This is a touching story about courage and resilience that also offers profound insight into the changes that young girls may face in their transition to adulthood.
The book, written in 1978, received the Caldecott medal in 1979 and since then it remained a point o reference in children literature. It’s vivid and powerful illustration tells the story of Native Americans and their profound bond with nature. With the animals they take care of, their roots and beliefs.
Paul Goble’s message for young readers is that while growing up can involve difficult choices and transitions, it is possible to remain true to oneself and never lose touch with one’s core values. This message is highlighted through Kisemoo’s transformation from human female to wild horse (mare). In her journey, she faces many obstacles—but ultimately succeeds in maintaining her sense of self while adjusting to new surroundings.
In this way, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses serves as an important tool for helping young readers understand change and adaptation during the integration period. It reminds us that all individuals—regardless of age or background—can experience transformation without sacrificing their identity or beliefs along the way.
For children nowadays, that live mostly in urban enviroments, safely and carefully guided by adults, to see and experience the adventures of Paul Goble’s heroine is something truly remarkable. My daughter asked me, after reading the book, why did the parents let her go live with the wild horses. They wouldn’t miss her? Is a very normal question, for a 8 year old little girl that is still so attached to her parents. But for a young adult, trying to find her own way in the world, leaving her home and her family is something that she needs to do, even if her heart isn’t ready yet. Because every child grows up and begins his own adventure into the world, his own story to tell and enjoy with others.
I hope you enjoy this story and the illustrations. If you want to buy the book you can find it here