Back of Book:
Dramatic, quiet, and warming, this is a story of friendship across cultures in 1800s Mississippi. While searching for blackberries, Martha Tom, a young Choctaw, breaks her village’s rules against crossing the Bok Chitto. She meets and becomes friends with the slaves on the plantation on the other side of the river, and later helps a family escape across it to freedom when they hear that the mother is to be sold.
Before reading this book, I wasn’t aware that there were Native American Tribes that helped slaves cross into freedom. I was completely immersed in this story from page one. It is a beautiful tale of an unusual friendship that would save a family. Martha Tom shows true courage as she helps her friends cross the river to their freedom. Tim Tingle is a gifted storyteller. He brought this story to readers in a way that they could understand and appreciate. The text is rich in history and tradition. The story of two cultures working together is woven into a tale that allows readers to see the importance of looking beyond race and color. The illustrator painted each scene using colors that matched the mood of the text. There is a note in the back of the book that discusses the Choctaw people then and now. This is a fantastic story to add to any diverse book list.
Ages 7 and up