Riding Freedom


By: Pam Muñoz Ryan

In this fictionalized biography of Charlotte Parkhurst, we meet a girl who is passionate about horses.  But the man who oversees the orphanage where she lives insists that girls her age shouldn’t be stable hands–it’s just not proper!  Charlotte makes a brave decision: she escapes from the orphanage, cuts her hair, changes her clothes, and re-names herself Charley to begin her first job as a stable hand.  Her skill with horses leads her to California during the Gold Rush era, where she becomes famously known as a brave and cunning stagecoach driver. Ultimately, Charlotte settles on a farm in California, something she had always dreamed of, and invites old friends from the orphanage and her first boss, to come work and live with her.  Charlotte’s story traces the bold decisions made by a girl dead-set on accessing the opportunities that allow her to live her passions.