I don’t often call myself an expert at anything, but one thing I am 100%, without a doubt an expert at? Horse books. Seriously. I’ve read them alllll. Well…at least all of the classics and pretty much everything written (classic or not) before 1992!
True story: I read every horse book in my library in elementary school, and then did the same in junior high. I had a library of books any horse-crazy kid would have swooned over. I mean, there was a reason my classmates called me “Horse” from pretty much 4th-9th grade. And I was cool with it, because horses are awesome.
I get anxiety trying to narrow ALL THE HORSE BOOKS down to my 10 favorites, so I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’ve got a list of some of my favorite horse books for kids…starting from little kid and going up to the tween/teen years. These books will be a hit with any kid who loves horses!
But first, a thing you need to know about horse books. Horse books tend to be…cheesy. And I don’t like cheesy books. Not only did I grow up reading about and loving horses, but I also grew up riding them…and I can smell a cheesy. unrealistic horse story a mile off. The books here are all written by people who clearly know horses (even though the actual plots might not be that, ahem, realistic).
Some of these books are out-of-print…but I included them because they are true gems, and worth finding!
Let’s get started!
Horse Books for Kids
1. From Appaloose to Zebra, by Jessie Haas – I found this book in a little book shop in Oregon when I was pregnant with Jack. I opened this gem of a book and bought it immediately. This is an ABC book, designed for kids. It rhymes and is full of horse facts and fun (and accurate) illustrations. It’s also SUPER fun to read, with lots of alliteration and fun words for kids to learn. I can’t recommend it enough for your little horse lovers!
2. One Horse Waiting for Me, by Patricia Mullins – This is a counting book, designed for younger kids (up to five or so). It’s full of stunning illustrations and is another one I love to read.
3. Little Black, A Pony, by Walter Farley – My 2.5-year-old and 5-year-old love this book! It’s a sweet and inspiring tale of a little pony who thinks he’s getting replaced when the little boy who owns him starts riding a big horse. This books teaches kids that we all have a job to do and can be useful, no matter how little we are. I also love the illustrations in this one.
4. Saddle Club, by Bonnie Bryant – The Saddle Club series were a favorite of mine during my tween and early teen years. An ongoing series about three best friends and the horses they love, the Saddle Club books are fun and easy-to-read. And because there are, like, a gazillion of them, they will provide hours (years, maybe) of reading fun.
5. The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley – Okay, so the premise of this story – a young boy and an Arabian stallion are shipwrecked and bond on a desert island, to be rescued and return home and win a race against the country’s fastest Thoroughbreds – isn’t entirely plausible. But Walter Farley knows horses and kids will immerse themselves in this story and Walter Farley’s world, which includes lots of fun follow-up stories that follow The Black and his boy, Alec, through their lives. The Black Stallion was also made into a movie, so kids can watch that after they finish the book!
6. Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell – This beautiful tale will resonate with kids and adults, too. Told from the horse’s point of view, we learn about a difficult life lived by our hero, Beauty, as he is passed around from owner to owner. There’s also a movie version (that is very well-done, if I recall – it’s been awhile since I’ve watched it!) that kids can watch after they finish the book.
7. Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry – This is the true story of a wild pony, Misty, purchased by a family living on Chincoteague Island (one of the places I must visit before I die!). The story is fabulous, the illustrations beautiful, and the fact that it’s true is just the icing on the cake. There are also several follow-up books, all based on Misty’s life (and the lives of those around her, including her own foal, Stormy). Marguerite Henry is a well-known author of horse books, and it’s safe to say that any book she’s written will be cherished by your horse-loving kids.
8. Silver Snaffles, by Primrose Cumming – Growing up, this was my favorite book ever. And it’s such a treasure to me today, too…it’s no longer in print, but I had to share because it’s that amazing…and you never know when you might stumble across it. Silver Snaffles is the tale of a little girl who, when visiting the neighbor’s old pony, stumbles into a world of talking ponies who teach her to ride. I cherish my copy of this book!
9. Encyclopedia of the Horse, by Elwyn Hartley Edwards – This was my bible growing up, and I’m not kidding. I memorized every breed of horse in this book, and learned about every equestrian sport the world has to offer…not to mention every ailment any horse could ever have, and the history of the horse. If you have kids that want to learn more, this book is for them.
10. Thoroughbred Series, by Joanna Campbell – This is another series for your tweens. I was actually a little bit too old for these books when they came out, so I only read one or two. But my little sister read them all, and she loved them! These tell the story of a young girl, Ashleigh, and the horse she nurses to health named Wonder. This is another long series with lots of books for your book lovers!
Okay, and one more! My friend Sarah has an ebook available that’s perfect for toddlers and little kids who love horses! You can buy I Love Horses for just $.99 here.
What are your favorite horse books?