For over a year, National Public Radio has been exploring children's books with the Backseat Book Club. This program encourages kids, and their families, to read selected books and send in their questions for the featured author. This series has covered a wide range of different books (including a personal favorite The Graveyard Book).
Next up for October is Black Beauty, with author Jane Smiley - listen to the NPR interview here.
Jane Smiley is best known for her adult fiction, but has recently published a series for middles grades starting with The Georges and the Jewels. Read an interview with the author about her story of horses and growing up in the 1960's from Publisher's Weekly here.
Interested in other horse related books for young readers? Here are some recommendations from Jane in the Bear Pond Children's Room:
Riding Freedom, Pam Munoz Ryan-- a fictionalized biography of equestrian Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst who lived her life disguised as a man and was the first woman voter in the U.S.A. Ages 9 up.
Paint the Wind by Pam Munoz Ryan-- set in Wyoming and told in alternating voices; that of 11 year old orphan Maya and of a wild mustang mare named Artemesia. Ages 9 up.
The Horse Diaries series by various authors, published by Random House. This series for early readers is unique; each book is told through the voice of a particular horse, set in a different time in history. The second book is set in Vermont in 1850 (written by veteran Alison Hart) at a time when it is unlawful to help runaway slaves. Very useful in educational settings. Ages 7 up.
Raja, Story of a Racehorse, by Anne Hambleton, is told through the eyes and ears of Raja the thoroughbred. The author is an ex-steeplechase jockey from Vermont. Ages 10 up.