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Riding Freedom

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  2,852 ratings  ·  327 reviews
A reissue of Pam Munoz Ryan's bestselling backlist with a distinctive new author treatment.

In this fast-paced, courageous, and inspiring story, readers adventure with Charlotte Parkhurst as she first finds work as a stable hand, becomes a famous stage-coach driver (performing brave feats and outwitting bandits), finds love as a woman but later resumes her identity as a man...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1998)
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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)
Black Beauty by John DavageThe Black Stallion by Walter FarleyThe Girl Who Remembered Horses by Linda  BensonKing of the Wind by Marguerite HenryMisty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
Best YA Horse Books
7th out of 140 books — 103 voters
Black Beauty by Anna SewellThe Black Stallion by Walter FarleyKing of the Wind by Marguerite HenryMisty of Chincoteague by Marguerite HenrySeabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Horse Books/Novels
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Casie W
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...more
Aug 27, 2011 librarian4Him02 rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more
Louisa Lesté-lasserre
Jun 15, 2014 Louisa Lesté-lasserre rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Serene Godina
You should do whatever it takes to your dream . This story is about a girl who was strong, healthy, smart, and brave. This is a story based on Charlotte Darkey Parkhurrst it is told by a narrator who changed the story a little but kept most of it real. When Charlotte was a little girl she was placed into an orphanage because both her parents were killed in a stage wagon accident Charlotte was the only survivor. While she lived at the orphanage she had to work in the kitchen but the lady that wo...more
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.
Emily Whelchel
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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)
Leeanne Neilson
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a child and recently reread it. I loved how the author created depth and emotion to a historical character they had never personally known. Charlotte, a suppressed orphan, has a dream to own a ranch one day. She hides her identity as a girl, works hard, and draws upon her ability to connect with horses as a means of survival. When faced with an obstacle that threatens her job as a stagecoach driver, the reader gets a glimpse into Charlotte's true character stren...more
Sarah Parker
I loved the book kind of reminded me the movie She's the Man.
Charlotte Parkhurst was raised in an orphanage for boys, prevented from being adopted by the cook who wants to exploit her as a kitchen maid. Charlotte’s only escape is to the stables behind the orphanage where the caretaker allows her to ride her beloved horse, Freedom, and she dreams about spending her life training and riding horses on a ranch of her own.

In the mid-1800s, however, such options are out of reach for young girls, but the death of Freedom and the adoption of her closest friend se...more
Daisy Bandera
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...more
Margo Berendsen
This isn't your typical "young girl and her horse" book. I've read every single one I could get my hands one, but this is about the most unusual one I've read.

That's because Charlotte is so unusual. Her choices always surprised me. Also, her horse Freedom dies in the very beginning of the story (that caught me off guard!) Several other terrible things happen to her during the course of the story, bringing her to the edge of despair. But always she manages to find someway to keep moving forward....more
This book is about how this girl who runs away form a orphanage because she is tired of working in the kitchen and wants to be the horses so she goes to a stage run to get away from Killshark but she has no clue were she is going to go so she finds a job at a stable were she can sleep there and take of the horses when she fought out that she needed to move the horses to Rhode Island she has to be taught how to take a 6 horses at a time on a wagon She was scared at once so she got lessons the fir...more
Charlotte Parkhurst

Charlotte is orphaned at the age of 2 when the wagon her family is riding goes off the road. She lives in an orphanage until the age of 12. Her time in the orphanage is rough. She is forced to work in the kitchen with Mrs. Boyle, who has prevented her from being adopted due the fact that she needs her as a kitchen hand. When the director of the orphanage orders her to stop working in the stables and spend all her time in the kitchen Charlotte decides to run away. Verne,...more
Nicole Perez
Aw, I really liked this book. Firstly, I like to see when authors really do their research, and Ryan did hers before creating this book! This true story is very inspiring in that it tells the story of a girl, Charlotte Parkhurst, living in a sexist society where women haven't a voice nor could they choose what they longed to do. In order to chase her dreams of riding horses and owning her own ranch, she disguises herself as a man. I think that, for students, a story like this provides glimpses o...more
Lena Hillbrand
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...more
My only real complaint is that I wish this had been longer. The story is told in a neat, succinct manner, but I would have appreciated more little details and time to really get to know the characters, particularly at the beginning. Hay's adoption, Freedom's death and Charley's running away all happened very quickly. If a reader is expected to sympathize when negative events happen then they ought to be given a chance to connect with the characters involved. I'm afraid we just didn't get that ch...more
This short book packs in a lot of story following the life of Charlotte Parkhurst from a young orphan girl who loved horses to when she died dressed as a man and known as Charlie to everyone. Charlotte was a real person in the 1800's who originally dressed as a boy so she could run away from the orphanage and work with horses. As Charlie, she became the most respected stage coach driver on the East Coast and eventually moved out to the rough new state of California. Even after an accident that l...more
I've had this book at home for a while because my children read it as a preparation for 4th grade. What a beautiful, fascinating story! A girl who escapes the orphanage and disguises as a boy becomes One-Eyed Charley, the best driver of the west. Based on a true story, Pam Muñoz Ryan weaves a tale that inspired me to learn more about Charlotte. Girls are amazing! I won't forget Charlotte any time soon.
Based on a true story of woman before her time. Interesting notes about her life at the end.

Her parents get killed in wagon wreck (graphically in 1st chapter) when she's two. She lives in an orphanage. In a stressful 2nd chapter, her favorite horse dies of an infection, her only friend, a boy, gets adopted, and she is told she can't ride horses anymore. So she runs away. She gets to work with horses and learns to drive teams of horses. She is blinded in one eye by a horse kick but gets to drive...more
A well-researched book based on the real life "Charley Parkhurst" - a stage driver and respected community member in the Santa Cruz, CA area who after "he" died was found to be a woman who had lived her life as a man. Parkhurst had succeeded in a man's world at a man's job, and even voted in presidential elections. Munoz Ryan does a good job fictionalizing the story, and walking the reader through a life in a slim book and a very fast read. Would be a good read-aloud (fast!) to add to a unit on...more
This is the second book I am reading to my 3rd grade reader's workshop group. The protagonist is based on a real person who has quite a remarkable story. I look forward to this book.

Yes, Charlotte lived her life as a man in order to afford her all the opportunities she desired. Her life was hard and she was courageous. Six 3rd grade children and I had worthy discussions about the comparrisons of the day, life in an orphanage, friends who make a difference (Vern), having courage enough to do some...more
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.
Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan is based on the true story of Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst, a strong, independent young woman who made her way in a world of men in the mid-1800s. She lost her parents when she was just a toddler and lived her early life in an orphanage filled with boys. She quickly became adept at taking care of, riding, and training horses. Charley had what it took to be a first-rate carriage driver...and that she did. She ran away from the orphanage since she knew her gender wou...more
Loved this book, not as much as Esperanza Rising, but pretty darn close. It hooked me from the beginning as I ached for Charlotte and the tragedy of losing her family and going to the orphanage, and it kept my attention to the very last page...and that means the author's note at the end of the story. Fantastic easy read
Ok not a review but still.....I read this as a child in probably first grade....and continued to read it at every chance I got, multiple times a year, every year until I went to middle I found my personal copy hidden deep in our garage. I have this book to thank for my love of reading today.
This is a fictional account of Charlotte Parkhurst (Charley or One-Eye Charley), a woman who drove coaches both on the East and West Coasts. Charley becomes an orphan at a young age and is placed at an orphanage for boys. Because she is the only girl, she becomes the kitchen maid of the place and the mean cook steps in the way to prevent her from being adopted - the cook is more concerned about losing her help. Charley loves to work with the horses and has one true friend Hayward. When she loses...more
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A former teacher, she lives in Leucadia, California with her family.
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“... and her name was Freedom.” 6 likes
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