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House of Purple Cedar Hardcover – February 18, 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Tingle takes us to the Oklahoma Territory of the late 1800s. While on an outing with her family, 11-year-old Rose watches as her grandfather Amafo is beaten by Marshall Hardwicke for no apparent reason. Instead of retaliating, Amafo goes home, only to return to town the next day to meet Marshall eye-to-eye. His nonviolent approach is disconcerting for the Marshall, who cannot let it lie and is determined to avenge his anger at what he considers to be an affront. Readers learn about the Choctaw way of life as they follow Rose as she tries to make sense of the Marshall's violence. Tall tales and fabulous characters intersperse with a story that unfolds, highlighting the racial tension and violence that festers in the Marshall. Told in retrospect by Rose, this tale will transport readers back to the dusty plains where life is hard, and where racism allows acts that can scar a town, even as it brings it closer together. Give this suspenseful tale to teens who can handle a novel that jumps from one character and narrative to another.—Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA

From Booklist

Set in pre-statehood Oklahoma (Indian Territory) in the final years of the nineteenth century, this novel travels from the poignant, even tragic, to the comic, while covering a community of Choctaw Indians and their white neighbors (nahullos), not excluding spirits. Tingle, Choctaw author of several children’s books and the story collection Walking the Choctaw Road (2003), is most sure-­footed in the sections narrated by Rose, who as a child witnesses the 1896 New Year’s Eve burning of the New Hope Academy for Girls, causing the death of a deaf friend. Her tale begins, “Let us now talk of Skullyville,” the eastern Oklahoma town where, along with the larger community of Spiro, the action unfolds. Rose’s grandfather William Goode is attacked without provocation by the drunken town marshal, Hardwicke, an evil bully, who becomes the center of the story. Tingle portrays the townspeople’s actions credibly and brings the unique setting of Skullyville to life in this singular tale of vengeance, compassion, and redemption. --Mark Levine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press (February 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935955691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935955696
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller. His great-great grandfather, John Carnes, walked the Trail of Tears in 1835, and his paternal grandmother attended a series of rigorous Indian boarding schools in the early 1900's. Responding to a scarcity of Choctaw lore, Tingle began collecting tribal stories in the early 90's.
In 1992, Tingle began mentoring with Choctaw storyteller Charley Jones. He retraced the Trail of Tears to Choctaw homelands in Mississippi and began recording stories of tribal elders. His family experiences and these interviews with fellow Choctaws in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma----and surprise encounters with Choctaws as far away as Bethel, Alaska----are the basis of his most important writings.
His latest middle grade novel, HOW I BECAME A GHOST, (Roadrunner Press, June 2013), pulls heavily from these interviews. It is a fictional first-person account of a young boy who "becomes a ghost" on the Trail of Tears, but stays on the walk to help family and friends survive. Filled with humor and elements of traditional lore to soften the tragedy, HIBaG includes a shape-shifting panther/teenager, a five-year old ghost sister, a talking dog, and a headstrong teenage girl who refuses to give up. In the June 28 issue of Kirkus, HOW I BECAME A GHOST received a Starred Review, Tingle's first!
Also, in late June of 2013, DANNY BLACKGOAT, NAVAJO PRISONER will be released. A HiLo novel, for teens who read on a more basic level, this tale follows the misadventures of a tough sixteen year-old on the Navajo Long Walk of 1864. Danny fights bullying soldiers, rattlesnakes, and his own fiery temper, till he meets an older prisoner who devises a dangerous escape plan.
HOUSE OF PURPLE CEDAR, Tingle's first adult novel, is set for release in January of 2014. Fifteen years in the crafting, this novel describes the struggles of Choctaws in pre-statehood Oklahoma, through the eyes of a young girl who witnesses the burning down of New Hope Academy boarding school. Filled with hope in the most tragic of circumstance, HoPC is Tingle's testiment to Choctaw elders who continue to watch over the well-being of the Choctaw Nation and its people. An adventure novel with strong elements of magic realism, HOUSE OF PURPLE CEDAR is already generating much interest among reviewers.
Every Labor Day, Tingle performs a Choctaw story before Chief Gregory Pyle's State of the Nation Address, a gathering that attracts over ninety thousand tribal members and friends. In June of 2011, Tingle spoke at the Library of Congress and presented his first performance at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. He was also a tribal storyteller at "Choctaw Days," a celebration honoring the Oklahoma Choctaws at the Smithsonian. He has been a featured storyteller at festivals in forty-two states, including five appearances at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
From 1986-1990, Tingle took regular trips to Mexico, collecting Hispanic ghost stories. He spent his summers in intensive language schools in Cuernavaca and San Miguel de Allende, obtaining a level of fluency in Spanish. Many folktales he learned from these journeys appear in his books for middle school readers, including three versions of "La Llorona." This tale is one of his most requested oral performance pieces.
Tingle received his Masters Degree in English Literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies. While teaching freshmen writing courses and completing his thesis, "Choctaw Oral Literature," Tingle wrote his first book, Walking the Choctaw Road. It was selected by both Oklahoma and Alaska on the "One Book, One State" program, and was read by students and adults in communities throughout these states. The Anchorage Daily News sponsored Tingle on a two-week tour of Alaskan cities, including remote towns accessible only by sled and frozen rivers in the nine-month winter. WTCR is now studied at universities across the United States and abroad.
As a visiting author and performer, Tingle reaches audiences numbering over 200,000 annually. In 2009, he received a fellowship to write and produce a documentary film, "The Choctaw Lighthorsemen," a historical look at the tribal police force. The film premiered in Honolulu in September of 2011. He has completed eleven speaking tours for the U.S. Department of Defense, performing stories to children of military personnel stationed in Germany.
His first children's book, Crossing Bok Chitto, (Cinco Puntos Press, 2005), garnered over twenty state and national awards, including Best Children's Book from the American Indian Library Association, and was an Editor's Choice in the New York Times Book Review.
In 2010, Tingle welcomed the release of two books; Saltypie, a children's illustrated story of his childhood. Salty was awarded BEST CHILDREN'S BOOK from the American Indian Library Association. Also in 2010, Tingle contributed a story, "Rabbit's Tail Tale," to a multiple award-winning anthology, TRICKSTER.
MORE SPOOKY TEXAS TALES, the second in this series from Texas Tech Press (2009 release), includes scary stories for the 4-7th grade reader, set in modern times: Goth big sisters, runaways, Chupacabra prowlings, La Llorona at a San Antonio wedding, and suburban night-frights. Spooky Texas Tales, released in 2008, has won multiple awards.
For the adult reader, Tingle's short story, "Six Dead Cabbies," appears in the long-awaited anthology, LONE STAR NOIRE, set for a November release at the Texas Book Festival, on the grounds of the state capitol.
And....for fans of CROSSING BOK CHITTO, Tingle has completed a three-book series for the Young Adult reader, describing the adventures of Martha Tom and Lil Mo AFTER the miracle crossing. Expect a dose of kid-friendly American Indian history and Choctaw lore, including witchery, good and bad, evil death owls, snake people, and little men of the swamps and forests. No release date has been set for this exciting series.
For Tingle newcomers, Tim is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. His great-great grandfather, John Carnes, walked the Trail of Tears in 1835. From 2002 to the present, Tingle has performed a traditional Choctaw story before Chief Gregory Pyle's Annual State of the Nation Address at the tribal gathering in Tushkahoma, Oklahoma, a Choctaw reunion that attracts over 90 thousand people!
Tim completed his B.A. degree in English Literature from the University of Texas in 1975, and in 2003 received his M.A. in Native American Studies from the University of Oklahoma (football Saturdays are very interesting!). His stories are inspired by his own childhood and life experiences, and interviews he has conducted with Choctaws in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama over the last twenty years. Since the publication of his first book in 2003, the multiple award-winning WALKING THE CHOCTAW ROAD, Tingle has enjoyed a prolific and busy career. When not performing stories and speaking at festivals, universities, and many, many schools of all grade levels, Tingle divides his time between collecting Choctaw lore in Oklahoma and relaxing and writing on the shores of Canyon Lake, Texas. For a complete listing of books, reviews, and awards, visit his website:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The House of Purple Cedar is set in Skullyville, Oklahoma at the turning of the 20th century. The New Hope Academy for Girls just burned down and a new Indian Agent has just arrived in town. Rose and her brother, Jamey joined Amofo, their grandfather, for a trip into town, a rare treat that would replace their daily chores. This outing actually placed them in the right place at the wrong time. The town marshall appears, alcohol leads to events and Amofo is struck with a board.

House of Purple Cedar unfolds as a story of how those who are disempowered choose to react when they are abused. The process of deciding how to react was a slow, deliberate process for Amofo as it was for Choctaw elders and Rose keenly observes this process. The narrative voice changes and we come to understand power balances throughout the community. We realize that while an individual’s actions define their own relationship, the community as a whole plays a role in allowing things to happen.

There are houses of purple cedar in the story, however, I’m not sure why ‘purple cedar’. I’ve spent some time researching this wood and can’t find anything about it. The more I looked, the more curious I’ve become about its significance.

Tingle manages better than most to weave in and out of time and back and forth between narrative voices. Rose, a young girl throughout most of the story, is the only character who has a narrative voice thus making the book appealing to young readers. Rose lives with her parents and grandparents in a home outside the city. Skullyville is a small community where Choctaw and Nahullos (Whites) all know each other, worship separately, maintain prejudices and come together in unpredictable ways.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book even though it kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the reading. I enjoyed the touch of mysticism as well as the wonderful familial relationships. Most of all I was surprised to read find myself laughing occasionally while reading a book with subject matter that includes racism, spousal abuse, murder, and more.Thankfully there are strong family, friendship and loving relationships that balance and overcome the negativity. The message of peace, love, brains and community overcoming evil is heartening. The writing is beautiful and the characters and well drawn and memorable. I have shared this book with several readers ages 14-74 and they have all loved it! I look forward to reading more by this author!
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Format: Kindle Edition
A book that champions hope in a quiet, unassuming way. For anyone who wants to remember or understand Choctaw ways, or even a time before our only communication was digital. I laughed and cried along with Rose, and longed for lazy summer days spent with my grandmother. Tingle evokes a past of dignity, paints believable characters, and confronts evil unflinchingly.
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I recomend anyone with eyes to read this book! It took me two days to read it, but I was reading at work and in the evenings! I couldn't put it down. I was a sad, funny, and heart breaking wonderful book. It helps you realize what life was like for
The Choctaws of long ago! It tells you how they belived and how life was for them.
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Format: Paperback
This mesmerizing novel centers on a Choctaw tribal community at the close of the 19th century. The community faces two monsters: one is a panther lurking in the woods; the other is Marshal Hardwicke, a murderous, bullying alcoholic.

The tale hinges on a moment of motiveless violence when the marshal physically assaults a Choctaw elder. This ignites all kinds of reactions from the Choctaw community, ranging from promises of revenge to pledges to protect the family, but the most powerful reaction is that of Amafo, the victim. He chooses to react only with kindness. House of Purple Cedar follows this storyline – good versus evil, with a few digressions – to its inevitable end.

House of Purple Cedar is the work of a tremendous imagination. The novel really comes into its own in episodes that resemble Magical Realism. Miraculous events take place at regular intervals, and these are brilliantly conceived.

Tingle is well-known as a writer of children’s books, and it’s easy to see why. His prose is clear and uses an understated lyricism. The dialogue flows, and the period details that illustrate the setting are convincingly rendered. Overall, this is a winner – a very enjoyable novel with a warm, beating heart at its core.
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I really enjoyed this book. I can't decide if it is fiction or non-fiction, I suspect a bit of both. It is a collection of short stories woven into a history of a Choctaw town in Oklahoma just before the turn of the century. The narrator is Rose, a young child of eleven, (young by our standards, quite mature by the standards of her day). Several chapters from the mid twentieth century are interspersed giving the viewpoint of Rose as an old woman. The book is as rich and colorful native American stories often are. One thing that especially attracted me (besides the story, which draws you in from the start) is the manner of storytelling. These are clearly oral history. The cadences are different to stories that are originally written for reading. The words are nuanced on the page the same as they would be if someone told you the story. A wonderful book. I hope to read more by this author.
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