In the fifth grade, I remember reading my first book. Maybe not my "first" book, but the first book that I truly enjoyed. The book that started my love for reading and books in general. It was, of course, about a horse...maybe rather horses. The book was Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. I remember being told to pick out a book to read for class. My teacher, Mrs. A (as we all nicknamed her), suggested the story of a small horse named Misty. After reading that book I was hooked on reading. I loved the story so much I read the sequel and began to read other titles by Henry.
My second favorite book would be Mustang: Spirit of the West also by Marguerite Henry. This tells the true story of the young girl, Annie Bronn, who loved wild horses that grew up to become an advocate for the Mustang. During the 1960-70s ranchers in the west began complaining about the Mustang grazing on their cattle ranges. In the book, it tells how the cattlemen rounded up bands of wild horses for slaughter. But Annie was not going to let that happen. It tells the story of the fight that Annie took up to save the Mustangs from extinction.
The third favorite book I have read is Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. This one I did not read as a child, but as an adult. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. Sewell wrote it at a time when horses were grossly mistreated on a daily bases. She brought up issues that no one till that time had really thought about (or maybe they did not think were wrong or cruel), and she wrote from the horse's perspective. This book really challenged me and the way I think about not only horses but also animals.
If you have not read these books already, I highly recommend that you do, especially if you love horses. That are sure to become some of your favorites as well.
*Image sketch by Robert E. Lougheed, illustrator of Mustang: Spirit of the West.