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The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

Module 2 – Caldecott Medal Winners/Picture Books/SLIS 5420


Goble, Paul. (1978). The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses.  New York, New York.  Atheneum Books for Young Readers.


I read this book for Module 2: Caldecott/Picture books.  It’s beautifully illustrated by the author with vibrant color, and is told as a Native American folktale.  It’s about a girl who loves wild horses and eventually ends up living with them by choice.  Her family goes after her and brings her home, but she isn’t happy there.  Her real home is with the horses.  The girl’s family understands that she loves them but must be with her new family, which is led by a wild stallion.  The horses come back for her and the girl’s family gives them gifts.  To show her love for her human family, the girl returns every year and brings them a colt.  One year she does not come home, and the story tells of a beautiful mare that now leads the wild horses with the great stallion.  This book is beautifully told and illustrated, and speaks to the need for the freedom to be ourselves.  It is about how loving families allow their children to be themselves, and about being true to oneself and making ones own family.  This book won the Caldecott medal in 1979. ALA Notable Children’s Book.


 PreS-Gr 2-“Paul Goble’s beautifully-told, Caldecott Award-winning book (S&S, 1978) receives a fine treatment in this book and tape set. It is the tale of a Native American girl whose tribe follows the buffalo. She tends the horses, and grows to love them so much that eventually she joins them. Accompanied by Native American music, the story is clearly and lovingly read by Lance White Magpie, and sound effects help bring it to life. One side of the tape includes page-turn signals, while the other does not. Audio quality is excellent. This would make a good listening center for units on Native Americans, art, or horses.”-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Bateman, Teresa. (2002, May 1). Review of The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http:/



 An excellent book for use with younger readers to build an interest in art as well as multiculturalism and folktales, this book can be used for a storytime or to build an activity around such as storyboarding the book’s pages and using props to tell the story (horses, Native American objects).  This book would work well in the classroom to expose children to other cultures and could be used in social studies when teaching about the settling of American, the Native Americans, and to bring the human side to the history to help students see Native Americans as people instead of the “bad guys.” 

Of note:

Winner of the Caldecott Medal, 1979.


About mary's summer bookshelf

I'm studying to be a librarian at the University of North Texas and loving it. This blog is a class project and the first one I've ever written. The world of children's literature is diverse and rich. This class is opening up many worlds for me to traverse - I am a total YA fan now.

One response »

  1. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses would be a great starting point for an art class at the library. The illustrations are beautiful and brilliantly colored. I think it would be an inspiring book to get children to tell a visual story with painting.


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