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How I Became a Ghost

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,149 ratings  ·  289 reviews
Told in the words of Isaac, a Choctaw boy who does not survive the Trail of Tears, HOW I BECAME A GHOST is a tale of innocence and resilience in the face of tragedy. From the book's opening line, "Maybe you have never read a book written by a ghost before," the reader is put on notice that this is no normal book. Isaac leads a remarkable foursome of Choctaw comrades: a tou ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by The Roadrunner Press
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Brandy 141 pages, my 9 year old recommended this to me, such a great story.

Community Reviews

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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,149 ratings  ·  289 reviews


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Sarah
The CCBC discussion list used this book, set during the Trail of Tears and centering on a Choctaw boy and his circle of family and friends, during its discussion of multicultural literature last year, and I'm so glad. Calling it historical fiction makes it sound "good-for-you" - while it may be, it's also funny, moving and incredibly exciting. Calling it "magical realism" makes it sound fantastical, and the supernatural elements in this story are nothing if not matter-of-fact and grounded. And w ...more
Alex
Dec 09, 2018 marked it as to-read
debraj

OK!
Miriam
Nov 17, 2014 marked it as to-read
This was recommended by the American Indian Library Association. I may try it, although I want to tell whomever wrote the blurb that "thinly disguises an important and oft-overlooked piece of history" is not a selling point; it sounds like a thinly disguised version of "this book is pedantic and heavy-handed and you're reading it only for educational value."

Although to be fair, maybe they're just being honest, because that's kind of how I remember the other Tingle book I read, Crossing Bok Chit
...more
Jake Castaneda
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is my review on the book, "How I Became A Ghost" by Tim Tingle. This book was really, really good, and it is ranked on my most favorite books of all time. This book is filled with suspense, and it it had me on the edge of my seat the whole ride. The book is a candidate for the Rebecca Caudill award, and it definitely deserves to win. I recommend this book to all readers, and you WILL enjoy it folks.
This book is about a Choctaw boy who's family is on a journey from Mississippi on the "Trai
...more
Billy Newman
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book has to be the best one I'v read in a while. Its all about sadness and sorrow. Their is so much problem solving involved in this book its a must read! The main character is having trouble and goes through some hard times and he has to help his friend find his lost sister Anomi. One day he is doing something down by the river and spots a wolf. That was the ending to his life and he becomes a ghost but it is still up to him to help find Anomi. Later in the book he finds some cool power th ...more
Renata
This is a book I've heard about for awhile and resisted reading because it just sounded like it would be SO SAD, but now it's 2017 and we're all sad all the time so I picked it up.

And I'm glad I did! It is sad--it's the story of a Choctaw boy and his family who are forced on the Trail of Tears. And since the book is narrated by Isaac's ghost, we know the boy dies...but the book's tone and cultural attitude toward death/ghosts make it...well, just slightly less crushing to read. It's a very enga
...more
EsEfEm
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
I know this book was written for the 9-12 year age group, but I think Tim Tingle vastly underestimates the intelligence of that age group. They're kids, they're not stupid.
I had a few problems with this book. First of all, the use of exclamation points. They're all over the place. At first I tried to justify it by thinking Isaac was really that excited at everything, but that didn't work. There were way too many.
Then come the plot holes (spoilers coming).
It was made to be a Big Deal that Isaac c
...more
Ann
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tim Tingle has become a favorite writer of mine. His mastery of storytelling is obviously viewed by some as oversimplification. That's unfortunate. This book could not have been better. A far cry from O'Dell's SING DOWN THE MOON. Tingle is Oklahoma Choctaw and his great-great grandfather walked the a Trail of Tears. The pain, humor and love in this book are real. Can't wait for the next two books in the trilogy.
Cheyenne Dotson
Have you ever wanted to speak to ghosts? The book "how i became a ghost" by Tim Tingle is a fiction book, where you can discover what it is like to speak to ghosts. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next throughout the whole book. If you are interested in ghost stories you should keep reading.

This book is about a Choctaw boy named Isaac who's family is traveling from Mississippi to the "Trail of Tears" after soldiers shot people and burned down their hou
...more
Brooke C.
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How I Became A Ghost by Tim Tingle (a book that has a tremendous twist!) A ten year old Choctaw boy named Isaac is living in his very loved home with his Mother, Father, his dog named Jumper and his big brother, Luke. The story takes place in Choctaw Nation, Mississippi, 1830. Isaac (the narrator), starts the story off by saying "MAYBE YOU HAVE never read a book written by a ghost before. I am a ghost." The story is about the journey on how Isaac became a ghost. Isaac has the ability to see how ...more
Jana Gueck
My 4th grade students loved this book! They rioted every time book I tried to close it. They are so excited that it's a series!

I would be cautious in the middle, especially if you know you have students who struggle with depression. A pretty obvious spoiler, considering the title but: (view spoiler) there is a lot of language around the peace of death. Do your best to read at least two more chapters after this. Make sure you do a quick "how do you feel?" writin
...more
Nicholas
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book about how family and relationships really come together in the old Choctaw land. when Isaac hears about the treaty talk in town, his family knows they need to leave. they walk on the trail of tears, an old path where thousands of Choctaws are walking away from the homes they loved. when Isaac is killed by a wolf, his ghost still helps guide the way. I hope you read this book about moving on and keeping your eyes on where you are going.
Mike Hays
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent introduction for the young reader to the history of the Indian Removal Act and the Choctaw Trail of Tears experience. I highly recommend this book for an entertainingly educational reading experience. Laughter, tears, faith, and family in a perfect mix of Choctaw culture.
Kayla
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dioselina Rodriguez
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
*Spoiler Alert*
"I see things before they happen. You are probably thinking "I wish I could see things before they happen. Well be careful what you wish for." The genre of this book is historical fiction. I liked this book but I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped.

A boy named Issac lead a normal life in Choctaw Nation, Mississippi, 1830. He lived with his father, mother, an older brother, and his dog jumper. One day Issac's dad went out to fish and when he came back he told his family that there w
...more
Murray
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Isaac is a Choctaw boy who lets the reader know that he is going to become a ghost. Isaac and his family and their village are displaced and forced to move by the Nahullos (white soldiers) and walk what is known to today as the Trail of Tears. There is a lot of magical realism with this story as Isaac has visions, his friend Joseph is a shape shifter, and he and his dog Jumper can talk to each other. The main plot point of the story is that Joseph and Isaac plan to rescue a Choctaw girl, who was ...more
Ms.Guering
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
An engaging story of how the Choctaw Indians were forced off their land in Mississippi through U.S. government treaties and required to move west toward Oklahoma. In the middle of winter with no blankets, shoes, and very little food, the Choctaws faced harsh conditions along the route. Their trek to the West became known as The Trail of Tears due to the number of Choctaws and other tribesmen from the "five civilized tribes" that lost their lives along the way. How I Became a Ghost, tells their s ...more
~☆~Autumn♥♥
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this one partly because it has the supernatural stories and also it started out in Mississippi. I wrote a similar short story in about 1962 but it was very short.
Carla Castro Garcia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rebecca Caudill 2017 nominee. Four stars because students adore the story of Isaac's trauma and death on the Choctaw Trail of Tears. This reads as though spoken by a storyteller, and the first two thirds is terrifically compelling, including Isaac's visions and the long, terrible walk, and his death. The end feels rather sudden and is more difficult to follow, relying on much more told than shown.
Erika
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, kids-and-youth
This tells the story of a boy walking the Trail of Tears with his Choctaw people when they were marched to their new reserve. It deals with small pox and the brutality by the soldiers. It’s the first of a trilogy. I will use it with my grade 7 students as a bookstudy.
ElphaReads
(originally reviewed at elphareads.tumblr.com )

I work at a historic fort up in the northland, and one of my favorite topics to teach the visitors about is the relationship between the United States Government and the American Indians in the 19th century. While it is my favorite topic to talk about, it is also the topic that a fair amount of visitors are not comfortable or interested in hearing about. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard micro-aggressive to flat out racist comments while
...more
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: randomly-reading
Isaac, 10, and his family are part of the Choctaw Nation living in Mississippi in 1830. One morning, Isaac's father tells his family that they will have to move from their homeland. The Choctaws had been Treaty Talking with the Nahullos (White people), who, Isaac declares, must want something.

Around the same time, Isaac begins to have premonitions of how people will die. And after the Nahullos burn down their village one night, he begins to see the ghosts of deceased Choctaws. Now homeless, the
...more
Karime Munoz
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheriee Weichel
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Knowing at an abstract level that unspeakable horrors have been visited upon a people is one thing. Living it vicariously through narrative is a profoundly different experience. This is why I read historical fiction. Not only do I get a chance to understand history at a much more viceral level, I also learn much about other cultures and their ways of knowing the world.

Choctaw Nation Mississippi 1830:

Isaac, a young Choctaw boy lives idyllically with his parents and older brother until the treaty
...more
D.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: seed
This short novel is the first in a proposed trilogy chronicling the 1830 journey of the Choctaw in the Trail of Tears. The story is told by Isaac, a young Choctaw who can see ghosts, and is told that he will soon become one. The book is told in Isaac's world, and through his point of view, so it uses simple language and stark imagery to tell the story of his family and tribe as they are removed from their homeland and begin the long process of their relocation. Along the way, the reader comes to ...more
Jennifer Denney
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Ten-year-old Isaac's family receives word that they are being forced to move. A treaty has been signed with the white people and his tribe of Choctaws is moving, walking, along the Trail of Tears. Isaac begins seeing visions of death -- people on fire, people covered in sores -- and knows that he will soon become a ghost too. He and his family make friends with others along the trail despite the cold and hardship, and when Isaac does become a ghost, he is able to join other ghosts in his quest t ...more
April
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
Reflection: This book, like Freedom Song, made me think back to my elementary social studies classes and learning about the trail of tears. I loved this book and the way I was able to get a feel for like as a Native American. This book helps to make sense of what we did to the Native Americans and the terrible way there were treated.

Rational:
This book is multicultural because it helped the reader understand the culture of the Chocktaw Indians. It included their food, values, traditions, and way
...more
Naomi
This American Indian Youth Literature Award winner is the perfect book for students in middle school, high school, and college. The story has short chapters and strong characters. It is full of details about the families that walked the Trail of Tears and struggle to survive. This book made me cry and reflect on the genocide of Native people in the Americas. Tim Tingle writes a beautiful story that teaches young and old to remember the past. This story is powerful and is one readers will remembe ...more
Alejandra Sanchez
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
How I became a Ghost is a very different book, but it is still really good. It starts being narrated by a little Choctaw boy, Isaac, the main character, who will later on become a ghost. He starts seeing how people die, and he was really scared at first, but when he became a ghost, he was a little more used to it. He meets new people who will help him face challenges throughout the story. I rate this book a four because it is different, not like any other book I've read before, but it is a littl ...more
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Middle School Adv...: How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story 1 4 Sep 09, 2016 06:39PM  
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Tim Tingle, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is a popular presenter at storytelling and folklore festivals across America. He was featured at the 2002 National Storytelling Festival. In 2004, he was a Teller-In-Residence at The International Storytelling Center, Jonesborough, Tennessee. Choctaw Chief Gregory Pyle has requested a story by Tingle previous to his Annual State of the Nation ...more
“You cannot keep your eyes on the bloody footprints you have left behind you. You must keep your eyes on where you are going.” 6 likes
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