How I Became a Ghost

How I Became a Ghost

A Choctaw Trail of tears story

The How I became a ghost series: book 1

Written by: Tim Tingle

Published by:

The Roadrunner Press

Oklahoma city



Included extras:

Inside map illustration by Steven Walker

Showing the path of the trail of tears


A set of 14 discussion questions


Age range: Middle Grades (8-13 years old)


By Elizabeth S. Tyree

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In Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost we are introduced to Isaac, a ten year old Choctaw boy living in the Nation of Mississippi in the year 1830. Isaac lives in a village with his parents, one older brother (Luke), and a talking dog named Jumper. Though the narrator is ‘only’ ten, the reader understands from the opening line that something big is going on and that things just aren’t quite right.

“Maybe you have never read a book written by a ghost before.” Isaac says, and so it begins. He tells us of his tribes removal from their village, his dawning knowledge that the beliefs are true…the departed tribesman stay with their people as ghosts, and life as a tribe on the move, first in a swamp and then on the Trail of Tears.

Isaac also shares with us the belief that, “When you will soon be a ghost, sometimes you see people before they are ghosts. You see how they will die.” (pg 7)

Armed with this ‘gift’ and resilient spirits, Isaac and his companions, both living and ghostly, begin their long journey down the Trail of Tears. Some, including our young narrator, do not finish the journey as living beings, but becoming ghosts doesn’t seem to stop anybody. They continue on their journey, bound as a family of both blood and choice as the Choctaw are herded by hard soldiers along the path to their future.

Showing the spirit, strength of character, cunning, and community that the Choctaw pride themselves in, Tingle’s characters pull the reader along for the walk. By weaving facts into the storyline to show truths of the Trail inside the tale, Nahullos (non-Choctaw) can achieve a glimpse of what it might have been like to be forced into the walk. Though it includes several death scenes, Tingle has walked the tightrope between causing goose bumps and creating nightmares…and I believe that he did it well.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 Dragons. As usual, I look forward to reading more of Mr. Tingle’s work in the future.

To discover more about Tim Tingle, go to:






Back in the Big Chair

I am a teacher who doesn’t teach. That is not to say that I CAN’T teach. I am certified in Elementary Education, have a background in education, music, and literature, and have, in the past, very much enjoyed my time in front of students. I just haven’t ever taken that step to having my own classroom. I haven’t even substituted in about four years.

That Changed yesterday. I woke up severely early (5:03 am to be exact) and rode over an hour with my mother in order to show up at her elementary school and be a third grade teacher.

I’m a bit rusty at the classroom management thing, but I guess I did alright because they have already asked me to come back to the third grade next week! Can I tell you a secret?? I have always said that I don’t like the younger classes…fourth grade was where I did my student teaching and has always held the number one place in my heart. Fourth Grade still rules…but those kids managed to make me admit that I like third graders! I’m still a little amazed at that.

Of course, the librarian also gave me homework. It seems that two of their new books do not have Accelerated Reader tests written for them yet. I am definitely looking forward to both books (written by Oklahoma authors no less!) and, while I’m at it, I might as well write up reviews for you guys…right!?! Hopefully I will be including my books on that homework list soon. Until then, You can check out some other OK authors at Oklahoma Writers & Authors

I actually met one of the authors a few years ago, when he came to read passages from his book Walking the Choctaw Road. If you haven’t read that, or any other, book by Tim Tingle, do yourself a favor and go find it. Mr. Tingle is a storyteller of his people, and is preserving his heritage, and the heritage of a nation, through his extremely well written works. (

I haven’t met or read the other author, but after reading a little about the book, The Bulldogger Club: The Tale of the Ill-Gotten Catfish, and about Barbara Hay (the author) I have decided that I would really enjoy sitting down with this woman who displays such humor! (

Does it make me more of a nerd to admit that I am super excited to read these? Or is the nerdy part that I am even more excited to make up the comprehension tests that my new ‘kids’ will be taking?