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Jim Thorpe's Bright Path

by Joseph Bruchac

Other authors: S. D. Nelson (Illustrator)

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A biography of Native American athlete Jim Thorpe, focusing on how his boyhood education set the stage for his athletic achievements which gained him international fame and Olympic gold medals. Author's note details Thorpe's life after college.
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A biography of Native American athlete Jim Thorpe, focusing on how his boyhood education set the stage for his athletic achievements which gained him international fame and Olympic gold medals. Author's note details Thorpe's life after college.
  NativityPeaceLibrary | May 27, 2022 |
Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac and Lakota illustrator S.D. Nelson, who previously collaborated on Crazy Horse's Vision, join forces again in this second picture-book biography, devoted to the youth of celebrated Native American athlete Jim Thorpe. Born on the Sac and Fox reservation in 1887, Jim Thorpe was the son of a biracial Pottowatomie mother and a biracial Sac and Fox father. He and his twin brother Charlie were inseparable, and although they had different abilities - Jim was more of an athlete, Charlie more of a scholar - they encouraged each other, both at home, and away at residential school. When Charlie died, whilst the two were away at school, it was a terrible blow for Jim, who had to be encouraged to continue his schooling by his parents. Eventually he ended up at the the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, where his extraordinary athletic ability came to the fore...

Jim Thorpe's Bright Path - so named because Thorpe's Sac and Fox name, Wa-Tho-Huk, can be translated as "Bright Path" - isn't a complete biography, as the main narrative leaves off at that moment when Thorpe truly comes into his own, as an athlete. That said, the rest of the story - Thorpe's medal-winning performance at the Olympics, his mastery of an astonishing number of athletic disciplines, his participation in professional baseball and football, etc. - are covered in the author's note and timeline at the rear of the book. The main narrative here is engaging, and the accompanying artwork, done in acrylic, is beautifully expressive. I enjoyed the book, and learned quite a bit, gaining an appreciation for Thorpe's great achievement, all around. Although not the focus of the book, some attention is paid to the poor conditions at the residential schools to which so many Native American children were sent (often involuntarily) - conditions that were partially responsible for Charlie Thorpe's illness and resultant death. All in all, an excellent picture-book introduction to the life story of Thorpe, for younger children. Recommended to picture-book readers interested in sports and sportspeople, or in Native Americans of note, as well as to those who enjoy biography. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 22, 2021 |
This book is about Jim Thorpe a Native American athlete. This book talks about his childhood. Also talks about how school and sports open the door to his future. He goes on the become one the greatest athlete.
My personal reaction was that he is a great role model and just let people know you can do whatever you put your mind to.
One classroom extension could be drawing a picture of you favorite sport.
Second classroom extension could be going outside and playing that sport with your class.
  b.duggins13 | Apr 16, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Bruchacprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nelson, S. D.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A biography of Native American athlete Jim Thorpe, focusing on how his boyhood education set the stage for his athletic achievements which gained him international fame and Olympic gold medals. Author's note details Thorpe's life after college.

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A biography of Native American athlete Jim Thorpe, focusing on how his boyhood education set the stage for his athletic achievements which gained him international fame and Olympic gold medals. Author's note details Thorpe's life after college.

Available online at The Internet Archive:
https://archive.org/details/jimthorpes...
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