Young People’s Pavillion: Horse Power

by on October 6th, 2010
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“Why can’t all children’s books be like this?” my wife asked while reading a copy of Working Horses, by Mary Packard, to our seven year-old daughter. The narrative details how these muscular animals have played a role in almost every part of our work lives, from hauling logs and heavy farm machinery to performing for audiences. Is it any wonder that even today an engine’s strength is measured in horsepower? asked Gabe Kaufman, associate publisher for Bearport Publishing.

“We want every library book we publish to grab and hold the reader’s attention,” Kaufman said. “So, we select book topics carefully-focusing both on subjects that interest kids and subjects they need to know for school.” “We believe that books with good writing and amazing photos are irresistible to kids,” Kaufman said. “We also believe that having books kids want to read is one of the surest ways to foster reading achievement. These two principles guide the development of all our titles for the K-8 school and library market.”

In my classroom experience, I have found primary nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, and high-interest nonfiction books to be particularly good for teachers who regularly deal with reluctant readers.

Bearport’s authors have produced dozens of different series’ and hundreds of titles, which the publisher has made available on Accelerated Reader. Reading practice quizzes are the foundation of the Accelerated Reader program. Teachers measure students’ comprehension of books they read independently, with an adult, or have read to them. The objective is to help teachers motivate and monitor reading practice. They ensure a successful, positive experience if the student has read a book at the proper reading level.

In the Horse Power series, young children learn how these proud animals provide a valuable resource for people. From racehorses to police horses, military horses, working horses, therapy horses, show horses and others; Horse Power includes narratives of horses performing amazing-and sometimes heroic-acts.

Children can appreciate horses’ intelligence and gentle personalities as they learn how different breeds are trained to work alongside people. Action photos and rich writing reinforce the long-standing bond between horses and human beings.

While cuddling on the living room couch between my wife and I, our daughter especially enjoyed the book “Therapy Horses,” by Catherine Nichols. It helped the three of us discover how horses help people live with such disabilities as cerebral palsy, blindness, Downs syndrome, and autism. The book explains the different breeds best suited to become therapy animals, and discusses how the animals are trained to carry riders with special needs.

Through such stories, children can learn that disabilities do not impede success. Nichols’ book made my family feel like we were able to follow the therapeutic horses and their riders into the ring, as they competed in blue-ribbon events and displayed their skills. Our daughter asked for “Therapy Horses” to be read to her over and over again.

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