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Middle Grade Book Reviews

The Jockey & Her Horse

By Sarah Maslin Nir & Raymond White, Jr.

Buy this book for any boy or girl...but especially for those who have a passion and wonder how they will get past all the challenges facing them. They will be inspired!


Young girls and boys can read about the challenges the first Black female jockey faced, thanks to journalist Sarah Maslin Nir. She has brought this great book about Cheryl White out of the archives and into our hearts. 


Cheryl grew up around horses, her father was a well-known Black horse trainer, and despite her passion and skill for riding, she was not slated to become a jockey. She was a girl, and it was her brother, Raymond White Jr., the co-author of this book, who her father expected to take the reins to victory.  After all, women were not allowed to be jockeys at the time . But Cheryl was a smart girl with passion and skill who never gave up.  She overcame the barriers within her family and in the sport, and in 1971 she became the first Black female jockey in America at the age of 17!  Continue

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Bea and the New Deal Horse

By L.M. Elliott

Bea and the New Deal Horse is a compelling story of persistence, resilience, and survival for Beatrice and her sister Lizzie, as well as for the adults. The story takes the reader on a journey into an important time in our history, the Great Depression. 


Elliott weaves historical events and social issues of the time into an engaging story of a woman, a horse and a girl's determination to thrive. Against all odds, Bea and Mrs. Scott set out to save the estate that has been in the family for generations. Through many trials, and with the help of the horses, they discover the courage to face down the challenges of the day.


This is a wonderful coming of age story that brought me to tears.  



Lizzie Flying Solo

By Nanci Turner Steveson 

Lizzie Flying Solo is a Middle Grade novel that girls will love. Lizzie faces hard times with her family and friends but learns how to accept herself and trust again with the help of a horse and a community. This is a heartfelt story, about a family in crisis written with depth and real understanding. The author brings all the characters to life, including the animals. Being a horse lover myself, I admired the accurate portrayal of the horses, horse care and the people at Birchwood Stables.   Continue...


The Great Weather Diviner

By Rob Long & Andrew Dolberg

The Great Weather Diviner is an exciting fantasy, with wonderful animal characters, lots of suspense and important themes.  


Kids will enjoy traveling with Phillip the groundhog, as he ventures into a scary hostile world of Erda. He learns about natural disasters, life’s inequities, and sets out to right the wrongs of his family. Phillip discovers his own courage, meets new friends and a new way of life. This is a wonderful coming of age story about family, community, consequences and good vs. evil.  Continue...

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