Summer Reading with Epic Farms
Who loves to read? I do! I do!!
As an interpreter in the K-12 school setting, I will confess to reading just about anything I can put my hands on and that includes books for kids. Epic Farms has teamed up with the Black Stallion Literacy Foundation to promote reading because it is one of the most important skills a child can develop. Obviously, our favorite subject is horses (mostly because they're so awesome :o)
I didn't have horses growing up, but one thing I did have was just about every horse book there was (and yep, I still have most of them). Since I'm picking a few of my favorites from childhood, it seemed only fair to include my Breyer horse models in the photos. Back then, riding lessons, books and models were the closest I could get to having horses; for those of you who are familiar with Epic Farms, you know we fixed that little problem but good (we have eight!)
Who loves a good horse book? - Apparently Taya does :o)
This photo was taken for our website after we teamed up with the Black Stallion Literacy Foundation. Don't you love it?
Little Black, A Pony
Ages 4 to 8
This is a wonderful story about a little boy who turns away from his faithful little pony in favor of a bigger (more exciting) horse. He soon learns that bigger is not always better, and there is nothing more valuable than true friendship.
The friend who posed for the above photo began reading this story to her grandson as I took several pictures. When I'd finished photographing them, he adamantly insisted she finish the story before he would get off her lap to go see the horses (I think he liked it). When she left, they were headed straight for the bookstore to get a copy ;o)
Little Black goes to the races, the circus... - Little guy gets around, doesn't he?
The Black Stallion
Ages 9 to 12
Little did I know when I fantasized about being shipwrecked on a deserted island with a gorgeous black horse, like this story's main character, how big a role the Arabian horse would later play in my life (I love them!). Alec finds himself enchanted by the stallion he is marooned with and decides to attempt to tame this fiery steed.
I could (and did) spend hours staring off into space dreaming about thundering down the beach with my own magnificent mount. When I got a little older, I dismissed this story as being implausible and instead daydreamed of finding a halter under the Christmas tree (which, as it turned out, was even more implausible). Now that I am older - and hopefully a little bit wiser - I will say that the bond that developed between Alec and The Black is not only plausible, but completely believable. I should know, as I have a special bond of my very own with a beautiful bay Arabian mare named Bella ;o)
Inside the cover (of my very old book) are sketches of the Black Stallion's offspring - Which meant more horse books to read - Woo!
The Black Stallion's children
King of the Wind
Ages 9 to 12
This book by Marguerite Henry paints an exotic tale of the humble beginnings of the Godolphin Arabian (Sham) and his groom, Agba. Although Agba cannot speak, he and Sham develop a close relationship through all of their adventures together. A mixture of fact and historical fiction makes this a fascinating and entertaining read.
Plus it's Arabian horses again - yay! ;o)
I guess Marguerite Henry loves horses too - She must, because she wrote some wonderful books about them!
My personal favorite: Black Beauty
Ages 9 to 12
This is the story of a horse's life as told by the horse himself (Black Beauty). Having spent enough time in the horse industry, I can honestly say that this is alarmingly accurate and definitely a tale that transcends time.
It is a wonderful story, full of both joy and sadness, and gives the reader a chance to see what the world is like from the horse's point of view. This book has had a major impact on my life: not once, but twice:
1. It caused me to get thrown from a horse at my very first riding lesson (really). Having finished this book at the tender age of six, I avowed that I would be so gentle with my beautiful lesson horse that he would absolutely worship the very ground I tread upon. You know how kids behave one way when the regular teacher is present and cut loose when there's a sub? Well the horse is the class and a new rider is always the substitute. They know. The moment my hand touched the reins my mount immediately ascertained my utter cluelessness and took off like a rocket. One well-executed buck center stage (well, arena) and I was a human cannonball; right up until the bone jarring splat at the end of my flight. And yes I got right back on, with a pair of very shaky legs and the new found knowledge that too much of a good thing astride a cranky old barn sour lesson horse can quickly become a bad thing (oh, and gravity rules - BIG time ;o)
2. It put a new dream in my heart called Epic Farms and revealed the desire to share these magnificent creatures with as many people as possible. My daughter's 6th grade class had just finished reading Black Beauty, and her teacher asked me if I would come in and do a little presentation about horses for the kids. I took a saddle, bridle, halter and some bits to pass around, as well as lots of photos of our own horses. We talked at length about horses while the children took turns looking at all the things I brought to show them. After answering a barrage of questions that led to more talking and more questions, I suddenly realized I was having the time of my life. We've had several challenges along the way, but (thanks to God's grace) Epic Farms is [finally] almost there.
There sure are lots to choose from - Even a young reader's version - far right
Got a high-tech tween? - Gotcha covered ;o)
The best news? I found the Kindle version of Black Beauty available for free download on Amazon - Boo-yeah!
Look what I found to read over the summer - On sale too: Gotta love the Spring book fair!
Can you believe Breyer has started publishing horse stories to go along with their model horses? Oh, to be a kid again...
Wait: what am I saying? I can totally be a kid when the situation warrants. I have to go shopping now!