Book Talk: HOW I BECAME A GHOST by Tim Tingle

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won’t find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could’ve been better or what worked or didn’t work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it’s here I probably think it won’t injure your brain if you read it.

Isaac is a Choctaw boy on the Trail of Tears, and he knows before he even sets out that he will not survive the journey. Premonitions of death have been coming ever since the soldiers burned his villa, and he saw the village leaders in flame and ash before the fires had reached them. The warm shivers that ripple through his body warn him when a vision is coming, and he knows that soon he too will be a ghost.

Death comes quickly, and even though he’d warned his family that he would no longer be with them soon, they mourn him as much as possible in the little time allowed before the soldiers push them along. Isaac remains with them, along with legions of ghosts who have been lost along the trail and continue to push on with their tribe and help their loved ones make the treacherous journey.

In death Isaac is reunited with a very young girl who died on a cold night after rolling from her blanket. Though she misses her family, her death lifts a threat from them. Her older sister was taken by the soldiers and held captive and at the beginning of the trek, with the promise that the same fate or worse would befall the younger child if they tried to get her back. Now that she’s a ghost, the little girl is free to help rescue her sister, enlisting Isaac’s aid and the help of their shape-shifting Choctaw friend who can become a panther at will.

I picked up this book at ALA last winter because I was impressed by the cover. It’s a fascinating story of a much-ignored historical event from the eyes of the victims. Enter to win a copy below!

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