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Crossing Ebenezer Creek
Contributor(s): Bolden, Tonya
ISBN: 1599903199     ISBN-13: 9781599903194
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: May 2017
Annotation: Freed from slavery, Mariah and her young brother Zeke join Sherman's march through Georgia, where Mariah meets a free black named Caleb and dares to imagine the possibility of true love, but hope can come at a cost.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
African Americans; Juvenile fiction.
African Americans; Fiction.
Freedmen; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2016037742
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 6.25" W x 1.00" (0.80 lbs) 230 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 189207
Reading Level: 4.6   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 6.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q71243
Reading Level: 5.2   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 11.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2017 Fall)
In fall 1864, Mariah is liberated from slavery along with her little brother and joins Sherman's March to the Sea. She wants nothing more than an acre of her own ground--until she meets Caleb. Alternating between Mariah's and Caleb's perspectives, Bolden fleshes out a harrowing historical betrayal, weaving an unforgettable story. An author's note tells more about the drownings and massacre at Ebenezer Creek. Bib. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2017 #2)
In late fall of 1864, Sherman's March to the Sea is underway, and while the Union army wreaks havoc throughout the South and stamps out Confederate defenses to win the war, thousands of enslaved black people find themselves suddenly, disorientingly, freed by the army as well. Mariah, a young black woman in Georgia, can scarcely believe that her dream has come true when she is liberated along with her little brother Zeke and joins the march as it heads toward Savannah. She wants nothing more than an acre of her own ground, with the memories of death and cruelty behind her—nothing more, that is, until she meets the kind but inscrutable Caleb, who helps her and her friends adjust to life amidst the army. Caleb returns Mariah's feelings and relishes planning a bright future with her and Zeke, but he is also wary, aware that tensions are rising as the march continues, as the previously enslaved confront despised black slave drivers, and as Union soldiers begin to see the black civilians as a burden. Mariah and Caleb's relationship develops a little quickly for two such cautious and responsibility-laden young adults, but their shared trauma and fragile hopes are breathtaking in their authenticity as tragedy inevitably engulfs them. Alternating between Mariah and Caleb's perspectives, Bolden fleshes out a small, harrowing historical betrayal, weaving an unforgettable story and capturing both the frailty and resilience of hope. An author's note tells more about the December 1864 drownings and massacre at Ebenezer Creek; a list of sources is also appended. anastasia m. collins Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 March #2)

Since the start of the Civil War, Mariah has dreamed of a Yankee victory that will grant her and her fellow enslaved men, women, and children their freedom. After Union soldiers show up to loot her Georgia plantation in November 1864, she, her younger brother Zeke, and many others join the 14th Army Corps of the left wing of General Sherman's army as it marches through Georgia. When a kind black man named Caleb invites her and Zeke to ride in his wagon, Mariah—generous hearted herself—accepts, bringing along a traumatized woman who cannot care for herself. The attraction between Caleb and Mariah is allowed to grow slowly and quietly, expressed only in each one's thoughts, over 12 days on the march. Readers learn, along with Mariah, about the war through Caleb's stories; the close-knit ties among the formerly enslaved members of the company are depicted through their experiences on the march, while the trials of their daily lives are revealed through Mariah's mostly silent memories. Bolden (Capital Days) bravely concludes this concise, moving story with a historically accurate and horrifying ending. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jennifer Lyons, Lyons Literary. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 March)

Gr 7 Up—In 1864, teenager Mariah and the other African Americans living in slavery on her plantation are freed by Union forces and encouraged to begin following General Sherman's march through Georgia. Caleb assists Mariah as she prepares to join the march. Caleb and Mariah are immediately attracted to each other but are hesitant to express their feelings, so their relationship evolves slowly. Their pasts make trusting people difficult, and their presents make clear that freedom solves many problems but doesn't erase racism. As the march nears Savannah, travel becomes difficult and some of the Union officers start seeing those following their march as a liability. The resulting tragedy at Ebenezer Creek has largely been forgotten but is retold here as a powerful message to present-day readers. The refrain "colored lives don't matter" creates resonance with current events. This phrase is backed up by discussion of overt violence against the African American characters (including rape). The author is known primarily as a writer of nonfiction, and her skills as a researcher enhance a subject for which there is limited source material. The well-executed premise, a compelling love story, and unique historical details will appeal to fans of Ruta Sepetys's Salt to the Sea. VERDICT This moving and engrossing portrayal of a little-known historical tragedy belongs on all YA shelves.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.