told by her mother to collect berries in a basket. Martha Tom saw berries on the other side of the Bok Chitto river, so she cross
...more
Glory
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent picture book! The emotionally nuanced illustrations pair beautifully with this heartwarming story about friendship, family and a brave Choctaw community who became like angels for an escaping slave family
Chester Richmond
This fictional picture book details the story of a unique relationship between the Chotaw natives and runaway slaves from across the river. Through various interactions each community helped the other developing a bond between them. The slaves help a lost native girl back to the river in one instance and in another the Choctaw guide runaways across the river dressed as angels with shining candles. It was known that once the slaves crossed the river they arrived in the Promised Land and were free ...more
Carly
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary:
Cutting though the Mississippi is a river called Bok Chitto. This river was a boundary between the Choctaws and the plantation owners along with their slaves. If a slave was able to escape and make their way across the Bok Chitto, the slave was to be considered free. A small Choctaw girl named Martha Tom understood the rules of the river, but one day she was feeling extra curious, so she went on a hunt for blackberries. Eventually, Martha found her way onto the other side of the river,
...more
Eloise Davis
Cutting though the Mississippi is a river called Bok Chitto. This river was a boundary between the Choctaws and the plantation owners along with their slaves. If a slave was able to escape and make their way across the Bok Chitto, the slave was to be considered free. A small Choctaw girl named Martha Tom understood the rules of the river, but one day she was feeling extra curious, so she went on a hunt for blackberries. Eventually, Martha found her way onto the other side of the river, despite h ...more
Esther Storrie
"Crossing Bok Chitto" tells the story of a deep , but forbidden friendship between Martha Torn, a Choctaw girl, and Little Mo, an enslaved boy. The book is set in the American South before the Civil War. The Choctaw Nation is on one side of the Choctaw River, or Bok Chitto. They are free, but the black slaves on the plantation on the other side of the river are not. After Martha crosses the river in search of blackberries using secret stones the Choctaw have placed just under the surface of the ...more
Laura Noto
Summary-
Crossing Bok Chitto is a picture book for students in 2nd through 4th grade. It follows a young girl, Martha Tom, who is Native American and lives in the South near the Bok Chitto River. She crosses the river (after being told not to), gets lost, and finds a makeshift church for slaves. A boy named Little Mo helps her get back to the river and their friendship begins. Shortly after that, the boy’s mother is sold and their family decides to run away. The girl and her tribe help the boy’s
...more
Karen
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crossing Bok Chitto is a book about a young Choctaw girl, Martha Tom, who is sent out to find blueberries for her mother. Since she can not find any on her side of the river, Martha Tom crosses the Bok Chitto River. She not only finds blueberries, but she also find a slave church ceremony. When she is discovered, Little Mo's dad asks Little Mo to help her get back across the river. The two develop a friendship, and she crosses the river many times to see him. When Little Mo's mother is sold to a ...more
Mackenzie Midles
This book does an exceptional job of blending both the African American and Native American culture, Choctaw. The history behind this book goes as far back as the 1900’s when African Americans were owned by plantation owners. The Bok Chitto River flows between Mississippi which during the 1900’s was a boundary for slaves and if they crossed it they were condemned free. The story is about a friendship between Martha Tom, a Choctaw girl, and an African American slave, Little Mo, while reaching the ...more
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Tim Tingle, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is a popular presenter at storytelling and folklore festivals across America. He was featured at the 2002 National Storytelling Festival. In 2004, he was a Teller-In-Residence at The International Storytelling Center, Jonesborough, Tennessee. Choctaw Chief Gregory Pyle has requested a story by Tingle previous to his Annual State of the Nation ...more