The teachers in a Yonkers school have
extended Read Across America a little this year: I’m reading to their Grade 3
and 4 classes from my home in Australia. But since the time difference meant
I’d be reading at 1 am here for them to hear it at 9 am, I’ve cheated a little
and pre-recorded it.
I thought it would be fun to do it outside,
since it’s such a different environment to where they live. Naturally a wind
picked up as soon as I started, but I hope dancing gum trees make the
occasional crackles worthwhile.
I read from STOLEN: A Pony CalledPebbles, illustrated by Patricia Castelao, and promised to tell them a bit
about the story behind the story.
When I was aged eleven to thirteen, we
lived on the edge of a new suburb outside Colorado Springs, in the foothills of
the Rockies. Apart from that group of scattered houses, there was rolling,
empty prairie all around us. (Empty of people, I mean; there were plenty of
birds, ground squirrels and rattle snakes!) The best thing about it was that it
meant we could have a horse, and I could go out riding and exploring as much as
One summer I was riding near a ravine when I found a horse and a pony
in a wire corral. I’d never seen the horses or the corral before, and there
were no houses or signs of people anywhere in sight. I rode out there to pick
them grass every day, because it was a small corral and they were getting
hungry. The pony would crawl out under the fence to graze, and even followed me
home one day. (My mother made me take it back! I don’t think she quite believed
that it had really just followed me, and maybe I did encourage it a bit… ) The
day after that the horses and the corral were gone.
I never did find out what happened, but
that means I was free to go on wondering and make up my own ending. And so,
many years later, Pebbles was born.
All the Rainbow Street Animal Shelter series are available from the publisher
(Or your local bookstore can order them in for you if they don't have them.)
Labels: children's books, children's literature, horse book, kids books, Rainbow Street Shelter series., Read Across America; authors reading, reading to children, Stolen a pony called pebbles