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Riding Freedom Paperback – September 1, 1999

123 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

PW's starred review called this fictionalized biography of equestrian Charlotte "Charley" ParkhurstAwho lived her life disguised as a man and was the first woman voter in the U.S.Aan "ebullient and tautly structured novel that moves along at a gallop." Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 4–6—Equestrian Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst had the will to overcome challenges and the courage to follow her dreams. In Pam Muñoz Ryan's fictionalized biography (Scholastic, 1998) set in the mid 1800s, Charlotte was raised in an orphanage, loved tending and riding the horses, and yearned for a ranch of her own one day. Banned from the stables, the 12-year-old ran away from the orphanage, disguised herself as a man, became a skilled stagecoach driver, and eventually was the first woman to cast a vote in the California presidential election. Listeners will admire Charley's grit and determination, refusing to give up her dream, even when she was seriously injured and blinded in one eye. Melissa Hughes's narration is superb. She uses her mellifluous voice well, switching easily from raspy Charley to several other male and female characters and employing different regional accents. After the story, Ryan provides additional historical information about Parkhurst's interesting life. Horse aficionados will appreciate the author's attention to detail in recreating the bustling activity of stable and ranch life, while others will enjoy the well-paced adventure and respect Charlotte's determination to meet life head on. A gem.—Ruth Lorbert, East Woods School, Oyster Bay, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; First Edition edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439087961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439087964
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

PAM Muñoz Ryan is the author of more that thirty books for young readers, including four beloved novels, Riding Freedom, Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi León, and Paint the Wind, which collectively have garnered, among countless accolades, the Pura Belpré Medal, the Jane Addams Award, and the Schneider Family Award. She lives in Southern California with her family. You can visit her at www.PamMunozRyan.com.



Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jane James on June 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
My 9 year old son read this book, and so I read it, too, so we could discuss it together. It's a very engaging story. My son read it in a day - he couldn't put it down, and I found that I couldn't, either.
There are some very good themes in this book -- the main character is very strong, determined, and survives despite having the odds stacked against her. One thing in particular that I liked is how she doesn't necessarily learn how to do new things with great speed -- but she keeps at it until she has learned a new skill, and is successful at it. I think this is a particularly good thing for children to read about. Not all skills are immediate, and working to achieve proficiency is worthwhile.
Other major themes are the importance of voting, the rights of women, the ability of girls to learn to do jobs formerly considered only fit for boys, facing fears in order to overcome subjugation and make a better life for oneself, and growing up without parents. Slavery is touched on.
This book lends itself to the discussion of any of these topics, and my son and I had some very good talks as a result.
I did feel the story ended a little abruptly. I was completely unprepared for it to be over, I was hoping more would be explained, and I felt dissatisfied after finishing the book.
I must say that I also felt a bit uncomfortable reading about the woman whom the story is actually based on. (She lived her life as a man, and it wasn't discovered until after her death that she was female.) While this book presents topics for children to discuss that are interesting and worthwhile, I don't know that all parents would feel that this book is appropriate for their children to read.
I would suggest that parents read the back of the book first, before handing it to the children to read. Be prepared for some questions!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
My daughter (age 9) read this to herself one weekend, then she re-read it aloud to me in the car the following week (we have a very long commute to work and school). We both loved this book. As an adventure, it is as good as Tom Sawyer, or Treasure Island, or Kidnapped--and it is a girl's adventure! It is a great book for young girls who are beginning to feel the need for adventure and independence or for girls who love horses.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
I give this book five stars because I think Riding Freedom is a good book. It was an encouraging book. It is about a girl named Charlotte Parkhurst who loves horses. This book is a historical fiction story; it is a wonderful book. My favorite part was when she saw a pitchfork aiming at her face. I recommend this book. I really enjoyed it. Pam Munoz Ryan and Brian Selslick did a great job.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Katerina Canyon on April 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a fictional story based on the life of Charlotte Parkhurst, a stage coach driver who lived during the mid 1800s.
In the story, Charlotte grew up as the only girl in a boy's orphanage where she constantly struggled for freedom and equality. She loved horses and spent every available minute either caring for them or riding them. Because she was a girl, she wasn't held to very high esteem by those around her. The feelings of the boys around her didn't matter as long as she was able to ride horses.
When Charlotte faced the threat of losing the thing she loved most, she had to take action and decided to run away from the orphanage. She disguised herself as a boy in order to hide from the authorities and to obtain work on her own.
Charolotte grew to become a legendary stagecoach driver. She was also the first woman to vote.
My nine-year old daughter loved this book. She was so moved by this story, that she decided to do more research on Charlotte Parkhurst and write a report on her for school.
I was moved by this story as well. It reminded me of how far women have come in the fight for equality.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
This Historical Fiction book by Pam Munoz Ryan was literally the best book I've ever read. It is a story about a girl who lives in an orphanage. As a 12 year old, she finds no satisfaction in her life at the orphanage in being the cook's helper. Since her parents' death, only one thing matters to her- horses. So she runs away, disguised as a boy, determined to full-fill her dream of owning a ranch and horses. As a boy, she was allowed to vote, becoming the first woman to do so. Kids who read this book will be enchanted by the horses and will relate to Charlotte's determination because Charlotte was a girl about our age. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves horses or just likes a terrific read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By dohertylo@faculty.monticello.k12.il.us on October 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Riding Freedom By: Pam Ryan Riding Freedom is a story about a girl that runs a way from a orphanage. Charlotte starts to work for a carriage comp. but she has to turn in to a boy to keep working there. When the companion moves to rode island she gets hit in the face by a wild mustang. She is brought in to the doctor and the doctor finds out that she is a woman. The doctor says that she will not be able to drive the horses ever again. more than ever she wished she would of stayed back were she was with freedom but then she remembered that freedom had died. When she got back she wanted to ride a horse again she kept trying and trying until she knew everything about the roads. This is a very good book about a girl and horses. I would recommend this book for someone who likes a adventure book about a girl who runs a way from her orphanage. This a really good book to read.
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