Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Riding Freedom” as Want to Read:
Riding Freedom
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Riding Freedom

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  4,350 Ratings  ·  480 Reviews
Extensively researched, this fast-paced historical novel about Charlotte (Charley) Parkhurst combines all the known facts of a daring woman's colorful life in the Wild West with Pam Munoz Ryan's own spirited imaginings Ages 8-12. Pub: 2/98. .
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Scholastic Signature (first published January 1st 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Riding Freedom, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jennifer They both felt picked on at the orphanage. She was older, so she started looking out for him. Then when he's leaving, she realizes that she picked him…moreThey both felt picked on at the orphanage. She was older, so she started looking out for him. Then when he's leaving, she realizes that she picked him out as a special companion because she assumed no one would ever adopt him because of his ears. So that's the origin of their friendship--her looking out for and clinging to him as a fellow misfit--and their relationship grew from there.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Riding Freedom starts a bit slow, but by the end, I wished there was more. Maybe the author kept it short for a young audience, or maybe there's just not a lot known about our subject, Charlotte/Charlie, the heroine of this historical fiction/biographical novel. Whatever the case, I was left with questions about her life.
We know she lived as a man until she died and never married or revealed her secret. But I wondered if her childhood friend ever returned to help her run the ranch that was thei
Oct 11, 2011 Afton rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Casie W
May 26, 2014 Casie W rated it it was amazing
This book is about a girl that is stuck at an orphanage only because the person in charge of the orphanage keeps on hiding her when it comes to the day of adoption. So everyone thinks the orphanage has only boys when it actually has one girl along with the boys. She eventually runs away and spends majority of her life trying to survive by pretending to be a boy. She spends the rest of her life hiding from the orphanage and anyone that would send her back to the orphanage.

Charlotte Parkhurst is
Jun 07, 2008 Sylvia rated it really liked it
This historical fiction book is based on Parkhurst's life and experiences. Although this book has a slow (and tragic) beginning, it picks up speed as it moves along. Charlotte was raised as an orphan with all boys. She eventually ran away and spent her life disguised as a man. Because she was disguised as a man, she was the first woman ever to vote (even though no one realized she was a woman until her death).

As a woman living in the 1800's, Charlotte had to maintain her disguise in order to li
Feb 11, 2009 Sherri rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 11, 2011 Mia rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome!!!! I read it a long time ago, but I still remember parts that I would say, but don't want to ruin the story for you. READ THIS BOOK IF YOU HAVE SINCE !!! (just kidding)
Alan T.
Feb 10, 2017 Alan T. rated it liked it
This story is about a kid that likes to ride freedom with his horse around the place he lives in. So the kids parents bought him a horse at the age 9 because he really wanted one like he would beg his parents to buy him one so one day his parents went to a ranch where they sell the horses and they sall a cheap nice looking horse so they decided to buy it for his son so the parents go to the house and get the trailer and go back to get the horse after that they get home and the kid get really hap ...more
Apr 15, 2015 Allie rated it it was amazing
Riding Freedom is a historical fiction book by Pam Muñoz Ryan that is based on the actual person, Charlotte "Charley" Darkey Parkhurst. The person is real, but most of the story is just from the author's imagination. I really enjoyed reading the beginning, when I am introduced to Charley and how she was so strong to survive multiple fevers and even a large crash that killed her parents instantly when Charley was two and a half years old.
I think the title is called "Riding Freedom" because in th
Abigail Lutz
Feb 16, 2016 Abigail Lutz rated it really liked it
“Riding Freedom” is a wonderful historical fiction text that tells the story of Charlotte Parkhurst. Taking place in the mid-1800’s, Charlotte’s life is far from what you might expect of a female born in the northeast. After being orphaned in a carriage accident as an infant, Charlotte’s life is full of adventure after she runs away and begins her life as a stable hand disguised as a boy. Learning to be a stage-coach driver and moving out west to California to buy her own farm, Charlotte doesn’t ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Cesar added it
Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan is a Historical Fiction book. The setting of this book takes place in California sometime during the women's suffrage. Some main characters would be Charlotte (Charley) which is the main character, Mr. Mill Shark which is kind of like the bad guy, Hayward which was Charlotte friend, and Ebeneezer which helped Charlotte a lot.
The Conflict that basically started the story is that she did not want to stay in a orphanage behind the kitchen for the rest of her life. T
Oct 25, 2014 Jennifer rated it liked it
Great read for advanced elementary school readers--boys or girls. I've always loved stories like this, and being based on fact makes it all the better. I would have loved this as a kid.

As an adult, my reaction is a little different. I really enjoyed it the whole way through, but I found it really depressing in the end that Charley never came out in the open until she died. Okay, so I guess the fairytale lover in me wanted her and Hay to get married. I realize now that Ryan had to stick to some b
Aug 27, 2011 librarian4Him02 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to librarian4Him02 by: Solano Kids Read Committee
Plot: Charlotte Parkhust lived in a boys orphanage after the death of her parents. She left the orphanage after her best friend was adopted. After that she disguised herself as a boy and learned to drive a stagecoach. She made her way in the world at a time when most doors were closed to women.

Why I picked it up - This is another book a committee I'm on is considering for our annual one book, one county reading event.

Why I kept reading - Charlotte was such a strong, inspiring character. The aut
Emily Whelchel
Apr 01, 2014 Emily Whelchel rated it it was ok
I read this book for my Children's Literature class and was a little disappointed. I never experienced much of an attachment for the characters after the first few chapters. Charlotte in the orphanage was spunky and full of personality, but Charley the stagecoach driver seemed a stiff and purely biographical telling of a person who lived a long time ago. I felt only confusion about the relationship between Charlotte and her friend Hayward. I did enjoy the adventures Charley faced in her life, bu ...more
Alize Ginel
Charlotte is a girl who lived in a boys orphanage because when she was a baby her parents in a accident , she also lived in the time period of women's rights . Charlotte loved horses . In the orphanage there were horses where the boys there would have races . Charlotte wasn't allowed to race because she was a girl not only was she not allowed to race but she was not allowed to be adopted .One day Charlotte had the bravery to run away from the orphanage . She didn't want to live there . When Char ...more
Feb 05, 2017 fridasinvida rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este pequeño libro es precioso. Nos cuenta sobre la vida de una chica que debe hacerse pasar por hombre para vivir una vida "digna". Nos habla de la libertad, de la perseverancia y de lo importante que es tener personas que crean en nosotros. "¿Quién puede seguir diciendo que una mujer no puede trabajar y votar como un hombre?"
Laura Hodgins
Feb 04, 2017 Laura Hodgins rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, children-s
Fascinating woman, never had heard of her before.
May 18, 2014 Carolyn rated it liked it
Shelves: battle-books
Set in the 1800s, this short book chronicles the life of a girl who overcomes tragic circumstances to live the life she wants to live. There are also a few touches on the women's suffrage movement. Those parts seemed a bit forced but worthwhile at the end when I found out this book is based on a true story. A nice, short novel for 3/4 graders.
Louisa Lesté-lasserre
May 21, 2014 Louisa Lesté-lasserre rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sarah
Recommended to Louisa by: Christa Leste
Shelves: i-own-a-copie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheryl M.
Jun 29, 2011 Cheryl M. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 4th-graders
I usually read the first chapter where the little girl is thrown from the wagon and
her parents are killed. I then tell the kids that this story originates from a real woman's
life story and that there is a secret to her life and because of that secret (which they will
find out if they read the book), she becomes the first woman to vote in the state of California.
Maria Kramer
This book is well-written, but it isn't my style. I think an actual child may have gotten more out of it that me. :-) Not a super-exciting work, but certainly interesting. What the book really made me want to do is investigate the true story it's based on.
Dec 31, 2016 Dana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I feel like a broken record, but this is another wonderful YA book! The story follows the life of Charlotte/Charley Parkhurst from an East coast orphanage to the roaring Gold Rush state. Great characters support the story, and the action in the book gives this short read some major "umph"!
Goshen PL Childrens
Original nomination suggestion: "!! ❤ :)"

Ms. Laura: Historical fiction, horses and sheer willpower! These words best describe "Riding Freedom". Middle readers, both struggling and advanced, will delight in the struggle that Charlotte endures to be free and the be with her beloved horses.
Jan 18, 2017 Sidney rated it it was amazing
This book kept my attention. I thought it was great and I used it for a report at school.
Jan 13, 2016 Asa rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
I loved this book it was very touching
Sarah Parker
Jun 01, 2008 Sarah Parker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I loved the book kind of reminded me the movie She's the Man.
Mar 07, 2017 Ron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elementary, audiobook
I had a 3rd grader recommend this to me. It is the story a girl living in an orphanage in the mid-1800s. She has to transform herself into a boy and run away to achieve her goals in life. I thought the book was entirely fiction until I read the afterward. This story is actually a fictionalized biography and the author tells you where she took liberties (basically shortening the time between major events to keep the story moving).
Karin Jenkins
Mar 25, 2017 Karin Jenkins rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book about a girl rising above her obstacles, using her strengths and making a wonderful life for herself. I wish it were longer, but it has been great for my reluctant reader who's just learning to read for fun.
Anne Ruiz
Mar 21, 2017 Anne Ruiz rated it it was amazing
I love when I get so engrossed in a book and wanting it to be real. The only thing that's better is realizing how close this book is to the true story. This is the perfect book for budding feminists everywhere.
Daisy Bandera
Jan 11, 2011 Daisy Bandera rated it really liked it
I selected this book named Riding freedom because when i first looked it feels in me that have to read it. Then i was rigth when i first read the three page it motive me so fast.This book makes you think alot of things you maight know. Makes you motive an express your self. i see this book intersting aint iwas right.Also my teacher ms. Nelso tell me that is a good book to read.
I think that i maight dont like it but its a great book. when you started to read it seen to you a interesting book. i
Jan 14, 2017 Robyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
My 9 year-old Horse loving daughter begged me to read this. She loved it and I am glad that I fulfilled that request. It was an empowering read for a young girl and her mother to share.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book section summary 1 4 Apr 02, 2015 08:45PM  
  • Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story
  • The Liberation of Gabriel King
  • All Stations! Distress!: April 15, 1912: The Day the Titanic Sank
  • Rachel's Journal: The Story of a Pioneer Girl (Young American Voices, #1)
  • The Ravenmaster's Secret: Escape From The Tower Of London
  • Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor & the Merrimac
  • Maggie's Door (Nory Ryan #2)
  • When the Soldiers Were Gone
  • The World According to Humphrey (According to Humphrey, #1)
  • Rescue on the Oregon Trail (Ranger in Time, #1)
  • I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade
  • Faith, Hope, and Ivy June
  • Hiroshima
  • The War to End All Wars: World War I
  • The First Thanksgiving
  • Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers
  • Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U. S. Marshal
  • In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
A former teacher, she lives in Leucadia, California with her family.
More about Pam Muñoz Ryan...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“... and her name was Freedom.” 8 likes
More quotes…