Hooray! It's Multicultural Children's Book Day on Friday, January 28th! I'm delighted to be participating as a reviewer for a second year! Capstone Publishing sent a digital copy of Jubilee: The First Therapy Horse and an Olympic Dream written by KT Johnston and illustrated by Annabella Ortiz. The book was just released and is available to order!
**All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Jubilee is a narrative non-fiction story for readers ages 8-12. It's an inspiring look at Danish dressage rider, Lis Hartel, the challenges she faces after contracting polio, and her relationship with an unlikely and inexperienced horse named Jubilee. Together they work to learn a new way of riding and...SPOILER ALERT...find themselves competing and placing in the 1952 Olympics! This is a historic moment as Lis is the first woman with a disability to win an Olympic medal. This was also the first Olympic event where men and women competed against each other. The story ends celebrating the special relationship between this remarkable rider and horse. In the author's note we learn that Lis goes on to create the first therapeutic riding center in the world.
From the subtitle I had hoped the story would include more about the therapeutic riding center, but I was happy to learn so much about this important woman and her horse named Jubilee. The book includes discussion questions and resources as does the author's website www.ktjohnston.com. I have heard that horses are challenging to draw, so I was especially impressed with the many beautiful images Annabella Ortiz created to help convey the challenges and triumphs along the way.
I plan to learn more about the riding center created by Lis and Jubilee. My son, who has Cornelia deLange Syndrome, has participated in therapeutic riding since he was young. Riding helped him strengthen his core muscles and was instrumental in his learning to walk independently at age 10. Here he is riding a few different horses at Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Santa Barbara. So much of what KT Johnston captured in her story was familiar to us. The relationship between a rider and horse is truly special and can lead to incredible growth for both. I recommend Jubilee to readers of all ages!
Multicultural Children’s Book Day:
This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen. These diverse book-loving moms saw a need to shine the spotlight on the fabulous multicultural books and authors while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.
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About the Author
I am a mom to two sweet and lively boys and live in Santa Barbara, California. My oldest has Cornelia deLange Syndrome. He fuels my passion for advocating for equity and inclusion wherever I go. I love the power of a good story to inspire, educate, and make change in our world.