Riding Freedom

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Scholastic Inc., 1998 - Juvenile Fiction - 138 pages
Starred Review. Grade 4?6?Equestrian Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst had the will to overcome challenges and the courage to follow her dreams. In Pam Muņoz Ryan's fictionalized biography (Scholastic, 1998) set in the mid 1800s, Charlotte was raised in an orphanage, loved tending and riding the horses, and yearned for a ranch of her own one day. Banned from the stables, the 12-year-old ran away from the orphanage, disguised herself as a man, became a skilled stagecoach driver, and eventually was the first woman to cast a vote in the California presidential election. Listeners will admire Charley's grit and determination, refusing to give up her dream, even when she was seriously injured and blinded in one eye. Melissa Hughes's narration is superb. She uses her mellifluous voice well, switching easily from raspy Charley to several other male and female characters and employing different regional accents. After the story, Ryan provides additional historical information about Parkhurst's interesting life. Horse aficionados will appreciate the author's attention to detail in recreating the bustling activity of stable and ranch life, while others will enjoy the well-paced adventure and respect Charlotte's determination to meet life head on. A gem.

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About the author (1998)

Author Pam Muņoz Ryan was born in Bakersfield, California on December 25, 1951. She received a B. A. in child development and a M. A. in education from San Diego State University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a bilingual Head Start teacher and as an early childhood program administrator. At first, she wrote adult books about child development, but soon switched to writing children's books. She has written over twenty-five picture books, novels, and nonfiction books for young readers. The novel Esperanza Rising, winner of the Pura Belpre Medal, the Jane Addams Peace Award, an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults, and the Americas Award Honor Book, is based on her own grandmother's immigration from Mexico to California. Riding Freedom has also won many awards including the national Willa Cather Award and the California Young Reader Medal. When Marian Sang, a picture book about singer Marian Anderson, won numerous awards including the ALA Sibert Honor and NCTE's Orbis Pictus Award. In 2015 her title Echo made The New York Times Best Seller List. She also won a Kirkus Prize in the children's literature category with her title 'Echo'. Brian Selznick is a Caldecott-winning author and illustrator of children's books born July 14, 1966 in East Brunswick Township, New Jersey. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and then worked for three years at Eeyore's Books for Children in Manhattan while working on his first book, The Houdini Box. Selznick received the 2008 Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. He also won the Caldecott Honor for The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins in 2002. Additional awards include the Texas Bluebonnet Award, the Rhode Island Children's Book Award, and the Christopher Award. The Invention of Hugo Cabret will be made into a film by director Martin Scorsese to be released in 2011. Other titles by illustrated by Selznick include: Frindle, The Landry News, Lunch Money, Wingwalker, and Baby Monkey, Private Eye.