The best children's books about horse racing

Miranda N. Prather Author Of Blue Blue Sea Finds His Cape
By Miranda N. Prather

The Books I Picked & Why

Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby

By Crystal Hubbard, Robert McGuire

Book cover of Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby

Why this book?

Jimmy “Wink” Winkfield was an accomplished athlete of his day though his memory today has faded. Crystal Hubbard's powerful narrative and Robert McGuire's gorgeous drawings transport readers to another time and place and shine a light on the last African American jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. I love how the story unfolds and shows a loving child growing into a determined young man overcoming every obstacle the world sets in front of him. The tale is timeless and the historical context provides an important learning point to open a dialogue between the old and young. 


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I Rode the Red Horse: Secretatriat's Belmont Race

By Barbara Libby

Book cover of I Rode the Red Horse: Secretatriat's Belmont Race

Why this book?

A singular talent of his generation and arguably one of the greatest racehorses of all time, few are unaware of the feats of the immortal Secretariat. Prior to his record-breaking three-year-old campaign, it had been twenty-five years since the sport had crowned a Triple Crown champion. Through immersive illustrations and the words of the prized colt's jockey, Ron Turcotte, the tale comes alive to delight a new generation and bring those who were there back to the glory of the red horse.


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We Go In A Circle

By Peggy Perry Anderson

Book cover of We Go In A Circle

Why this book?

With darling illustrations to engage children, the tale of an everyday racehorse and a future beyond the track comes alive. Young readers easily become connected with the story through the thoughts and feelings of the average racehorse. The horse loves the track and the thrill of the win, but when an injury upends his life, he faces an uncertain future. In the end, he finds an even better calling in helping a special group of children who benefit from hippotherapy. I adore the story of how the second act of the horse is the best one of all.


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Seabiscuit the Wonder Horse

By Meghan McCarthy

Book cover of Seabiscuit the Wonder Horse

Why this book?

I adore the quirky, offbeat illustrations that perfectly compliment the tale of an underdog racehorse who proved the world wrong. During his life, Seabiscuit was a big-name celebrity once the right team of owner, trainer, and jockey found him. The tale of an unlikely hero resonates beautifully during our current troubled times. McCarthy manages to use an economy of words to tell the story well to the youngest of readers. 


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D Is for Derby: A Kentucky Derby Alphabet: A Kentucy Derby Alphabet

By Helen L. Wilbur, Jaime Corum

Book cover of D Is for Derby: A Kentucky Derby Alphabet: A Kentucy Derby Alphabet

Why this book?

While learning letters youngsters can also learn about the most exciting two minutes in sports. Jaime Corum's illustrations are deeply moving and the action springs to life through them and the poetry that Helen Wilbur's words provide. Although a young reader wouldn't be able to read the book to themselves, that is actually a benefit. I love how the book demands that an adult sit down, slow time, and enjoy it with the youngster they are reading to. There is no more beautiful ride than that.


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