Crossing the Stream

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.


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Elizabeth-Irene Baitie is the director of a medical laboratory. She holds an MSc in Clinical Biochemistry with Molecular Biology from the University of Surrey, UK. “Working in a lab is about running tests and making discoveries,” she says. “Life is like that. You don’t realize who you are until you’re tested.” Her stories for children and young adults simultaneously tug at and thrill the heart. Her first children’s book, A Saint in Brown Sandals, won the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa. Subsequent young adult novels— The Twelfth Heart, The Dorm Challenge, Rattling in the Closet, and The Lion’s Whisper— were awarded the Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature. She has had seven novels published to date and lives in vibrant Accra with her husband. They are parents to three largely grown- up children.

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