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Across the Wide River - Book Review

Stephanie Reed's novel, Across the Wide River, is based on the true story of the Rankin family living along the Ohio River in the 1820s during the heightening tensions between slave owners and abolitionists.  It’s the story of a young boy’s journey to free slaves by helping them on the Underground Railway.  It gives readers a really good feel for the emotional, economical, spiritual and political debate around slavery.  It is a powerful story of faith and courage, as the Rankin family sacrifices to do what is right and challenge others to do what’s right.  It is a story of adventure and risk, as youth and adults navigate hostile communities and the Underground Railroad.  It’s a tale of self-discovery and growing confidence, as young Lowry overcomes the insecurities brought on by his peers to seek his own place in the world.  It’s a story of family and community.  It’s a story of finding ways to fight injustice – finding a way to help others – whether you are 9 or 89 years old.
 It’s an educational and inspirational read, and I hope it will inspire readers to explore injustices in their own communities and find a way to make a difference.  Stephanie Reed is a great story-teller, and I look forward to reading more of her books.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, as well as students who want to explore American history.  It would also be a great story for families of 3-9th grade children to read together, then discuss topics of faith, courage and service.
Explore more about Stephanie’s books:
·         Across the Wide River
Learn more about serving others:
·         If you know children that want to find opportunities to help solve social problems, check out
·         If you know youth groups that want to serve together to make a difference in their communities, check out my book, Ready to Go Service Projects.
·         If you know adults that want to serve, contact your local volunteer center or visit


Stephanie Reed said…
Ann, how thoughtful of you to provide service opportunities for your readers! You really do want to provide an instruction manual for moms. :-)

Thanks for your kind words. It would be wonderful if readers used the Rankin family's story as a springboard.

If you or your readers would like to sample Across the Wide River or the sequel, The Light Across the River, the first two chapters of each are available here:

Thank you for sharing your readers with me!

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