Illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson. Candlewick Press, 2011. Hardcover. 218 pp.
I loved the history G. Neri infuses throughout the book, such as learning that slaves who worked with cows were called Cowboys, thus becoming the first to be called by that name. I was surprised to learn that stables actually still exist in the inner cities of Philadelphia and Brooklyn, run by Black Cowboys to keep kids out of gangs and to give purpose to their lives. G. Neri does an excellent job of educating readers of a long ago tradition that still exists in modern times and tying it in with the story of Cole, a young boy struggling to figure out his place in the world. It’s important for all young boys to read about the influence and strength Cole gains, not only from caring for horses, but from the father he’d never met who helps him to stand up for what he believes when faced with injustice.
I’d recommend it to students in grades 4-7 who are interested in horses or learning about the history of Black Cowboys in the United States.