Orca Book Publishers

Browse by Category

Fiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 240
Themes: self-esteem, friendship, working together, horses
Publisher: Coteau Books
Pub Date: 01/Apr/2013
Bookmark and Share
A new life overseas! What could be better? Plenty of land to farm#&8212;and even gold to be found in the hills!

Well…except that Katherine's parents aren't farmers. Having spent everything on their transportation from England and setting up their homestead, they're struggling. Now Katherine has to sell her horse because keeping her is just too expensive.

For Emma, the promise of gold is nothing but bad luck. Her father left her and her mother back in England to join the gold rush. Now Emma's beloved mam has died, and Emma's been forced to come after him. Even worse, he thinks he's got the solution to cheer her up. He buys her a horse!

Katherine can hardly bear to give up her beloved Nugget to a girl who's clearly ungrateful for her good fortune and won't learn to ride. Emma, ashamed of a disability that means she can't ride sidesaddle, is desperate to avoid taking lessons from a stuck-up miss who obviously just wants her horse back. Can Nugget help them solve their problems together?

Set against the majestic landscape of the turn-of-the-century West, this is a story of ingenuity, courage, friendship—and the love of a horse.

Resource Links
"Readers will enjoy seeing how these two very different young ladies overcome their differences."
Historical Novel Society
"The novel is light reading, but well crafted (Gaetz has experience as a literacy teacher and aims many of her teen novels at struggling readers). Although the protagonists are around fourteen, the content is suitable for middle grades...Will appeal to young horse lovers of all ages."


CCBC Best Books  | 2013 | Commended
Moonbeam Children's Book Award  | 2014 | Winner
WILLA Award nominee  | 2014 | Short-listed
Paterson Prize Honor Book  | 2014 | Commended

Resources for Teachers:

Orca Book Publishers produces a number of tools and resources to help teachers, librarians, reading specialists and other education professionals enrich the teaching and learning experience. Please visit our Teacher Resources website to access and download materials.

Classroom Materials:

Classroom Projects

Readers Theater Scripts

Teachers' Guides

Resource Guides

Research and Support Materials:

Common Core

Reading Levels

Reaching Reluctant Readers:

Best Books for Struggling Readers


Reading Strategies