Parents' Guide to

Crossing Ebenezer Creek

By Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Heartbreaking tale of newly freed folk on Sherman's March.

Crossing Ebenezer Creek Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 1 parent review

age 17+

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Beautifully written and poetically rendered, this historical novel is equal parts uplifting and depressing. Bolden's depiction of the Civil War South in Crossing Ebenezer Creek, with its period-specific language and historical insights, provides an excellent overview of the diverse range of experiences of both enslaved and free and people of color. This includes some inspirational stories about some of the lucky few Black Southerners who were able to establish a bit of success and eke out a middle class life by the mid-19th century, though sadly these examples were the exception and not the rule. The war affected all Americans, and the epic and terrifying story of Sherman's March serves as a painful reminder of the complicated outcomes and implications of the conflict, as well as the shocking carnage endured by those who lived through it.

The dynamic characters Bolden crafts draw from historical archives and archetypes and mostly ring true. Importantly, this includes several with physical and mental disabilities that serve as examples of the damage inflicted upon enslaved people. One is Dulcina, a woman who frequently wanders off and is unable to verbally express herself, who had a psychotic break after her family was sold away to Texas. Another is Mariah's little brother, Zeke, who was born prematurely after her mother was flogged to death by a ruthless overseer at the behest of their maniacal enslaver. Zeke has difficulty pronouncing his big sister's name, even though he's nearly 10 years old. Many of the other formerly enslaved on the sojourn also bear the scars of bondage, each with its own horrifying accompanying story. These are difficult things for audiences of any age to read about, but it's important history to learn.

Book Details

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