Do you know a budding equestrian or a child otherwise fascinated with horses? Have you ever been in the company of a child when passing or driving by a pasture of horses? The awe and wonder these creatures inspire in children is hard to deny. Learning about and caring for these animals can impart lessons on responsibility and self-worth. These horse books for kids will provide equine-loving readers of all ages with valuable knowledge on this exciting topic while inspiring a love of reading.
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Horse Books for Kids in Grades Pre-K–2
1. If I Had a Horse by Gianna Marino
Marino’s tale of a young girl imagining her life were she to own a horse is sure to capture the imagination of any young horse lover. Our narrator muses, “If I had a horse, we would be brave together.” Coupling simple text with beautiful gouache illustrations, this is the kind of text young readers will flip through many a time.
Buy it: If I Had a Horse at Amazon
2. The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle
Who doesn’t love an Eric Carle book? Author and illustrator of such classics as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Carle brings his knack for eye-catching bright colors and easy-to-read text to The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. This is sure to become a favorite of any horse-loving child.
Buy it: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse at Amazon
3. That’s Not My Pony… by Fiona Watt
The That’s Not My series of touch-and-feel books allows the earliest of readers a full sensory experience. That’s Not My Pony… pairs recognizable text from other books in the series with tactile illustrations including the soft, fur-like mane of a pony.
Buy it: That’s Not My Pony… at Amazon
4. Noni the Pony by Alison Lester
Featuring delightful characters across different animal species, including Noni’s best pals Dave the Dog and Coco the Cat, this book will bring a smile to anyone’s face. The text is written in rhyming sentences that are sure to appeal to the tiniest equestrians. For those kids who just cannot get enough of Noni, there are other titles including Noni the Pony Counts to a Million and Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach.
Buy it: Noni the Pony at Amazon
5. Hello, Horse, by Vivian French, illustrated by Catherine Rayner
This picture book provides a good introduction to horses through the eyes of a boy who is initially anxious around them. This title proves that some horse books for kids can teach deeper lessons such as forging friendships and overcoming fears.
Buy it: Hello, Horse at Amazon
Horse Books for Kids in Grades 3–5
6. Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy Race, by Stacia Deutsch
Fans of the Netflix series Spirit will undoubtedly love this story featuring their favorite characters. In addition to caring for their horses, the girls at Palomino Bluffs Riding Academy are also learning to become better friends in this fun tale that centers around a scavenger hunt.
Buy it: Spirit Riding Free: Academy Race at Amazon
7. Magic Ponies: A New Friend, by Sue Bentley
Magic Ponies is a perfect series for horse lovers who also love a dose of fantasy. A New Friend, the first in the series, introduces Eleanor to the magical pony Comet. The two soon become close friends and go on many adventures together.
Buy it: Magic Ponies: A New Friend at Amazon
8. Canterwood Crest: City Secrets, by Jessica Burkhart
No list of horse books for kids would be complete without this series of novels that centers around Sasha Silver and her adventures at an elite boarding school for equestrians. In City Secrets, Sasha must turn to an unlikely ally ahead of her vacation in New York City.
Buy it: Canterwood Crest: City Secrets at Amazon
9. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
A Newbery Honor recipient in 1948, Misty of Chincoteague is the first of six books in the Misty series by Marguerite Henry. The final title in the series, Misty’s Twilight, was written in 1992. The original title takes place on the island of Chincoteague, off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland, and focuses on Misty, a gentle colt born from a band of wild ponies.
Buy it: Misty of Chincoteague at Amazon
Horse Books for Kids in Grades 6–8
10. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Another Newbery Honor recipient, The War That Saved My Life is perhaps more historical fiction than horse book. Ten-year-old Ada overcomes abuse at the hands of her mother during World War II and discovers the true meaning of family as well as self-worth. Ada overcomes adversity including learning to ride a horse despite having been born with a club foot.
Buy it: The War That Saved My Life at Amazon
11. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
This classic belongs atop any list of horse books for kids. Written nearly 150 years ago, Black Beauty has stood the test of time. A memoir written from the perspective of a horse, it was originally written to bring awareness to acts of cruelty against horses. Readers will be sure to come away from this title valuing kindness toward all sentient beings.
Buy it: Black Beauty at Amazon
12. Horse Games & Puzzles by Cindy A. Littlefield
Know a kid that loves a good riddle, horses, or both? This book is packed with fun activities and interesting horse facts.
Buy it: Horse Games & Puzzles at Amazon
13. Paint the Wind by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Protagonist Maya leaves a sheltered life dominated by lies told to her by her grandmother for the Wyoming wilderness and the honesty of her mother’s family. In Wyoming, a relationship with a wild mustang called Artemisia changes everything for Maya. Tweens will love this adventure-filled story.
Buy it: Paint the Wind at Amazon
14. The Compton Cowboys and the Fight To Save Their Horse Ranch: Young Readers’ Edition, by Walter Thompson-Hernández
Thompson-Hernández, a New York Times reporter, tells the story of a group of 10 black men and one woman who continue the tradition of the Compton Cowboys. Originally part of the Compton Jr. Posse, the Compton Cowboys led lives of varying courses but all found their way back to a love for horses and riding. They live by the motto “Streets raised us. Horses saved us.” This book also features an eight-page insert of color photographs of the cowboys and horses that kids are sure to love.
Buy it: The Compton Cowboys and the Fight To Save Their Horse Ranch at Amazon
15. Horse Life: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Riding Horses for Kids, by Robyn Smith
No list of horse books for kids would be complete without a fantastic how-to book regarding all things equestrian. This title is jam-packed with information about grooming, handling, training, and riding horses. The information is presented in an informative yet kid-friendly manner with helpful illustrations.
Buy it: Horse Life: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Riding Horses for Kids at Amazon
Horse Books for Grades 8–12
16. Soul Riders: Jorvik Calling, by Helena Dahlgren
The first in an award-winning trilogy, this fantasy tale tells the story of four girls who must save the world with their magical horses. Tweens and teens alike will relate to the real-life struggles and triumphs of girls navigating friendships, families, and school while getting lost in the fantasy. Bonus: There is a video game, Star Stable, based on the same characters.
Buy it: Soul Riders at Amazon
17. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Told from the perspective of Joey, a World War I war horse, this book opens kids’ eyes to the horrors of war. It also teaches the value of loyalty as 15-year-old Albert attempts to bring Joey back home safely. For students that like film adaptions, the story was also turned into a film by Steven Spielberg.
Buy it: War Horse at Amazon
18. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
The first in McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, this coming-of-age tale centers around teenager John Grady Cole’s quest for the cowboy life as he flees the Texas ranch he calls home and travels into Mexico. Horses feature prominently in this action-packed story of lessons learned and innocence lost.
Buy it: All the Pretty Horses at Amazon