Jim Thorpe's Bright Path


(Cooperative Children’s Book Center) Joseph Bruchac’s cogent text details key events in the childhood of one of the most talented athletes of the 20th century. As a child in Oklahoma, Jim Thorpe loved being physically active and exploring the natural world with his father and twin brother, Charlie. From an early age, it was clear that he was a gifted athlete. When he and Charlie were sent away to Indian Boarding School, Jim hated having to sit indoors all day so much that he sometimes ran all the way back home, a distance of more than 20 miles. After both of his parents and his brother died, Jim stuck with school because he knew his father valued his getting an education. When a recruiter from the Carlisle Indian School noticed Jim’s athletic ability, he talked him into transferring so he could be a member of their track team. There Jim excelled at track and at football, showing the promise of great things to come. A detailed author’s note and timeline at the end of the book provide information about events in his adult life, including the controversy over his Olympic gold medals. S.D. Nelson’s golden-hued realistic illustrations provide a strong sense of time and place.