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How I Became a Ghost

(How I Became a Ghost #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,477 ratings  ·  345 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.

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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  1,477 ratings  ·  345 reviews

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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?" writi
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.
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
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
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
I'm not super impressed by the prose here. There is a way to write children's books, books for very young readers even, that don't involve Dick and Jane levels of prose. Ok, the book is slightly better then Dick and Jane, but only just. The plotting of the book isn't as tight as I think the story deserves, there's a lot of "and then this character appeared to help solve the problem" which isn't quite deux ex machina, but it is the close cousin.

My biggest issue though is the dissonance between t
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren Reed
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
An own voices Choctaw perspective and of a young boy walking the Trail of Tears with his family. Gloriously rich with Choctaw tradition and culture, likewise there is ample detail of the pain and horror caused by the U.S. army along the way. This is a trilogy and we’ll definitely be following Isaac and his tribe’s oral history through the next two books.
Travis Montgomery
I really liked this book it was good and I really liked the characters and how issac became a ghost and then Joseph and issac found Naomi and then took her back to the camp to get away from the soldiers and then the soldiers come into the camp and find Naomi and then Joseph turned into a panther and saved the leader of the solders and from getting killed from the wolf and then the solider said that they can keep Naomi
Despite being about a tragic moment in history (the Trail of Tears), Tingle manages to capture hope and courage in this story of a young boy who knows he will be a ghost soon. I loved getting to know Isaac and seeing the world through is eyes. Not only did I learn about Choctaw culture through him, but I also was taken on a roller coaster of a ride. There is magic, there is a rescue mission, and there is familial love and solidarity among people on full display. I really didn't know what to expe ...more
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.
Michael Ferrara
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great way to give upper elementary students a different perspective of Westward Expansion.
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.
Sherry Edens
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not at all what I was expecting. Its not my kind of book.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-and-youth, 2018
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.
(originally reviewed at )

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 whi
Alex  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
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
Shelves: series
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
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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

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How I Became a Ghost (2 books)
  • When a Ghost Talks, Listen (How I Became A Ghost, Book 2)

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