Crossing the Stream

crossing the stream

A heartfelt middle grade novel about the stories that heal us, and about having the courage to let go of the past.

Ato has always seen his father as a real-life Superman, maybe even with a bit of Iron Man and the Hulk mixed in. When he dies, Ato and his mother are devastated, and struggle to put the pieces of their lives back together. So when Ato’s mother decides he should spend the summer with his grandmother, he isn’t sure what to expect. It certainly isn’t arriving to find her preparing to bury the family sofa. As the summer goes by, Nana tells stories about the couch that span generations and that are by turns hilarious and heartbreaking. In listening, Ato discovers his father’s vibrant, complicated life, and learns to honor his past with hope for his future.

Whimsical and wise, Crossing the Stream is a big-hearted story of loss and love set in contemporary Accra, from one of Ghana’s most lauded children’s book authors.---from the publisher

208 pages                          978-1324017097                           Ages 9-12

Keywords:  family, multigenerational, coming of age, father, loss, grief, death and dying, summer, grandmother, heritage, diversity, diverse books, humor, hope, Ghana, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, Africa


"A powerful coming-of-age story of self-discovery and overcoming fear.”―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Ato hasn’t visited his grandmother’s house since he was seven. He’s heard the rumors that she’s a witch, and his mother has told him he must never sit on the old couch on her porch. Now here he is, on that exact couch, with a strange-looking drink his grandmother has given him, wondering if the rumors are true. What’s more, there’s a freshly dug hole in her yard that Ato suspects may be a grave meant for him.

Meanwhile at school, Ato and his friends have entered a competition to win entry to Nnoma, the island bird sanctuary that Ato’s father helped created. But something is poisoning the community garden where their project is housed, and Ato sets out to track down the culprit. In doing so, he brings his estranged mother and grandmother back together, and begins healing the wounds left on the family by his father’s death years before.

And that hole in the yard? It is a grave, but not for the purpose Ato feared, and its use brings a tender, celebratory ending to this deeply felt and universal story of healing and love from one of Ghana’s most admired children’s book authors.---from the publisher

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