The Children’s Book Review | September 28, 2017
Written by Tonya Bolden
Age Range: 14-18
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury (2017)
What to Expect: Historical, Slavery, Civil War, Romance
Stories about the long, hard path from slavery are common in American children’s fiction; from Roll of Thunder, Hear me Cry to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, these stories continue to resonate with readers of all ages. Tonya Bolden’s Crossing Ebenezer Creek, therefore, is in good company. Moving, beautifully-written, and powerful, this novel tells a story that is both familiar and heart-rendingly personal.
Mariah has prayed all her life for freedom from the brutal realities of slavery with the Chaney’s as masters. Through the beatings and separations, physical and verbal abuse, Mariah has prayed endlessly for the Yankees to bring the war to her, and set her and her brother Zeke free. When they finally come, they bring not only freedom but the enigmatic and handsome young man, Caleb. Caleb and Mariah are drawn to one another, and the temptation to hope for freedom, life, and love is almost irresistible, but caught up as they are in General Sharman’s march through Georgia, this may be too much to hope for. Based on the true-life stories of the slaves who suffered the fatal events at Ebenezer’s Creek, this is a tale about family, faith, and love as well as hatred, racism and violence.
What makes this story memorable is the strength and clarity of the many narrative voices that weave their way through its pages. The rough dialects of Mariah, Caleb and the host of other characters breathe life into their stories, giving them a voice and a presence that defies the silence of history. A much-needed reminder of the many sacrifices that make up American’s history, this novel is a testimony to the strength and importance of love and diversity in the face of intolerance and hegemony.
About the Author
Tonya Bolden is a critically acclaimed award-winning author/co-author/editor of more than two dozen books for young people. They include Finding Family which received two starred reviews and was a Kirkus Reviews and Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year; Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl, a Coretta Scott King honor book and James Madison Book Award winner; MLK: Journey of a King, winner of a National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children; Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty, an ALSC Notable Children’s Book, CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and winner of the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Middle Level Book Award. Tonya also received the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC’s Nonfiction Award. A Princeton University magna cum laude baccalaureate with a master’s degree from Columbia University, Tonya lives in New York City.
For more information, visit: www.tonyaboldenbooks.com
Crossing Ebenezer Creek, by Tonya Bolden, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Crossing Ebenezer Creek by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Civil War Books, Historical Fiction, Romance, Slavery, Tonya Bolden, and Young Adult Fiction.