The best books encouraging children to dream and believe in themselves

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.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Tabby's Big Year

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Why did I love 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?

By Hollie Anne Marsh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tabby's Big Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A Tale of Sweetbriars. A 'feel good', coming of age series, for horse-mad girls, teens and those 'young at heart'. Tabby's Big Year, won the Best Young Adult Fiction award at the 2019 EQUUS Film Festival. It's also been called a 'Must Read' by Horse & Hound and 'included several times in the Pony Magazine's best horse book recommendations.

Welcome to the yard! Come and meet the girls... Cate, Tabby and Violet.

This second book follows Tabby. After her father vanishes, a deep rift develops in Tabby's family. Tabby's mother is focused on being a star performer in her pharmaceutical…


Book cover of Meow Said the Cow

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Why did I love 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.

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. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Meow Said the Cow is the second in the hilarious Auntie Lily series that is a perfect read right before sleep. The mood is lightened with Auntie Lily's silly rhymes, which guarantees bedtime with a smile :)

Silly Auntie Lily
Loves cows big and small
She tells us cow stories
That make no sense at all
Loony goofy stories
Always told in rhyme
‘Cause silly Auntie Lily
Is silly all the time

Have fun and help your child develop with Meow Said the Cow - the hilarious second volume in the READY TO READ children's books series about funny, silly,…


Book cover of New Beginnings

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Why did I love 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.

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.

What is this book about?

The King family have moved interstate to Victoria for Mr. King's job. Ten year old Jacqui King is excited that they're leasing a property where they can keep horses. She may get to learn to ride!


Book cover of Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Why did I love 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.

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. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Meet Sticky Icky Vicky, a girl who wants to get over her fear—once and for all
In Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear, the first book in the Sticky Icky Vicky™ series, authors Alysia and Michael Ssentamu introduce readers to Vicky, a fun-loving girl who doesn't mind getting a little sticky and icky. She loves rolling down hills and playing in mud—but when it comes to water, Sticky Icky Vicky's fear prevents her from joining in the fun. Then Vicky gets an invitation for a waterpark party, and she decides that she really wants to go—even if it means ignoring…


Book cover of Maximus the Platypus Finds His Family

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Why did I love 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.

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.

What is this book about?

Maximus, a cute Platypus, is lost! A great big storm swept him away from his grandparents. Where could they be? He must find them! Along the way, he meets friends who look a little bit like him. Will he ever find his family? Find out what happens!
Another great family-friendly book for kids by Andi Cann with special details about the unique traits of a platypus animal!


You might also like...

Bessie

By Linda Kass,

Book cover of Bessie

Linda Kass Author Of Bessie

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Bookstore owner Learner Reader Historical novelist Long distance cyclist

Linda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

In the bigoted milieu of 1945, six days after the official end of World War II, Bess Myerson, the daughter of poor Russian immigrants living in the Bronx, remarkably rises to become Miss America, the first —and to date only— Jewish woman to do so. At stake is a $5,000 scholarship for the winner.

An intimate fictional portrait of Bess Myerson’s early life, Bessie reveals the transformation of the nearly six-foot-tall, self-deprecating yet talented preteen into an exemplar of beauty, a peripheral quality in her world. It is the unfamiliar secular society of pageantry she must choose to escape her roots as she searches for love and acceptance, eager to make her mark on the world.

Bessie

By Linda Kass,

What is this book about?

Just days after the close of World War II, Bess Myerson, the college-educated daughter of poor Russian Jewish immigrants living in the Bronx, is competing in the Miss America pageant. At stake: a $5,000 scholarship. The tension and excitement in Atlantic City's Warner Theatre is palpable, especially for traumatized Jews rooting for one of their own. So begins Bessie.


Drawing on biographical and historical sources, Bessie reimagines the early life of Bess Myerson, who, in 1945 at age twenty-one, remarkably rises to become one of the most famous women in America. This intimate fictional portrait reveals the transformation of the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in equestrianism, cows, and horses?

10,000+ 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 30 books about equestrianism
Cows Explore 21 books about cows
Horses Explore 112 books about horses