Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Crossing Ebenezer Creek” as Want to Read:
Crossing Ebenezer Creek
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Crossing Ebenezer Creek

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  555 ratings  ·  136 reviews
She wanted to stay awake, wanted to see what freedom looked like, felt like at midnight, then at the cusp of dawn.

Freedom. Mariah has barely dared to dream of it her entire life. When General Sherman’s march through Georgia during the Civil War passes the plantation where she is enslaved, her life changes instantly. Joining the march for protection, Mariah heads into the u
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published May 30th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Crossing Ebenezer Creek, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Crossing Ebenezer Creek

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  555 ratings  ·  136 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Crossing Ebenezer Creek
As a Civil War history aficionado, I am very ashamed to admit that I had never heard of the tragic and appalling account of Ebenezer Creek. It absolutely shocks me that it isn't talked about or taught as part of Sherman's March. I am so thankful to have come across this novel and for Tonya Bolden, who brought this story to the world so that it wouldn't be forgotten among the pages of history. 

Anyway. You guys, this is not an easy read (not that it should be). There are some pretty horrific and f
This book was chilling and eye opening.

I did not expect the twists and turns here. And towards the end, things went for a wild turn.

The story was short and to the point. I love books on the Civil War- and it’s not common to find them told from the POV of an African American protagonist.

So that’s why I picked this up. There was also a romance promised.

And I will say that there are some aspects of that romance that play a key role in the plot. But mostly, the history and the people are the
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars: A powerful book that exposes readers to the horrors of slavery and a little known tragedy that occurred at Ebenezer Creek.

Mariah has long prayed for the Yankees to come and deliver her to freedom. That day has finally come, and Mariah is ready. She quickly gathers her few possessions and Zeke. She is pleased when a handsome black man named, Caleb, offers her a ride in his wagon. Mariah and Caleb are marching with Sherman's men across the South, delivering other slaves to
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful and heartbreaking story of the newly freed slaves who followed along behind Sherman's March, something that I had no idea happened. I only recently learned about Juneteenth, and frankly cannot imagine anything more evil than lying to other human beings in order to keep on keeping them as cattle.

This started out much the same: Mariah and her brother and their makeshift family had kept on working the plantation they all lived on, because they weren't sure if they were really free, and e
chloe ♡
heartbreaking and beautifully told.

if goodness was like mint...
All Mariah's life she's know what it means to be a slave. She's lost her Papa, Mama, been beaten, punched, pricked, harassed, seen a woman lose her family and her mind, seen people maimed when they broke the rules and knows her little brother is marked for life. Being one of Miss Delia's slaves is like being in hell, but Mariah knows in her heart one day she will be free. Freedom-Freedom means going to New York to school and finding a doctor who can help her brother. Finally, in December 1864 th ...more
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I debated whether or not I was going to write a full review for Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden or just include it in one of my shorter musings posts. It's a hard book to discuss because there is a lot the reader just needs to experience. In the end, I decided to write a full review simply because it was one of those books that kept me thinking for days after I finished it.

Mariah is a slave who longs for freedom. When a contingent
Amy Nicole
Mariah and her younger brother Zeke have just been liberated by the Yankees traveling as part of Sherman’s march. She meets Caleb, a black man who is given respect and rank in the army, and she begins to learn what freedom could mean.

This was an incredible story made even better by the historical facts that were included. You could tell that Bolden researched slave narratives and events. There was a great balance of real occurrences and narrative interpretation.

There are mentions of rape (very
Abby Johnson
Oof, you guys. This book. Based on historical events, this is a bleak recounting of the end of slavery and the atrocities committed against African-Americans, even by Yankees supposedly "saving" them. It's a sad slow-burn of a romance tempered by a lot of descriptions of just how horrific slavery was. Hand this to teens who are curious about what slavery was really like, teens who can take heartbreaking scenes of violence and who want to know the truth.

A hard, important book.
Anna Keller
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: t1
I really enjoyed this book. It was beautifully written and I really enjoyed the arc of Mariah and Caleb’s relationship. It moved a bit slow but it was worth the wait. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, action, and love stories.
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on my blog, Just a Few Chapters More!

Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden is based on a tragic, true event that took place near the end of the American Civil War, an event that I never knew about (despite spending years in school being taught U.S. history). It begins as the main character, Mariah, and a number of other slaves (including her brother Zeke) flee alongside a group of Union soldiers after they ransack the plantation where she was enslaved. As the
Joyce Yattoni
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For readers who ❤️ historical fiction as much as I do. My heart aches again as atrocities new to me were revealed about how slaves were treated and still lived every day in fear even though they had escaped slavery. This story takes place towards the end of the Civil War as Sherman’s army marched through the south decimating communities and plantations. Along the way they freed slaves and welcomed the freed negro to march with them through the south on their way to “new tomorrow’s”. Unfortunatel ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Let me preface by saying that this is not a happy read...but it is an important read.
I won't say that this review contains spoilers, because you are told exactly how it ends on the first page.

Growing up in GA, not very far from where the story begins, we were told about Atlanta burning and Sherman's march to Savannah. We were not told that the freed colors marched with the Union troops...or that incidences like Ebeneezer Creek and Buckhead Creek occurred.

But now I know, and I urge everyone to
Richie Partington
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Richie’s Picks: CROSSING EBENEZER CREEK by Tonya Bolden, Bloomsbury, May 2017. 240p., ISBN: 978-1- 59990-319-4

“The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gift you gave
To the dark and the endless skies my love
To the dark and the endless skies
-- Ewan MacColl (1957)

“He was drawn to her, like a river to the sea, the minute he saw her emerge from the root cellar.”

CROSSING EBENEZER CREEK is the tragic love story of Caleb and Mariah, a pair
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: royal
When the Yankees pass through her plantation on Sherman's march through Georgia, Mariah grabs her brother, Zeke, and an older woman, Dulcina, and accepts the soldiers' offer of a ride to freedom. Life on the plantation has been hard for Mariah and the other slaves, but Mariah has high hopes for better times ahead. Mariah gets to know Caleb, a handsome blacksmith who was born free and is working for the army, and they start to dream of a future together. Not all of the Yankees are thrilled to be ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Middle grade appropriate story, historical fiction, of a Sad tale of at the end of the US Civil War. 4 months before the true end of the war, the Union army raided farms for food and informed Slaves of their freedom, and they could then march with Sherman’s army.
Fictional tale of Mariah, a newly freed slave, and Caleb, a freeborn man helping the Union army (couldn’t be black and a soldier in this army).

Wished the story was a little longer and more time was spent on the climatic scene at Ebenez
Hannah Tester
It was a good book that showed what it was like for some African Americans during the time of the civil war. It helps us to understand and learn more about what they experienced.
Meg Wiviott
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A poignant and well told story about a little known moment in history.
Kristi Weisgerber
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
So the April book for the Senior Owlets Teen/Tween book club this year is Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden. I saw it in a catalog at work about 6 months ago or so and thought it would be an interesting read for the kids - something different that they likely would not pick up themselves. It has proven to be both educational and entertaining (in a somewhat depressing form - though that is to be expected with the subject matter).

Mariah is a slave in Georgia during the US Civil War. Freedom
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden.
Mariah and her little brother Zeke are freed from slavery and the life they have only known. Mariah for years yearned to be free from her Master and when suddenly freed, joins Sherman’s army on their march through Georgia. Mariah meets a free black, Caleb and begins a friendship with a possibility of a new free life together. This story is based on a real life event which is not known to many, until now.
Ms. Bolden draws the reader into this true event. The
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This YA historical fiction novel follows Mariah in the chaos that ensued after the start of Sherman's March to the Sea, and details a treacherous massacre by Union soldiers at Ebenezer Creek. There's an urgency in remembering our history, where we came from and how we got here, and Mariah's refrain "colored lives don't matter" still speaks truth to power in our country. I shouldn't be surprised that I never learned of this event in my history classes, but I'll never stop asking why so much empha ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
The real events behind this story are tragic, not widely known, and demand (and deserve) to be heard. I'm not sure that I feel that this book did the event justice, that there was so much more that could have been provided. One of the biggest reasons I feel that way is the actual writing of the book, it felt rough and rushed, which made the book fall flat. Full review is posted on my website. ...more
Sara Lucinda
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgally
Based on a true story, Crossing Ebenezer Creek was the civil war book that I have been looking for and dreaming about all my life. The main audience for this book is middle grade, or ages 11-14, but I think anyone interested in the topic and up for a little first love horror tragedy, then you should dive right in.

This is an individual telling from the point of view of a group of slaves freed by Yankee soldiers. After being freed from their cruel master, they join the march on, eventually to Sava
Although it took me a little while to get used to the shift in perspective from Mariah's to Caleb's, once I settled down with this story, I was hooked and raced through it to see what was going to happen. Set during the winding down portion of the Civil War as General Sherman's army punished the South, this book highlights a little-known part of history. As the Union soldiers destroyed railroads and dwellings and plundered the land and the possessions of Southerners for their own survival--and b ...more
Anne McLeod
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Tonya Bolden’s latest is a simple and devastating novel based on an atrocity that took place near the end of the American Civil War, as General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union Army closed in on the city of Savannah, Georgia. Newly freed slaves joined the Union soldiers on their march, men, women, and children who viewed the US Army as protection from Confederate forces eager to to return them to slavery.

CROSSING EBENEZER CREEK begins as Mariah flees along with her younger brother Zeke when Uni
In a southeast Georgia swamp, when a driving rain drenches an early December day, bald cypresses seem to screech, tupelos to shriek, Ebenezer Creek to moan.

In 1864, Sherman's forces are making their way through Georgia. Along with the troops, march hundreds of formerly enslaved people. Mariah and her brother Zeke are among them, moving toward what Mariah hopes is a bright future. Caleb is a young Black man traveling with the Union troops and he befriends Mariah and looks out for her and Zeke
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
This novel looks at a piece of history that many people don’t know about. Mariah and her brother Zeke have been freed from slavery in Georgia as part of Sherman’s march. As she starts to realize that she may not have to return to the brutality she has lived in all of her life, Mariah begins to see new options for both her future and that of her brother. She is given a ride in a wagon by a young man Caleb who was raised in freedom. The two slowly begin to form a relationship with one another, bor ...more
Madison Praag
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Freedom is all Mariah has dreamed about since she could remember. When General Sherman's march comes through her plantation her dream starts to become a reality. Mariah looks to the future and hopes for the best but can she leave her past of slavery behind. As she continues her journey Mariah becomes familiar with her reality. It's not the future she anticipated and many hardships continue to come her way. All Mariah can do is try her best and stand for what she truly believes.
I love the way Bo
Laura Gardner
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5/5 for Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden (@tonyaboldenbook on Twitter). Must read for all middle and high school students. I am thankful to @sljournal for adding this to their Best of 2017 list and bringing it to my attention.
Mariah has been enslaved her entire life. When the Union soldiers come through Georgia during the Civil War, she is freed, but what does that mean? Her history is pockmarked with impossible sorrows -- her mother and father murdered in slavery for small crim
Kelly Oliva
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, historical-fic
This book is chilling, and I can't stop thinking about it. The story recounts an act of pure evil that happened during Sherman's March to the Sea, the march of tens of thousands of Union soldiers during the Civil War.

The book begins when Mariah, a strong, young, orphaned black woman, is freed from slavery in rural Georgia when Union soldiers raid her master's homestead for supplies. Mariah, her brother Zeke as well as their fellow slaves are both ecstatic and unsure about what freedom means for
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Oksana, Behave!
  • Running
  • Alive in the Killing Fields: The True Story of Nawuth Keat, a Khmer Rouge Survivor
  • Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping Civil War in Sudan
  • Lincoln: A Photobiography
  • 僕のヒーローアカデミア 29 [Boku no Hero Academia 29] (My Hero Academia, #29)
  • 僕のヒーローアカデミア 27 [Boku no Hero Academia 27] (My Hero Academia, #27)
  • 僕のヒーローアカデミア 28 [Boku no Hero Academia 28] (My Hero Academia, #28)
  • 僕のヒーローアカデミア 26 [Boku no Hero Academia 26] (My Hero Academia, #26)
  • A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, #1)
  • 僕のヒーローアカデミア 25 [Boku no Hero Academia 25] (My Hero Academia, #25)
  • Mind over Weight: Curb Cravings, Find Motivation, and Hit Your Number in 7 Simple Steps
  • Jubilee
  • 約束のネバーランド 16 [Yakusoku no Neverland 16]
  • The White Rose
  • Northern Star
  • The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, #1)
See similar books…
Author and publisher Tonya Wilyce Bolden was born on March 1, 1959, in New York City to Georgia Bolden, a homemaker, and Willie Bolden, a garment center shipping manager. Bolden grew up in Harlem in a musical family and loved to read; she attended Public M.E.S. 146, an elementary school in Manhattan, and then graduated from the Chapin School, a private secondary school, in Manhattan in 1976. Bolde ...more

Related Articles

  Kids these days! Protesting injustice, sassing their elders, and sometimes saving the world. So...pretty much like kids during any other...
91 likes · 25 comments
“And she envied Caleb's knowledge. She only had bits and pieces, scraps and rags. He had a whole cloth.” 1 likes
“It's how I keep my mind from becoming mush. Learn and think. Think and learn.” 1 likes
More quotes…