Crossing the Line

Thank you O. C. Allen Elementary for ordering Crossing the Line!

Schaller’s Pump is in Crossing the Line. It finally closed its doors in 2017.

Historic photo of Schaller’s Pump, Bridgeport Chicago.

Book name: CROSSING THE LINE by Bibi Belford  ( ISBN-13 9781510708006 )

Audience: Recommended for readers ages 9-14+

Description: available for pre-order now!

Billy’s family has fallen on hard times, what with his da hospitalized after the Great War and his ma barely scraping by. But it’s no hardship for him when there’s not enough money to pay the tuition for Nativity of Our Lord, the private Catholic school everyone in his neighborhood attends. Billy’s not big on education.

When he transfers to James Ward, a Chicago public school, he finds out there’s a big difference at public school: the kids aren’t all Irish—in fact, they aren’t even all white. It isn’t long before Billy’s found a new best friend in Foster, another fifth grader who also doesn’t have any money, loves baseball, and just happens to be black.

Billy is pretty sure skin color doesn’t matter. Not when he and Foster are just horsing around, playing baseball, working on the docks of the canal, and building a raft at their secret hideout near Bridgeport’s Bubbly Creek. But in the Red Summer of 1919, it does matter.

Additional Book Facts:

From a Q&A with author Bibi Belford, on what inspired her to write the book:

“ … I was researching what happened in Chicago almost one hundred years ago, (details of the worst race riots in Chicago) …

I decided to write a book about two boys, Billy and Foster, who become friends despite their race differences and build a raft that crosses over the line (dividing the community)…  

Just like Billy (the book’s Irish-American character), I was raised to believe all people were created equal, but both Billy and I had to learn about white privilege and how damaging it is to people of color. I wrote Crossing the Line for all those students I’ve taught that face discrimination and prejudice in their daily lives, something I’ve never had to experience. The fact that they’ve allowed me to be their teacher and treated me with respect, despite racist atrocities of the past and present, humbles me. My students and my four kids are the best things that ever happened to me, and they inspire me everyday.

My goal is to write books that bring kids joy and create stories that motivate readers to be everyday heroes. “

Read the full AUTHOR Q & A for CROSSING THE LINE by Bibi Belford here: BibiBelford_AuthorQA_CROSSINGtheLINE-media-kit071417

A story set in 1919, CROSSING THE LINE is a book about friendship, bravery, Chicago, history, baseball, and more:


CROSSING THE LINE is available for pre-order in 2017 and delivers to readers and bookstores August 22, 2017

Chicago’s Union Stock Yards & Transit Co.

In the novel, Crossing the Line, Billy’s da used to work packing the meat from the Union Stock Yards (called The Yards) before the Great War. Timmy, Billy’s best friend, hoped his unemployed da might find work there. The Yards opened in 1865 as a way to consolidate the scattered stockyards which had grown during the Civil War to feed the hungry Union soldiers. During World War I Chicago’s Union Stock Yard moved 15 million animals through to produce 9 million pounds of meat. By 1921 The Yards employed 40,000 people, covered one square mile, and supported businesses that used animal hides, hair, wool, bones, horn, fertilizer, glue, fats and materials for toothbrush handles, chessmen and strings for musical instruments. Chicago packers were said to use every part of a hog but its squeal. The Union Stock Yard closed in 1971 and all that remains is this sign over the old entryway. For more information click this link.