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Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom | Book Review


Book Review of Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom
The Children’s Book Review

What to Expect: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and Myths

Tim Tingle isn’t just an author. He is a performing storyteller, a Choctaw storyteller. Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom was honored with the American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Picture Book in 2008.

In this beautiful Choctaw tale, we learn about the friendships between Native and African Americans in the 1800s. Choctaw land and a slave plantation are separated by a river, the Bok Chitto. While picking blackberries, a young Choctaw, Martha Tom, breaks the rules when she crosses to the other side of the river and befriends a slave boy named little Mo. Breaking beyond the boundaries of the river and their cultures, the friendship between them becomes strong. When Martha learns that little Mo’s mother will be sold, she helps his family escape to freedom.

The illustrations, created by Cherokee artist Jeanne Rorex Bridges, are beautiful paintings rich in dark color. Many readers say it looks as though the people on the pages are looking directly at them. Friendship and kindness are powerful things, as is this story. Learning a little history by immersing ourselves in superb storytelling is remarkable.

Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom is a moving and inspiring story recommended to anyone looking for an uplifting read that celebrates Indigenous cultures.

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About the Author

Choctaw storyteller Tim Tingle tells stories and teaches folklore at schools, universities, and festivals nationally. The Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers selected Tim as “Contemporary Storyteller of the Year” for 2001. Tim Tingle lives in Canyon Lake, Texas, near San Antonio. Artist Jeanne Rorex Bridges traces her heritage back to her Cherokee ancestors. Born in Oklahoma, her work is nationally known and has won many awards in Native American art shows, including the 2005 Best of Show at the Five Civilized Tribes Museum. Crossing Bok Chitto is her first fully illustrated book.

Tim Tingle
About the Illustrator

Not to be outdone by Tim Tingle, artist JEANNE ROREX BRIDGES does a full circuit of Native America art shows throughout the year, in addition to showing her art and illustrations at her home studio in rural eastern Oklahoma, part of the farm and ranch land where she was raised―she bakes blackberry and raspberry cobbler for these home visits with berries she’s collected herself!

Jeanne is an award-winning artist of Cherokee ancestry. Her work has become nationally known, winning many awards in Native American art shows. For several years, she has incorporated paintings depicting the shared history of Southeastern Indians and African Americans with her Native American work. The story of Crossing Bok Chitto was a perfect fit for her first book illustration.

JEANNE ROREX BRIDGES

What to Read Next if You Love Crossing Bok Chitto

How I Became a Ghost, by Tim Tingle

Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan

Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai

5 More Fantastic Kids’ Fiction Books by Native American Authors

Bianca Schulze reviewed Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom. Discover more books like Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and Myths.

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Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
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