a lesson in fiction and non-

30 days of pbDay TenSaltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light

by Tim Tingle, Illus. Karen Clarkson

Cinco Puntos Press 2010.


Saltypie cover_72dpiIn this powerful family saga, author Tim Tingle tells the story of his family’s move from Oklahoma Choctaw country to Pasadena, TX. Spanning 50 years, Saltypie describes the problems encountered by his Choctaw grandmother—from her orphan days at an Indian boarding school to hardships encountered in her new home on the Gulf Coast.—goodreads

Not only the book Saltypie, but the term Saltypie describes problems Tim Tingle’s Choctaw grandmother encountered in her life, from a small child to old age. The story is framed in stories told about the grandmother from various members of Tingle’s family. The collective creates a family history.

untitled“My grandmother was a strong and special Choctaw woman,”and this beloved is the figure around which the story orbits. As one who could be seen as representative of ‘heritage’, hers is a heritage loved and able to find joy despite the pain and struggles experienced due to her Choctaw membership. There is a particularly lovely illustration of a family, corporeal and spirit.


The illustrations engage the reader in the memories Tingle describes, jewel-tone colors and attention to detail record moments warm and sometimes disturbing. The different captures of memories, of portraits, suits the threaded and somewhat linear narrative, while supporting the variant angles and narrators.

There is non-fictional approach to story at the end of the picture book, “How Much Can We Tell Them?” The black and white photos will contain familiar images. Tingle and publisher Cinco Puntos Press are not coy in their desire to educate: “Might we now begin—one parent, one child, one teacher, one classroom at a time—a real and more truthful education about American Indian.”

Saltypie creates that empathy in the storytelling, and the reason in the non-.


Tim Tingle “a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is a sought-after storyteller for folklore festivals, library conferences, and schools across America. Tingle received his Masters Degree in English Literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies.” Author of Crossing Bok Chitto w/ illus. Jeanne Rorex Bridges (Cinco Puntos 2005), When the Turtle Grew Feathers (August House 2008), and several juvenile and teen novels.

Karen Clarkson “a Choctaw tribal member, is a self-taught artist who specializes in portraits of Native Americans. She did not start painting until after her children had left home; she has since been widely acclaimed as a Native American painter. She lives in Prescott, AZ.”—bio via goodreads

Published by L

I read, and I write. and until recently, I sold books.

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