Reviews for How I Became a Ghost : A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #1
"Maybe you have never read a book written by a ghost before." So begins this haunting--and haunted--tale of the Trail of Tears, beginning in the Choctaw Nation in Mississippi in 1830. Isaac is alive and well when his story begins, part of a happy family with his mother, father, older brother Luke, and his talking dog Jumper. But soon there is Treaty Talk, followed by the arrival of Nahullo (white) men with shotguns and torches, and the Choctaw must begin their journey west. Tingle, a Choctaw storyteller, relates his tale in the engaging repetitions and rhythms of an oft-told story. The novel comes alive in Isaac's voice and in the rich alliance of the living and the dead--Choctaw ghost walkers, a shape-shifting panther boy, the elderly bonepickers, a five-year-old ghost girl, a tough teenage girl, and the legions of Choctaw enduring their trek. Spare and authentic, this first book in a projected trilogy ends with much of the trail still ahead and legendary Choctaw leader Chief Pushmataha addressing his people by saying not good-bye but "Chi pisa lachike": "I will see you again." And in the next installments readers can expect to see Isaac again in the presence of ghosts, shape-shifters, and Choctaw heroes. dean schneide Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine.
Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #2
A 10-year-old Choctaw boy recounts the beginnings of the forced resettlement of his people from their Mississippi-area homelands in 1830. He begins his story with a compelling hook: "Maybe you have never read a book written by a ghost before. I am a ghost. I am not a ghost when this book begins, so you have to pay very close attention." Readers meet Isaac, his family and their dog, Jumper, on the day that Treaty Talk changes everything. Even as the Choctaw prepare to leave their homes, Isaac begins to have unsettling visions: Some elders are engulfed in flames, and others are covered in oozing pustules. As Isaac and his family set out on the Choctaw Trail of Tears, these visions begin to come true, as some are burned to death by the Nahullos and others perish due to smallpox-infested blankets distributed on the trail. But the Choctaw barrier between life and death is a fluid one, and ghosts follow Isaac, providing reassurance and advice that allow him to help his family and others as well as to prepare for his own impending death. Storyteller Tingle's tale unfolds in Isaac's conversational voice; readers "hear" his story with comforting clarity and are plunged into the Choctaw belief system, so they can begin to understand it from the inside out. The beginning of a trilogy, this tale is valuable for both its recounting of a historical tragedy and its immersive Choctaw perspective. (Historical fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.