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Comment: This book has already been well loved by someone else and that love shows. It MIGHT have highlighting, underlining, be missing a dust jacket, or SLIGHT water damage, but over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Riding Freedom Paperback – September 1, 1999

4.7 out of 5 stars 139 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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 720 (What's this?)
  • 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 (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WOW, WOW, WOW is all I can say. This is a really good book. It is a top quality book. My son really liked it.
It is a good quick read and captured his interest. He could not put the book down. It is a great book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My seven year old and I read this book together and we both loved it! This story is so well written. Both of us were fully entranced in the story. This is a must have for all girls- telling the story of a girl who wanted her rights and fought for them. The authors note at the end was really helpful and provided a great deal of detail about the real life story and gave my daughter and I a lot to talk about.
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A Kid's Review on December 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Do you love horses? Then this book is great for you. It's called Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan.

It's about a girl who has an unfortunate life. Her name is Charlotte and her parents go to town during a thunderstorm. They were in a wagon and the horses heard thunder and go wild. They went down a hill with trees' at the bottom so Charlotte's mom threw Charlotte off the wagon. Charlotte survived but no one wanted to adopt her. She has to stay at an orphanage until she is eighteen. When Hayward a new kid arrived a new kid he saw Charlotte and became friends with her. One day Hayward is adopted and Charlotte doesn't have any. To friends. So one day she decides to run away and find out if she survives this time you'll have to read Riding Freedom.

I loved the book because it's about a girl that goes after her dreams. I give it 10 out of 10.
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