The best books encouraging children to dream and believe in themselves

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Author Of My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses
By Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Who am I?

My parents encouraged me to become a children’s author when I was very young. At first, I thought that was the silliest idea ever, but I found creating stories to be fun and inspiring. I’ve been an award-winning published author since 2009, when I had an intuition to try writing stories for children. I love being a role model for children; someone who can show them that they can achieve much more than they imagine if they persevere. My personal story, My Life at Sweetbrier; A Life Changed by Horses, is a testament that remarkable things can be accomplished through perseverance. I’m honored my work has earned many literary awards. 


I wrote...

My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses

By Deanie Humphrys-Dunne,

Book cover of My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses

What is my book about?

What if you grew up on a horse farm and your single passion was to become a champion rider? This problem is, you were born with a disability. This happened to Deanie. Doctors told her parents she’d never walk, let alone ride. What happened next? What did Deanie’s dad do that changed her life? Could a failed racehorse and a handicapped girl become a winning team? This is the author’s true story. If you love horses and are someone who has been counted out becoming a winner in every way, you will love this book.

The books I picked & why

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Sweetbriars: Tabby's Big Year

By Hollie Anne Marsh,

Book cover of Sweetbriars: Tabby's Big Year

Why this book?

This is a well-written book for preteens and young teenagers. The main character, Tabby, must overcome several family problems. In the beginning, she is not brave enough to face them, but eventually, she finds creative ways to solve her issues. Tabby grows as a character and that is something that will help engage young readers. The target audience will be eager to keep turning pages. They’ll want to know how Tabby changes. How does she handle bullies? How does she help save one of her favorite horses? Tabby’s Mom works nearly all the time so they have never had a close relationship. Does Tabby find out new things about her mom?

Sweetbriars: Tabby's Big Year

By Hollie Anne Marsh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sweetbriars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Meow Said the Cow: Help Kids Go to Sleep With a Smile

By Sarah Mazor,

Book cover of Meow Said the Cow: Help Kids Go to Sleep With a Smile

Why this book?

This book has adorable illustrations and wonderful, amusing rhymes that children and families will want to read again and again. It’s sure to bring smiles to everyone. Not only is it fun, but also educational. At the end of the book, there are engaging riddles with answers listed under them, so children and their families can see how well they remember the information presented in the book. It’s a must-have bedtime story for the little ones, in my opinion.

I adore this story. It first presents silly pictures, like a cow laying eggs, followed by an illustration of a hen and information on the hen and what she does. It’s so funny as well as educational. In addition to the story, there are endearing riddles at the end I feel the book will appeal to toddlers and preschoolers and they will learn a great deal by reading this funny, fact-filled tale. They are sure to giggle when they meet Silly Auntie Lily, who introduces the story. It’s full of fun and learning from cover to cover.

Meow Said the Cow: Help Kids Go to Sleep With a Smile

By Sarah Mazor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meow Said the Cow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


New Beginnings

By Christine Meunier,

Book cover of New Beginnings

Why this book?

I grew up at a riding school so I love horses and stories that would connect with young readers who are equestrian enthusiasts. The King Family are the main characters in the book. They lease a horse farm named Genesis and begin making long-range plans for their future. What happens when young Jacqui outgrows her beloved pony? How does the family rely on their faith to help them through difficult times? It’s an engaging, story that will show readers ways they may manage changes and trials in their own lives. I believe readers will relate to this story because they have faced fears as well. It may help them to read about Vicky’s trials.

New Beginnings

By Christine Meunier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked New Beginnings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear

By Alysia Ssentamu, Michael Ssentamu, Noor Alshalabi (illustrator)

Book cover of Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear

Why this book?

Sticky Icky Vicky is an educational, entertaining, well-written book for children. The big, bright illustrations will help engage readers. They will want to know why Vicky is so terrified of water that she even hates bathing. What happened to make her fear water? How did Vicky overcome her fear? Readers will want to keep turning the pages to see how Vicky changes her thought process. What occurs in the story that helps Vicky make an important choice? Readers will cheer for Vicky as she tackles her fear.

Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear

By Alysia Ssentamu, Michael Ssentamu, Noor Alshalabi (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sticky Icky Vicky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Maximus the Platypus Finds His Family

By Andi Cann,

Book cover of Maximus the Platypus Finds His Family

Why this book?

Maximus is a cute fellow, who is much larger than the average platypus. Max has a loving family, but he endures a trauma when his bed floats away from home during a rainstorm and he loses track of this family. Max encounters other animals who have some of the same traits. For example, Deedee Duck has a bill like Max and similar feet, but she’s not related. Soon Max meets Ollie the Otter, hoping they were part of the same family. Ollie admits their tails look alike, but still; they are not related. In the end, all of the animals Max meets help reunite him with his grandparents. Max is delighted, but he also realizes his new friends are part of his extended family. I loved that message and found the illustrations to be endearing.

Maximus the Platypus Finds His Family

By Andi Cann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maximus the Platypus Finds His Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in equestrianism, cows, and horses?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about equestrianism, cows, and horses.

Equestrianism Explore 28 books about equestrianism
Cows Explore 19 books about cows
Horses Explore 91 books about horses

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Oi Cat!, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, and Centered Riding if you like this list.