Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path

$10.00 each


Bruchac and Nelson combine inspired storytelling and masterful illustrations in this biography of the renowned athlete.


Bruchac and Nelson combine inspired storytelling and masterful illustrations in Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path, a biography of the internationally renowned Native American athlete.

His mother named him “Wa-tho-huck,” which means Bright Path, in a small log cabin on the North Canadian River. Indeed, Jim Thorpe would travel far along a path of excellence.

In racing his twin brother Charlie, hunting and riding horses, young Jim stood out. But everything changed when he turned six and the two boys were forced to attend boarding school. Jim’s spirit suffered when he was stuck at a desk, hit across the knuckles, and forced not to speak his Native language. But despite hardship, Jim found the silver lining at boarding school: football.

This is the uplifting story of how Jim Thorpe’s boyhood education and perseverance set the stage for his athletic achievements. Despite being discouraged from playing sports at Carlisle Indian School, Thorpe proved himself over and over in every sport he tried. And, the author writes:

“He was carrying not just a football, but the hopes and dreams of his family, his people, and all the Indians who had been told they could never compete with the white man.”

Author Joseph Bruchac is one of the most respected and widely published Native Americans writing for children and young adults today. In this book’s acknowledgments, Bruchac recognizes the many people who worked hard over the years to pass on Jim Thorpe’s legacy and restore the Olympic medals that were taken from him.

Illustrator S. D. Nelson also collaborated with Joseph Bruchac in the book Crazy Horse’s Vision. He is an author and illustrator of several other picture books inspired by the traditions of his Lakota heritage.



Author: Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki)

Illustrations: Color illustrations by S. D. Nelson

Binding Availability: Paperback

Published: 2004

Tribes/Ethnic Groups: Pottowatomie, Sac and Fox, Abenaki