10 books like Black Beauty

By Anna Sewell, Kristen Guest (editor),

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Black Beauty. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Jonathan Livingston Seagull

By Richard Bach,

Book cover of Jonathan Livingston Seagull

This book is about taking the physical path to spiritual freedom, without the need for any religion. It inspired me to cross oceans under sail, to complete ultra-distance multi-disciplinary sports events, and to build my own faith in the divineness of the natural world. Would you believe it helped me win bike races?

And I love that it does all this through the lens of a beautiful feathered sea being. This non-human viewpoint released the author from the prison of human arrogance. Glorious. And it inspired some wonderful music. 

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

By Richard Bach,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Jonathan Livingston Seagull as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic work is now available for the first time in paperback. Since 1951, when the last of the Witchcraft Acts was repealed, many books have been written about the reappearance of witchcraft and the development of a pagan theology. Churchmen have denounced it. Sociologists have wondered at it. Journalists have penned sensational stories about it. But until the publication of this book, no one had told the real story of it from the inside as frankly as it is told here.

Doreen Valiente, one of witchcraft's most widely known figures, was a close friend of the late Gerald Gardner,…


Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Seabiscuit: An American Legend

The well-known tale of another hard-luck horse who achieves greatness on the racetrack never fails to inspire me. Like Snowman, Seabiscuit is another American icon, beloved for his tenacity and drive to win in the years that bridge the Depression and lead up to World War II. Hillenbrand is rightly praised for her breathtaking, heart-pounding descriptions of the race around the track, but we’re rooting for both the horse and the jockey, Red Pollard….not to mention the trainer behind the scenes, Tom Smith. Both Seabiscuit and Pollard bring a lot of baggage to the stable. Each has self-destructive vices, temperamental issues, and a whole lot of physical challenges. For me, the beauty of this book goes beyond the finish line. It meticulously chronicles the intricate relationships that develop between man and horse as they work toward a common goal. By the end of the book, the inevitable win at Santa…

Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Seabiscuit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of the runaway phenomenon Unbroken comes a universal underdog story about the horse who came out of nowhere to become a legend.

Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:

Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to…


War Horse

By Michael Morpurgo, Tom Clohosy Cole,

Book cover of War Horse

The story is narrated by Joey, a beautiful bay horse brought up on a farm, who is ‘called up’ during World War I to carry supplies, guns, and pull ambulances among the trenches of the Western Front. Joey witnesses the horror and futility of war with great compassion and a simplicity that still affects me today when I think of the 20 million people who died and the eight million horses, mules, and donkeys killed by their injuries, disease, and exhaustion. The book further resonates because I live in the town where Joey and 10 million soldiers and nurses, including my grandfather, left for France. The officers’ stables still stand at Shorncliffe Barracks and charity, the Shorncliffe Trust, is trying to get listed status to stop them being knocked down.

War Horse

By Michael Morpurgo, Tom Clohosy Cole,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked War Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Michael Morpurgo's global bestselling children's book War Horse has been adapted into a picture book for the first time. Illustrated throughout, it brings the beloved children's classic to life for children aged 5 and up.

Master storyteller Michael Morpurgo has adapted his much-loved novel, War Horse, for a picture book audience. This powerful book for younger readers tells the enduring story of a friendship between a boy and his horse and is a gateway to help children understand the history and chaos of the First World War. As we move beyond centenary commemorations and continue to strive for peace across…


The Eighty-Dollar Champion

By Elizabeth Letts,

Book cover of The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation

I’m breaking the rules by recommending two books by the same author, but I just had to. These are the two ultimate nonfiction books for horse lovers, though you really don’t need to be a horse person to love this book. Guy buys an old plow horse off the kill wagon and the horse goes on the win the national championship in jumping two years in a row. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Plus his whole family really loves the horse. There are pictures of his many children all lined up on the horse’s back. This is one of those feel-good books that you will remember. Even if you don’t remember specific details, you will remember the way it made you feel. 

The Eighty-Dollar Champion

By Elizabeth Letts,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Eighty-Dollar Champion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The dramatic and inspiring story of a man and his horse, an unlikely duo whose rise to stardom in the sport of show jumping captivated the nation  

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse. The recent Dutch immigrant recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up nag and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, he ultimately taught Snowman how to fly. Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo. One show…


The Black Stallion

By Walter Farley,

Book cover of The Black Stallion

This is a classic tale of a wild horse that only one person can tame, a trope that resonates with every horse lover the world over, me included!

A shipwreck leaves horse-mad Alec stranded on a desert island with the Black, a wild Arabian stallion. The pair must learn to trust each other if they are to survive.

But this is as much a story about horse racing as it is a shipwreck tale, and when Alec and the Black return home to America the Black’s incredible speed sees him taking part in a match race against the two fastest racehorses of the day.

The race scores high in the drama stakes, but for me it’s Alec’s bond with the Black that makes this book unforgettable.

The Black Stallion

By Walter Farley,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Black Stallion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1941, Walter Farley's best-selling novel for young readers is the triumphant tale of a boy and a wild horse. From Alec Ramsay and the Black's first meeting on an ill-fated ship to their adventures on a desert island and their eventual rescue, this beloved story will hold the rapt attention of readers new and old.

This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar (Grades 4-5, Stories) in Appendix B.


Distant Skies

By Melissa A. Priblo Chapman,

Book cover of Distant Skies: An American Journey on Horseback

Travel memoirs can be fun to read, but this one is riveting. Melissa Chapman and her horse Rainy traveled nearly 3,000 miles across America when the writer was in her early twenties. Before cell phones and GPS devices, “Missy” and Rainy trekked through backwoods and on state routes, rarely knowing where they would spend the night. Without faltering, Rainy helps Missy see America in ways most of us never do.

Distant Skies

By Melissa A. Priblo Chapman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Part American road trip, part coming-of-age adventure, and part uncommon love story—a remarkable memoir that explores the evolution of the human-animal relationship, along with the raw beauty of a life lived outdoors.

Melissa Chapman was 23 years old and part of a happy, loving family. She had a decent job, a boyfriend she cared about, and friends she enjoyed. Yet she said goodbye to all of it. Carrying a puppy named Gypsy, she climbed aboard a horse and rode away from everything, heading west.

With no cell phone, no GPS, no support team or truck following with supplies, Chapman quickly…


A Long Way Gone

By Ishmael Beah,

Book cover of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

This memoir captures the journey of child soldiers during the civil war in Sierra Leone, and shows how once-innocent children with ordinary lives became killing machines in the hands of a ruthless rebel leader. Beah doesn't shy away from the gruesomeness of civil war, but there is beauty in how he weaves this memoir that reads like a novel. Though I am not usually a fan of books with a lot of violence, I was drawn to this one and could not put it down. I believe history is best learned from those who have first-hand experience. This is a one-of-a-kind book and to Beah’s credit, well-written as well. 

A Long Way Gone

By Ishmael Beah,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Long Way Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this…


The Scorpio Races

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Book cover of The Scorpio Races

I read this novel on a plane coming back from vacation. (I’d brought Matt Haig’s The Humans, André Alexis’s Fifteen Dogs, and this one—best vacation reading ever!) It took almost 100 pages to get into it, but then I was hooked fast. I wanted to be Sean Kendrick, to have his skill and composure, to hang out with Corr, the water horse (and not get eaten). The narration alternates between Sean and Puck Connelly, an equally strong and dignified character who rides land horses (not as cool). She is why the book is on this list. Her first sentence speaks of her brothers, Finn and Gabe, and they’re with her throughout the book even when they’re not in a scene because they’re part of her, influential and understated. 

The Scorpio Races

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Scorpio Races as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A spellbinding novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

Some race to win. Others race to survive.It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio…


Mary Barton

By Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, Jennifer Foster (editor),

Book cover of Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life

Gaskell wrote this novel at a time when workers and their families in Britain’s industrial cities labored under intolerable conditions, and it was all too common for their suffering “to pass unregarded by all but the sufferers,” as Gaskell puts it in her preface. Her aim in writing the novel was to bring their plight to the attention of those better off—and to engender sympathy for their plight in the hearts and minds of readers. In the first half of the novel, she succeeds completely; it would be impossible for any reader to remain unmoved while reading of the lives of the Wilson family and the Barton family. The second half of the novel succeeds less fully, but the first half remains as powerful a piece of writing as I have ever read.

Mary Barton

By Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, Jennifer Foster (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mary Barton first appeared in 1848, and has since become one of the best known novels on the 'condition of England,' part of a nineteenth-century British trend to understand the enormous cultural, economic and social changes wrought by industrialization. Gaskell's work had great importance to the labour and reform movements, and it influenced writers such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle and Charlotte Bronte.

The plot of Mary Barton concerns the poverty and desperation of England's industrial workers. Fundamentally, however, it revolves around Mary's personal conflicts. She is already divided between an affection for an industrialist's son, Henry Carson, and for…


Animal Liberation

By Peter Singer,

Book cover of Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement

Few books have had as great an impact on how humans think of our fellow creatures as has Singer’s Animal Liberation. In exploring the ways in which humans treat other animals—including, with utter honesty, the ways in which we have treated the animals that we intend to consume—Singer’s aim was to stir “emotions of outrage and anger, coupled with a determination to do something about the practices described,” as he writes in the preface to the book. To my great shame, I confess that, for some years after I read the book in the early 1990s, I resisted the impulse to “do something about the practices described.” But the message stuck with me and kept nagging away; finally, some four or five years later, I began to speak out against factory farming—and to change my diet.  

Animal Liberation

By Peter Singer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How should we treat non-human animals? In this immensely powerful and influential book (now with a new introduction by Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari), the renowned moral philosopher Peter Singer addresses this simple question with trenchant, dispassionate reasoning. Accompanied by the disturbing evidence of factory farms and laboratories, his answers triggered the birth of the animal rights movement.

'An extraordinary book which has had extraordinary effects... Widely known as the bible of the animal liberation movement' Independent on Sunday

In the decades since this landmark classic first appeared, some public attitudes to animals may have changed but our continued abuse…


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