Stone River Crossing

By Publishers Weekly

Tingle, an Oklahoma Choctaw, expands on his 2006 picture book Crossing Bok Chitto in this immersive tale of the friendship between people on opposite sides of the Bok Chitto River in 1808. Based on oral histories of Native Americans helping enslaved people gain their freedom, the novel focuses on Lil Mo, a boy enslaved on a Mississippi plantation, whose accidental meeting with Martha Tom, a Choctaw girl, brings about his family’s escape. After Martha Tom shows Lil Mo and his family the stone bridge that lies just beneath the river’s surface and they flee the plantation’s guards, they begin a new life in Choctaw Town, protected by Choctaw law. Lil Mo eagerly adapts, making friends such as Funi Man, a squirrel hunter with magical powers, and honing his skills at moving and hiding in the woods, but he faces dangers, too, from the plantation owners’ henchmen as well as from an otherworldly witch owl. The story builds slowly but gradually grows gripping as Lil Mo’s Choctaw friends try to destroy the powerful forces that have taken him over. Richly descriptive and leavened with humor, Tingle’s complex novel offers valuable insights into rarely told history.