The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

by Paul Goble

Hardcover, 1978

Call number



Simon & Schuster (1978), 32 pages


Though she is fond of her people, a girl prefers to live among the wild horses where she is truly happy and free.

Media reviews

This is a story of a Plains Indian girl who joins a band of wild horses and eventually, the story implies, becomes a horse herself. Includes full-color illustrations on each page of this engaging story.

User reviews

LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
A Native American girl loves horses and spends all her time with the tribe’s herd. One day a storm scares them away, and she rides them to a wild herd. When her people see her again the stallion leading the her won’t let her go, until they finally capture her. She is sad to be away from her
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herd, and finally leaves, only returning to bring her parents colts. Eventually she does not return, and it is said that she has turned into a mare.
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LibraryThing member Raina-Raine
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble received the Caldecott Medal for Children’s Picture Books in 1979. It was also listed as an ALA Notable Children’s Book, a NCSS/CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, and one of the Children’s Books of the Year chosen
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by the Library of Congress.

This charming story of a young Native American girl who goes to live with a herd of wild horses is told as a native legend. The story is woven with beautiful, colourful, and detailed pictures that are a perfect complement to the evocative imagery of the text. Although this book was first published more than 30 years ago, the story and pictures make it timeless.

This wonderful book would make an excellent introduction for children (ages 5-9) to the values and stories of traditional native North American cultures.
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LibraryThing member ccondra
Gives insight to Native American culture. A good book to read when studying about Native Americans.
LibraryThing member acwheeler
This is a great book about a girl who cared for animals. It is a cultural book that shows how speacil animals are and how important they are to this precious girl. Loved this book!
LibraryThing member ksimpson
This book is about a little indian girl who is always with the horses. One day a storm comes up and the girl is swept away with the spooked horses far from her family.

I loved this book so much when I was little. I was definately a horse crazy girl. The way the book is written, you feel like you
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know the girl and start to really picture a girl who lives with wild horses. The pictures are beautiful too They play a part in the native american feel as well.

This would be a great mulitcultural book to use when you are studying about Native American culture. You could also use this book to talk about the bond some people experience with animals. I know many horse crazy people like myself who know what this book is talking about when it talks about the girl becoming one of the horses in the herd.
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LibraryThing member morrigan74
One of my favorite books when I was a young girl.
LibraryThing member aubreycroat
The native American tribe valued horses and needed them for many things. One girl in particular loved the wild horses very much, she spent most of her time with them. On day she laid in the field with the horses and fell asleep, she woke up to a terrible storm. She jumped on one of the horses back,
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and rode the stampede until the horses stopped. They were very far from her tribe, and the stallion asked her to become a part of the herd she agreed. One year latter a few men from the girl’s tribe spotted her, and took her from the herd. Once home she became very ill, and the tribe let her go back to the wild horses. Every year she brought a colt to her tribe until one year she was gone, a beautiful mare in her place.

I really enjoyed this tale of a girl with such a strong bond to horses. The tale conveys the importance of nature to native American tribes. Young children could grasp the concept of this book, a bond with an animal, such as their pet. The pictures in this book were very beautiful, you could really see the movement of the herd.

1) Students could get horse cut outs, and create their own beautiful “paint” horse.
2) This book would be a good opener to discuss some native American culture.
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LibraryThing member MichelleHudon
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, written and illustrated by Paul Goble, is the recipient of The Caldecott Medal. This is a story about a young Native American girl who has a special bond with the horses in her village. The horses follow her to the pond where they drink water and fall asleep with her
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in the sun. One day the girl and her horses fall asleep in the sun and awake to a massive thunderstorm. The horses become scared by the storm and run away until they are lost in the dark. The next day the girl and her horses wake up to find themselves surrounded by a beautiful stallion and his herd of wild horses. The stallion invites the girl and her horses to live with them forever. The girl decides to remain with the stallion and roam free with the wild horses. The girl’s parents search for her everywhere but find her nowhere. It is only when some hunters from the village spot her a year later that she is returned to her home. Although the girl is happy to see her family again, she misses her life with the stallion. Shortly after her return to the village the girl becomes very ill and almost dies. Her family soon realize that they must reunite her with the stallion in order to save her life. The girl is returned to the stallion and spends the rest of her life roaming free with the wild horses.

I enjoyed this story for many reasons. I have never read such a unique fairytale before and as a horse lover I felt a personal connection to it. The story is very interesting and also simple enough for a child of any age to enjoy. The story has a very strong message but does not preach it to the reader. The message that I took away from the book is that although we are all unique we should all be accepted. The illustrations were beautifully done with ink and watercolours. They were very detailed with bright bold colours. I would recommend this book for every child and especially any animal lovers.
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LibraryThing member lporsia
Goble, Paul. (1978). The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. New York: Bradbury Press.
This Caldecott award wining book, illustrated and written by Paul Goble, combines vivid imagery with a mythic tale of a young Native American girl who cared deeply for wild horses. The expressive detail given to the
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illustration provides guidance for children learning to tackle books by themselves, as well as entertainment when it is read aloud. The story within speaks to the individual strength of the character, her self-confidence as well as her passion to follow her dreams, while she remains unnamed in order to allow the reader to imagine themselves in her place. On the last page Goble includes tribal songs about horses, demonstrating his attention to cultural relevance. Additionally, portraying the deeply rooted connection many Native Americans felt for their land and the creatures within, while demonstrating the tradition of storytelling existing in many tribes, this book is a whimsical account of these mythic tales.
Important for Librarians this interactive book, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, has a lot to offer young patrons of the library. Providing diversity during story time is key and the double-page illustrations inside allow the audience to familiarize themselves with another culture or find comfort in a story pertaining to their own heritage. This book can also be used to further develop reading skills, since the illustrations closely follow the story and could prove helpful when unsure of a word or two in the text.
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LibraryThing member SummerLester
This story is about a Native American girl who loves horses. She spends wvery day with the horses of her tribe. One day a storm comes and scares the horses away, with the girl along for the ride. She finds herself far from home but is so happy to be with the horse she stays. Her family finds her
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and brings her home but she mourns herself ill so they return her to the herd where she is happy.

I enjoyed this book because I also love horses. The illustrations really caught my interest because they are so free flowing. The placement is very original.

In the classroom I would use this book in a unit of either Native Americans of horses. This book would also be great in an art project, such as recreating a favorite page in the book.
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LibraryThing member rheasly
Paul Goble writes a peaceful story and illustrates it with vibrant, evocative paintings. A Native-American tribe lives in proximity to a herd of wild horses, and one girl has a strong connection with them. The combination of an afternoon nap and surprise thunderstorm takes the girl away from her
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tribe on the back of one of the horses. She is welcome as one of them and discovers her true happiness lies in running with the wild horses. Her tribe respects and honors her decision. The illustrations engage the reader(s) through this story of self-discovery. Ages 5-10
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LibraryThing member bluemopitz
This is one of my favorites from childhood. I love Paul Goble's illustrations. The way he captures the beauty of the plains is so amazing. I think that the theme of feeling like you belong somewhere else is one that everyone feels at one time or another in their life, so we can all identify with
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the girl who leaves her old life behind to live with the wild horses. This book would fit into a curriculum about American Indians and Plains Indians in particular. It is a Caldecott winner for illustration, so it could also feature in curriculum about author-illustrators or great children's book illustration.
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LibraryThing member reginafwatkins
summary: A young girl has a passion for horses. She was comfortable in the presence of these wild horses. She decides that she wants to live among them instead of her family.

personal: I love horses, too. This was one of my favorite readings. Only I don't have the courage to leave my
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form small groups and discuss
1 what animal do you love
2 write about the animal
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LibraryThing member cassinolan
I love Paul Goble. This was one of my favorite creation stories that i read this school term. A young girl with a love for wild horses. One day she leaves the village to live amongst her best friends, and eventually becomes one of them.
LibraryThing member victoria-hill
1979 Caldecott Medal

Use this book with many grade levels to encourage storytelling, creative and descriptive writing skills. Include in a unit on Native Americans as an example of the unity between man and nature experienced by these groups. Younger students can discuss why the book is called "The
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Girl Who Loved Wild Horses" and what they think happened to her at the end of the story. Older students may be interested in writing their own version of this type of story.

This book is about a young girl who loves spending all of her free time with the tribe's horses. One afternoon the herd, along with the girl, is frightened away from the village by a thunderstorm. They are lost in hills she does not recognize. A wild stallion invites them to stay with the wild horses. A year later, hunters from the village find the girl, and bring her back to her family. She becomes sick, and is allowed to return to the wild horses. She visits her family each year. One year, when she does not come to visit, hunters notice that there is a beautiful mare alongside the stallion.
Addresses the issue of self-fulfillment.

Use this book in the classroom to encourage creative and descriptive writing skills, as well as critical thinking skills.
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LibraryThing member elpowers
Beautiful illustrations, beautiful story, I really like this book.
LibraryThing member colorred
As a young girl I was in love with horses. I played with toy horses, dreamed of being a horse, my friends and I played make believe that we we’re horses, so I can relate to the passion the main character. Horses are mesmerizing with their beauty, grace, strength, kindness and free spirit. If
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you’ve ever experienced running through an open field horseback with the feel of the wind across your face and the power of the horse, you’d be hooked too.
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LibraryThing member ymelodie
This book is one that my daughter loved when she was young. I love that the main character is female. The illustrations are vivid and have a Native American style to them. This is a good discussion book.
LibraryThing member champlin
There was a girl in the village who loved horses... She led the horses to drink at the river. She spoke softly and they followed. People noticed that she understood horses in a special way.' And so begins the story of a young Native American girl devoted to the care of her tribe's horses. She
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eventually becomes one of them to forever run free. This is another great tale to teach about the Native American culture.
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LibraryThing member annafcurry
The book was about a girl in a tribe that loved the horses. She took care of them daily. One day she went with the horses to the meadow to eat and she fell asleep. A storm approached and she went off with the horses in a hurry that she got lost. A beautiful spotted horse came and took care of the
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girl and the horses that were losed from the tribe. A year later she was found by men from the tribe but the spotted horse protected her from the men. She was their family now. She returned to her family and she got sick. the doctor could not help her. She wanted to go back to the horses. Every year she returned to the tribe and gave her parents a colt, but one year she did not return and was not found but the men from the tribe came upon a beautiful mare and knew she had become one of them. The horses were her family now.

I really enjoyed the book. I thought that the illustrations was done well. It is a good family book. It has just enough hope and magic in the book.

Some extension ideas for the book could be to have the students discuss or draw their favorite animals. The students could go on a field trip to visit a horse farm to get to see horses up close and personal.
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LibraryThing member KaitlynBlevins
Summary: This is the story of a young Native American girl who loves and is comforted by horses. Her relationship to them is one of deeper understanding than any other of her people have experienced before. Her people see this and acknowledge it as a special gift. The horses would follow the girl
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wherever she wandered. Until the day the storm came and it took the girl far away from the herd. Without her nearby the horses began acting strangely unlike before, the people knew they were not the same without the girl. Though she had been lost, the girl makes her way back to the herd and to her home.

Personal Response: I have always loved this book! I was fortunately exposed to a lot of Native American experiences at my elementary school. This book was read to us at the school library by one of the students mothers, dressed in a beautiful colorful ceremony dress. Along with the illustrations in the story and the environment in which I first heard it, has remained a unique memory I haven't forgotten. I would absolutely want to share it within a classroom someday and follow up with explorations into a culture and time that students will not be familiar with.

Classroom Expansion:
1. Either a time they felt they were special at something or had a special connection with a pet or toy, allow students to draw/ construct an object they feel reflects their interest. In small groups, have the students share and discuss their special interests with the group.
2. For younger students, you could expand on the importance of horses to many Native American tribes and allow them to color their own wild horses.
a. Using toilet paper rolls, Popsicle sticks, markers (or paint), and yard, students could decorate one horse. When finished and dry, the students can then display all of them as the collective class herd.
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LibraryThing member laineyh
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses is another amazing Native American tale about a girl from a small village that loves to ride wild horses. One day, a storm comes while she is riding the horses and it chases her and the horses far from the village where she meets a beautiful colt that is the leader of
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all the wild horses. He invites her to stay with the wild horses and she runs with them for years before two hunters from her village spot her. They end up capturing her and bringing her back to the villages but her family soon recognizes her longing to be back with the horses. The girl falls ill and last wish is to return to the horses and her family respects this and sends her with their finest horse as well as hand woven blankets. One day, a hunter notices that the girl is no longer riding with the horses, instead, there is a beautiful mare running on the hills and they realize that the girl is finally one of the horses. The pages are white but the illustrations are colorful and outlined in black so that you eye is really drawn to the pictures. This is a great read and addition to any classroom because it a traditional tale that can help students deal with people passing on and grief.
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LibraryThing member MSittig
This story is about a young native American girl who devoted her time to the care of her tribe's horses. She eventually becomes one of them by running free. This book elaborates on the story's illustrations and artistic pictures on each page. It focuses on insects, different animals, flowers, and
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many aspects of life.
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LibraryThing member JessicaSchroeder
This is a book about a Native American girl who understands are cares for the horses of her Native American tribe. She takes them to get water and leads them to the best grass. She wishes to be one of these horses and finds her way through this tale. This story has beautiful illustrations. This
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would be a great folk tale for children in grades K-3 and can be a great addition to a Native American unit.
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LibraryThing member Jennah2010
This story tells the legend of a young Navajo girl who takes care of her tribe's horse herd. As the legend goes, this girl got caught in a terrible storm and her herd ran away, only to be found by the stallion of the wild horses. This story has descriptive illustrations that closely follow the
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story. I feel this story would be appropriate for children ages 3-4 and up and work great for anytime during the year.
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