The Flying Horse: New Children’s Book Delights Young Readers
A new children’s book is available that teaches kids about horses, accepting yourself and being the best you that you can be. Inspired by a real horse and a real girl, “The Flying Horse” will delight young readers, especially those who love horses.
Written by New York Times reporter, Sarah Maslin Nir, The Flying Horse (Cameron Kids/Abrams) features the writer’s own troubled but talented Dutch warmblood horse and a young girl with dyslexia who dreams of being a writer.
The human protagonist in the story, Sarah, is inspired by Maslin Nir and the writing challenges she faced growing up. Meanwhile, the horse—named Trendsetter—has his own obstacles to overcome.
When the two meet, they learn something invaluable: What is important in life isn’t greatness. It’s being great at being you.
“The important thing isn’t being great at anything. It’s being good with a capital ‘G,’ Maslin Nir said. “And, you’re already a good person. You’re already good at being you.”
Without giving away too much of the story, Trendsetter illustrates this point perfectly. The humans in the book have many aspirations for the beautiful animal, but he can’t do them all.
“And yet he’s still a really good horse,” Maslin Nir explained. “With a capital ‘G.’”
In addition to Trendsetter and Sarah, young readers will love the many other charming characters in the story. These include Sarah’s sweet grandmother, Frieda, who knows her granddaughter is perfect just the way she is.
Although “The Flying Horse” is written for ages 8 to 14, it’s a heartwarming read for older kids and adults, too.
It’s also the first book in the “Once Upon a Horse” series, which debuted this month. Featuring fictional stories based on real-life equestrians, the tales in the series center around equity and inclusion.
The Flying Horse: About the Author
Maslin Nir has always had horses in her life and is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter. It’s hard to imagine that she struggled with writing and spelling as a child.
At times, she explained, many adults around her attributed her problems to laziness or lack of motivation.
“It was always a challenge for me. ‘The Flying Horse’ is a little bit of wishful thinking on my part,” the writer explained. “Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s in New York, I was told I was lazy and slow. But I was pretty sure I wasn’t.”
Now that she’s a professional writer, it’s become clear to Maslin Nir that she was right—that laziness wasn’t her problem.
“Writing ‘The Flying Horse’ was a bit cathartic because Sarah is understood by the grownups around her, and her horse helps her heal,” Maslin Nir said. “And I didn’t have that myself.”
Though she’s an accomplished and successful writer, Maslin Nir explained that she hasn’t fully overcome her challenges. While she does not have dyslexia, she does experience processing difficulties. She kept her problem hidden for a long time, similar to what the character, Sarah, does in the book.
“I kept it to myself for a long time because I was worried if it was found out that I struggle with spelling and that I fix errors as I read them that I wouldn’t be able to be this New York Times reporter,” she explained.
Maslin Nir’s passion for horses resonates throughout the book. Themes of love, compassion and acceptance are woven throughout the pages, too.
“Grandma Frieda taught me to accept myself, and the horses I had in my life taught me to accept myself,” Maslin Nir said. “Horses don’t need you to be fancy. They don’t need you to be perfect. They just need you to be a safe place to be. They were that for me, and I was that for them.”
“The Flying Horse” is 192 pages. Illustrations are by Laylie Frazier. For more information about the book, visit abramsbooks.com.
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