Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Jim Thorpe's Bright Path

Jim Thorpe's Bright Path

by Joseph Bruchac, S. D. Nelson (Illustrator)

See All Formats & Editions

A biography of the legendary Native American Jim Thorpe (1888–1953), voted the Greatest Football Player and Greatest Athlete of the Half-Century by two AP polls, focusing on his early childhood and how school and sports shaped his future.


A biography of the legendary Native American Jim Thorpe (1888–1953), voted the Greatest Football Player and Greatest Athlete of the Half-Century by two AP polls, focusing on his early childhood and how school and sports shaped his future.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
New titles give informed views of talented Native American figures. Jim Thorpe's Bright Path by Joseph Bruchac, illus. by S.D. Nelson, is a historical picture-book portrayal of the legendary Olympian and all-American athlete. Bouncing between boarding schools, young Jim never finds academics as compelling as sports. Yet despite the deaths of his twin brother, mother and father over an eight-year period, Thorpe thrives at Carlisle Indian School, his feats there just the beginning of a life filled with athletic success. An author's note and timeline highlight important events in Thorpe's adulthood. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The early life of Jim Thorpe, a Native American hero, is told at length with verve and excitement. One of twins, Jim is called "Bright Path" by his mother. After growing up mainly outdoors in territory that is now Oklahoma, Jim and his brother Charlie are sent at age six to Agency Boarding School, where Jim feels trapped. After Charlie's death, he wants to stay home, but his father, feeling that it is important that Jim learn "white man's knowledge," sends him further away to Haskell Institute in Kansas. There he first enjoys playing football. Recruited by Carlisle College, he becomes a track athlete as well as a football player. He is on his way to becoming a role model for his people. The double-page textured acrylic paintings supply details of home and school settings, school uniforms, sports activities, and the sequence of Thorpe growing from early childhood to maturity. Emotions are incorporated in gestures and postures as well as color choices in these naturalistic depictions. Notes fill in information about Thorpe's later life, along with a time line. There is a black and white photograph on the back of the jacket. 2004, Lee & Low Books, Ages 7 to 10.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Thorpe, who was named "Wa-tho-huck," or "Bright Path," by his Pottowatomie mother, spent a childhood marked by remarkable physical prowess until he was sent to an Indian boarding school at age six. He lost his twin brother (pneumonia), his mother ("sudden illness"), and his father (snakebite), but persevered, finally proving himself on the Carlisle Indian School football field in his teens. Bruchac ends this picture-book biography here. He sticks to the facts, occasionally employing bits of dialogue. He includes details about the unfair treatment of Native Americans, such as the mandatory Indian boarding schools that had unsanitary living conditions and educated students only to be maids and laborers. The theme of overcoming personal and societal obstacles to reach success is strongly expressed. The author keeps his subject linked to his heritage; for example, referring to Thorpe's speed and endurance as skills that had enabled his American Indian ancestors to provide for their families. Unfortunately, Nelson's acrylic illustrations are not as successful as the writing. The human bodies are stiff, with hands and feet that would be at home on wooden marionettes. Athletes appear frozen rather than moving fluidly. An author's note and a chronology, both illustrated with small black-and-white photos, sketch the rest of Thorpe's life.-Liza Graybill, Worcester Public Library, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The creators of Crazy Horse's Vision (2000) offer another inspiring American portrait, again focusing on their subject's youth and extraordinary accomplishments. Dubbed Wa-tho-huck ("Bright Path") by his Pottowatomie mother, Thorpe attended several Indian Schools, struggling with academics but finding his path in sports, and emerging as the 20th century's most widely gifted-though only arguably "most dominant," as Bruchac claims-athlete. Nelson switches to a less-stylized, mystical look for the illustrations, depicting Thorpe growing from lad to burly manhood, chasing down a jackrabbit, standing downcast at lonely or sad moments, dashing past rival runners or football players as he flashes a faint, restrained smile. Finished with a career recap, plus a discussion of the long effort to restore Thorpe's confiscated Olympic medals, this doesn't make the most comprehensive, or searching, profile-but young readers in need of a role model could hardly do better. (lengthy author's notes, chronology, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Product Details

Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.50(d)
AD870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac is an Abenaki Indian. He is among the most respected and widely published Native American authors, with over 100 titles in print, including the popular Keepers of the Earth series and Lee & Low's Crazy Horse's Vision, which received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. His YA novel, Wolf Mark, is a Westchester Young Adult Fiction Award winner. A Rockefeller Fellow and an NEA Poetry Writing Fellow, he was the 1999 recipient of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to writing, Bruchac is an editor at Greenfield Review Press, a literary publishing house he co-founded with his wife. He lives in Greenfield Center, New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews