I Am Osage: How Clarence Tinker Became the First Native American Major General

by Kim Rogers (Author) Bobby Von Martin (Illustrator)

I Am Osage: How Clarence Tinker Became the First Native American Major General
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

This informative and inspiring picture book by acclaimed author Kim Rogers (Wichita), with striking artwork by debut illustrator Bobby Von Martin (Choctaw), celebrates the achievements of Clarence Tinker, a member of the Osage Nation who became the first Native American major general.

Clarence Tinker always knew that he wanted to do something extraordinary. Something adventurous. Something that made a difference in the world.

But as a member of the Osage Nation at the turn of the twentieth century, there were a lot of obstacles that he had to face to achieve his dreams. When he was a child, Clarence was taken away from his family and community. He was forced to attend a prisonlike boarding school, like many other Native children of his generation. There, he wasn’t able to speak his language or practice his Osage customs.

Still, Clarence kept his dream close to his heart and joined the US Army with the goal of becoming an officer. Though he was treading an unfamiliar path, he worked hard and never forgot his Osage values and traditions that, ultimately, paved his way to success.

I Am Osage, the first nonfiction project from the Heartdrum imprint, combines gorgeous, vibrant artwork with a stirring text that celebrates an unsung hero while also shedding light on significant American history.

Features an author’s note and timeline.

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Kirkus Reviews

Spotlights a commendable role model and his rich heritage. 


Rogers celebrates the way [Clarence Tinker] held onto his Indigenous roots through Indian boarding school, military academy training, and afterward. [A] proud remembrance.

Review quotes

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
February 20, 2024
BISAC categories
BIO000000 - Biography & Autobiography | General
Library of Congress categories
United States
World War, 1939-1945
Aerial operations, American
Osage Indians
Participation, Indian
Tinker, Clarence Leonard

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