"There is a river called Bok Chitto that cuts through Mississippi. In the days before the War Between the States, in the days before the Trail of Tears, Bok Chitto was a boundary. On one side of the river lived the Choctaws. On the other side lived the plantation owners and their slaves. If a slave escaped and made his way across Bok Chitto, the slave was free."
Thus begins "Crossing Bok Chitto," told by award-winning Choctaw storyteller Tim Tingle and brought to life with the rich illustrations of Jeanne Rorex Bridges.
Martha Tom, a young Choctaw girl, knows better than to cross Bok Chitto, but one day-in search of blackberries-she disobeys her mother and finds herself on the other side. A tall slave discovers Martha Tom. A friendship begins between Martha Tom and the slave's family, most particularly his young son, Little Mo. Soon afterwards, Little Mo's mother finds out that she is going to be sold. The situation seems hopeless, except that Martha Tom teaches Little Mo's family how to walk on water to their freedom.
Choctaw storyteller Tim Tingle blends songs, cedar flute, and drum with tribal lore to bring the lore of the Choctaw Nation to life in lively historical, personal, and traditional stories. His collection of stories "Walking the Choctaw Road" was selected as the Oklahoma Book of the Year.
Artist Jeanne Rorex Bridges traces her heritage back to her Cherokee ancestors. "Crossing Bok Chitto" is her first fully illustrated book.