Riding Freedom

by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Other authorsBrian Selznick (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1999



Local notes

PB Rya




Scholastic Paperbacks (1999), Edition: Reprint, 144 pages


A fictionalized account of Charley (Charlotte) Parkhurst who ran away from an orphanage, posed as a boy, moved to California, and fooled everyone by her appearance.


Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 2001)
Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 2001)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2001)
Great Stone Face Book Award (Nominee — 2001)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Children's Fiction — 2004)
Sasquatch Book Award (Nominee — 2001)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2001)
Bluestem Award (Nominee — 2012)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2000)
Virginia Readers' Choice (Nominee — 2001)
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee — 2002)
Flicker Tale Award (Nominee — 1999)
Maud Hart Lovelace Award (Nominee — 2001)
Read Aloud Indiana Book Award (Intermediate — 1999)
Children's Favorites Awards (Selection — 1999)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

144 p.; 7.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Annod
I could not keep this book on my shelves at my school library.
LibraryThing member sharmon05
This book is about a specific woman in history and takes a small fictional take on the story. This makes it so this book is a great example of a historical fiction rather then a biography. This book is a good example of a historical fiction because it clearly and correctly describes the time period
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and how life was. The plot in this story was very well planned and thought out. The reader is clearly lead through the story and it is very engaging. There are many plot twists and action in the book that makes this an exciting read.
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LibraryThing member laurieleewalsh
Charlotte is a 12 year old girl living in an orphanage. She already has a firm grasp on the fact that there are not many opportunities for girls or women in her world.

When Charlotte is banned from the stable and her best friend Hay leaves the orphanage, she realizes that it's time for her to
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She runs away and finds herself pretending to be a boy so that she can live the life she loves.

I thought this was a good book - especially since it's based on a real young woman! In some ways I felt sorry for Charlotte - that she couldn't be herself and she would likely not have a partner in her life.

This would be a good read-aloud book!
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LibraryThing member JanelleVeith
Charlotte ie: Charlie was believable and the culture of the mid 1800's was researched and provided enough detail so the reader could picture what it was like to live then.
LibraryThing member meyben
Great story. Definate reccomend for kids. Loads of history. Enjoyed reading about a girl who made in the wild west.
LibraryThing member mrsdwilliams
Based on the life of Charlotte Parkhurst, this fictionalized biography will be a sure hit with horse lovers.

Charlotte was raised in an orphanage full of boys and discovered early on that she had a gift with horses. She eventually ran away, disguised as a boy. She worked as a stable boy, a coach
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driver, and finally, a ranch owner.

Charlotte spent her life disguised as a man and was the first woman ever to vote (even though no one realized she was a woman until her death). As a woman living in the 1800's, Charlotte had to maintain her disguise in order to live the life she wanted.

We really have come a long way...
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LibraryThing member carebeargirlie5187
This is the story of Charlotte Parkhurst's childhood. Charlotte was orphaned at two years old and grew up in an all boys orphanage where she was worked as a slave and given less rights than her male peers. After being told she could no longer participate in her favorite passtime, riding and tending
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to horses, Charlotte decides to run away to California using her great horse handling abilities. She over comes many hardships and eventualy becomes the first woman to vote in the US.

This is a great story with a strong female role model who faced all of her life's hardships with great resiliance.

I would reccomend this book to a chld who shows an interest in horses. I think this book is more suited for a femal audience and may be incorporated along with a lesson on the oman's sufferage movement.
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LibraryThing member bloftis
Riding Freedom is the fictionalized account of Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst, a woman who lived her life as a man in the American west in order to enjoy the types of freedom she desired.
The story is geared toward younger students, and likely towards pre-teens, but can still be an inspiring story
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and quick read for older students who want to be able to achieve things they have been told they cannot because of their natural situation in life.
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LibraryThing member thomaslibrarian
Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst is a young horse whisperer who creates her own opportunities in America after being slighted in an orphanage as a child.
LibraryThing member mmleynek
Personal Response:

I really admire Charlotte for having the courage to live the life she wanted. She lived in a time where women were not allowed the freedoms we have today but she didn’t let that stop her from making her dreams come true.

Curricular Connections:

I would use this book in a unit on
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woman's rights
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LibraryThing member cvogl
Charlotte or Charley when she was posing as a boy, is portrayed in this book. The novel takes the reader through her life as she hides behind her real identity in order to take care of horses and drive a stagecoach, something she has always wanted to do. This can be used as a good teaching tool
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because it deals with the hardships that one may face when living in an orphanage and no one will adopt that person. It details the things that Charlotte had to go through in order to push through and fight for her dream even if it meant posing as a boy. The book gives another angle of the historical fiction novel and how nothing should stand in the way of one’s own dreams.
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LibraryThing member Phong96
The novel, Riding Freedom,encompasses working to get equal right for male and female. In the beginning, the protagonist struggles with being to only girl in the camp that has male only. In the middle, the protagonist run away from the boy camp to find a job and a way to survive from getting caught
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and having food. In the end, the protagonist dress as a men and walked ing the voting station and try to get egual rights between men and women.
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LibraryThing member GaylDasherSmith
Really excellent biography of the first female voter in America.
LibraryThing member AmyLu
This book depicts a portion of Charlotte Durkhurst’s life; the beginning to about mid-life. Charlotte in a very independent girl being raised in a boy’s orphanage, when he best friend Hayward gets adopted, she decides that she is not going to live out the rest of her days at the orphanage. One
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night, charlotte becomes Charlie and runs away becoming a stable boy. Eventually she was a stage coach driver and became a very famous one. Eventually she saved up enough money to buy what she always wanted, a ranch of her own to share with her best friend Hayward.
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LibraryThing member VikkiLaw
I read this to my daughter when she was in first grade or kindergarten (before she could really read chapter books by herself). It was a really good way to illustrate to her how few rights women/girls had not very long ago.
LibraryThing member Jellyn
(Highly) fictional account of Charlotte/Charley Parkhurst. The story starts near where I'm living now, so that was pretty cool. It's a girl/woman who lives as a boy/man, so that's cool. It covers a lot of ground geographically and temporally, so it doesn't go very in-depth, like. Kind of.. surface
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Horses are important to the story, but it's not really a horse story. I feel the cover is a little misleading in that. But it's fine. I'm not a fan of horse stories.

Lightning comes before thunder, not the other way around. Physics.
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LibraryThing member jkraemer99
All young girls should read this book. Girls need to know that they cannot take their freedom for granted. They need to study hard and learn all they can in school and then apply their knowledge and experience to be successful in life. That is what Charlotte did.
LibraryThing member SamanthaMulkey
I listened to the audio version of this book. It is a really great story about a little girls hardships she overcomes. It is very exciting, and written very well. It ends abruptly and makes you wonder what happens next. I would share this book with 5th graders and up.
LibraryThing member villemezbrown
I recently read The Whip by Karen Kondazian and found the character of Charley Parkhurst so interesting I immediately sought out this children's version just to get another quick take on the story. To keep the interest of kids, the character's birthdate has been moved a few decades so Parkhurst can
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be a child and young adult for most of the book. Pretty standard children's fare with a plucky and determined protagonist facing some difficult circumstances and choices.

Neither book seems to do justice to the character, but with so little known about this actual historical figure I guess it is pretty easy for everyone to project their own beliefs, agendas, or end goals onto the tale.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
When Charlotte and her parents are riding inside a carriage that tumbles down an embankment, killing her parents, Charlotte is alone and placed in a children's home.

Charlotte escapes by pretending to be a boy. All her attire from the rest of her life is that of a boy, then a man. Taking the name of
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Charlie Parkhurst, Charlotte is blinding in one eye by a kick from a horse. She always loved horses and has a way of working with them to calm them. The accident made her become more brave and taught her to continue to overcome adversity.

Charlotte finds her friends from the home, and together they take passengers through the western areas of the United States. In her portrayal of a man, she gains confidence and those around her are safe in her care.

Years later, she saves enough money to buy property. The most amazing thing is dressed as a man, she votes. And, thus became the first woman who ever voted.

This book is based on the true-life story of the actual person who called herself Charlie. Once again, this is another young adult book that teaches history in a succinct, interesting manner.

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LibraryThing member quondame
An interesting story well enough told, but very much written to offend the fewest possible number of parents of young children. That the story is based upon a real person is the most important part, because as a fable its been done so often.




(147 ratings; 4)
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