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Crossing the Line

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Billy’s family has fallen on hard times, what with his da hospitalized after the war and his ma barely scraping by. But it’s no hardship for him when there’s not enough money to pay the tuition for Nativity of Our Lord, the private Catholic school everyone in his neighborhood attends. Billy’s not big on education.

When he transfers to James Ward, a Chicago public school, he
...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Sky Pony
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Average rating 4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  28 ratings  ·  15 reviews


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Zoe
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A touching, fascinating, coming-of-age story set in Chicago during the early 1900s that highlights all the struggles and racial tension of the time and reminds us that even though we’ve come so far, we still have a long way to go.
Holland
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If Bibi Belford is like most of us, she could not have imagined Charlottesville and its aftermath when she sat down to write Crossing the Line. It is probably just as well. Without a specific contemporary reference point, she weaves a bracing story around the friendship between down-on-his-luck Irish kid Billy McDermott and his barely-holding-it-together Black friend Foster Williams in the weeks preceding Chicago's 1919 race riots.

When I received the book, I had two reservations about reading it
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Amie's Book Reviews
CROSSING THE LINE is a brand new middle-grade fiction novel released August 22nd, 2017. The timing of this book's release could not be better.

I devoured this book and read the entire novel over a 24 hour period.

With racial tensions currently  rising across the United States, it is time to remind adults that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. Even though this book is targeted at children between the ages of 10-14, it is written in such a way that adults will enjoy read
...more
Julie Holmes
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
There is so much we read about history, but because we didn't live it, it remains somewhat distant. In Crossing the Line, Bibi Belford has created a character, Billy McDermott, who draws the reading into his personal struggle to follow his da's advice or bow to peer pressure. Belford has an uncanny ability to put the reader in the thick of the scenes. I could hear the boys talking to each other, could see the world as they did, from baseball games in the alley to a homemade raft on the river. Th ...more
Juan Bacigalupi
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A captivating story that brings history to life and demonstrates the lessons that yesteryear can have in our modern day. The authentic voice makes you feel like you are then and there, exploring Chicago and questions of right and wrong with Billy. Be careful not to read on a train where you might miss your stop because the story is so engrossing you might forget where you are.
Brianna DuMont
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great historical novel with timely consequences for today. Must-buy for librarians and schools.
Beth
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"We have stories to tell,"Bibi Belford writes in this powerful novel, "if we are brave to tell them.’" And I’m so glad to have read this brave story. Crossing the Line tackles tough issues that didn't make sense in Billy's lifetime, and that don't make sense now—and his journey is infused with hope that even the smallest among us can be a catalyst for big change. ...more
M. Lauritano
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I finally got a chance to read this book I happened to do the cover art for about a year ago. Bibi Belford has taken on challenging subject matter in Chicago’s 1919 race riots. She mostly rises to the occasion with a story should prove useful for classroom discussions of racism in our own troubled era, despite the space of a century.

Crossing The Line is told from the point of view of Billy, an Irish Catholic boy who happens to befriend a black boy, Foster, and his brothers, as striking white wor
...more
Gail
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile
This book is a fictionalized account of a killing that occurred in Chicago in July 1919 during Chicago’s worst race riot when Eugene Williams crossed the invisible racial color line between beaches on the Chicago river. The main character, Billy, secretly befriends Foster, a black boy, who loves baseball and whose father is also a war veteran. They spend time together in their secret hideout by the creek, but when his friend hear of it, both of their lives are changed forever. I love Billy’s inn ...more
Jackie
A truly sobering look at a part of Chicago's history, Crossing the Line, paints the picture of racial tension during 1919 when some white people harbored a unjustifiable prejudice against those that didn't look the same.

Times are tough for the McDermott family after their dad came back from the great war with PTSD. Struggling to make ends meet, Billy's mom works many hours and the family takes in a Russian boarder. Billy meets a new friend at school who just happens to be black...and through th
...more
Jaina Rose
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

Whew. I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up Crossing the Line: I thought it was going to be a rather run-of-the-mill middle-grade novel about some kids who learn to be friends across color lines and defend their choices to the outside world (along the lines of Kristin Levine's The Lions of Little Rock ). I suppose it did feature those topics, but there's so much more going on in Crossing the Line than just "crossing soc
...more
Natasha Johnson
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-shelf
This is such a powerful book. No matter how old, how wise, or how educated you are, this book is a must-read.
Kristina Sawyer
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
History gets a compelling voice in Bibi Belford’s Crossing the Line. A story that starts with the simple tale of two young boys developing a friendship quickly becomes a much larger tale, one that would forever leave its mark on Chicago’s history. As Billy continues his journey he finds that he must confront fundamental questions about the nature of equality, the value of friendship, about what lines he is willing to follow, and what lines must be crossed. The author’s narrative seamlessly carri ...more
Jarm Boccio
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I've lived in Chicago all my life, but never experienced the civil rights history portrayed in this story. “Crossing the Line” opened my mind and heart to the racial tension experienced by many in the 1920s and beyond. Bibi has artfully and realistically painted a picture of what it would have been like for two boys, one black and the other white, to find the courage to cross the racial line for the sake of their friendship. In easy dialogue and a poignant plot woven with historical facts, Belfo ...more
Alyssa L.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
*3.5/5 stars
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Bibi Belford graduated with a B.A. in English from Westmont College and has worked as a playground supervisor for children of migrant workers and was a student teacher in a bilingual classroom before completing her masters in Bilingual Literacy at Northern Illinois University. She currently works as a literacy coach and reading interventionist for an elementary school in Illinois. She is the mothe ...more

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