The best children’s books about cowboys and rodeos

Doris Fisher Author Of Jackson Sundown: Native American Bronco Buster
By Doris Fisher

Who am I?

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and have always been fascinated by the Wild West. Native Americans, cowboys, rodeos, settlers, farmers, and the great National Parks of the West. I’ve been fortunate to see Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Glacier National Park, and many western national monuments. My first elementary school was Sequoyah, named for the great Cherokee who created the Cherokee alphabet. While researching early library methods of transportation, I came across books being delivered by stagecoach in the west. That eventually led me to discover the amazing life of Jackson Sundown. I hope these books on cowboys, buckaroos, and rodeos enchant you and your little ones like they have me.


I wrote...

Jackson Sundown: Native American Bronco Buster

By Doris Fisher, Sarah Cotton (illustrator),

Book cover of Jackson Sundown: Native American Bronco Buster

What is my book about?

Jackson Sundown was the best rodeo performer in Idaho and Oregon. He was a member of the Nez Perce tribe who fled from the U.S. Cavalry in 1877. Due to his Native American heritage, he was denied first place. With determination and persistence, his amazing rodeo tricks and bareback rides eventually caused the crowds to insist he be recognized. He won the 1916 Pendleton Round-Up World Champion for bronco riding! He is the only Native American in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

The books I picked & why

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Tad Lucas: Trick-Riding Rodeo Cowgirl

By Laura Edge, Stephanie Ford (illustrator),

Book cover of Tad Lucas: Trick-Riding Rodeo Cowgirl

Why this book?

Tad Lucas was an amazing cowgirl! Born in Texas, she amazed crowds at rodeos all over the world for more than 40 years. She was known for trick riding, bronco riding, and steer riding. She is the only woman honored in the National Rodeo Hall of Fame. Her daring horse riding was astonishing in the rodeo world of men and cowboys.


B Is for Buckaroo: A Cowboy Alphabet

By Louise Doak Whitney, Gleaves Whitney, Susan Guy (illustrator)

Book cover of B Is for Buckaroo: A Cowboy Alphabet

Why this book?

What a terrific book to learn about the cowboy’s way of life! All things related to the western lifestyle are described. There is detailed information from A-to-Z, plus a short poem using each letter for younger readers and listeners. Examples are chuck wagon, lariat, and rodeo. I think this book is so informative with its focus on western culture and western history.  


Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang

By Melanie Chrismer, Virginia Roeder (illustrator),

Book cover of Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang

Why this book?

Phoebe Clapsaddle was a southern belle who lived on a ranch. This fiction book involves the Tumbleweed Gang who made an acquaintance with Phoebe after they visited her town. Appalled by their lack of manners and impolite speech, Phoebe decides they need her southern charm and culture. Phoebe teaches them lessons in riding, roping, and good manners. There are more Tumbleweed Gang adventures in other books, too. I know the author personally. Phoebe Clapsaddle’s name is in her family tree. Though she didn’t know if Phoebe was a southern belle cowgirl, the author loved her name so much, she wanted to write a book about her as a main character.


Cowboy Camp

By Tammi Sauer, Mike Reed (illustrator),

Book cover of Cowboy Camp

Why this book?

Who doesn’t want to be a cowboy or cowgirl when they grow up? Avery certainly does. Cowboy Dan will help his campers become true rootin’ tootin’ cowboys. Although Avery tries to dress like a cowboy like the other campers, things aren’t quite right for him. He is allergic to grits and beans, he sneezes around horses, and develops rope burn when is tries his hand at twirling a lasso. But his problems come in real handy when Black Bart appears one night.


Armadillo Rodeo

By Jan Brett, Jan Brett (illustrator),

Book cover of Armadillo Rodeo

Why this book?

Just looking at the colorful illustrations in this book make me want to look at it again and again. When Bo, the armadillo, mistakes a red cowboy boot for an armadillo friend, chaos happens.
With his poor eyesight, Bo follows that ‘red armadillo’ to the Curly H ranch for some rodeo time shenanigans. He gets bucked off a horse, eats a fiery jalapeno pepper, is kicked up on the dance floor. After he discovers his red friend is not an armadillo, he heads back with his ma, knowing he can find more fun at the Curly H, whenever he gets bored!


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in cowboys, Texas, and rodeos?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about cowboys, Texas, and rodeos.

Cowboys Explore 41 books about cowboys
Texas Explore 95 books about Texas
Rodeos Explore 14 books about rodeos

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Splinters, Smonk, and Rodeo Road if you like this list.