Posts Tagged ‘horses’

Introducing Sari Cooper, author of The Horse of the River

Posted on July 2nd, 2020 by Carolyn Hart

Dr. Sari Cooper authored The Horse of the River
Photo credit – Marley Gillian Eisen

Sari Cooper is a doctor and writer. She has lived in Canada all her life except for an 18- month stint in Australia. She spends most of her time working as a Family Physician and looking after her own family. But she always loved writing and was able to bring her passion to life after being inspired to write The Horse of the River. The inspiration came after a horseback riding and rafting retreat while on vacation in New Zealand. There she learned about natural horsemanship and had some harrowing experiences while rafting. She currently lives in Victoria, BC.

Author website

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Sari Cooper’s first published book is The Horse of the River. It is a children’s horseback riding adventure, published by Harbour Publishing.

The Horse of the River by Sari Cooper is published by Harbour Publishing

Who do you think should read The Horse of the River? What are you most proud of?

The natural audience for this book is children ages 8-12 who like adventure. But it would be enjoyable for anyone who likes middle-school-age fiction. I am most proud of the strong positive female lead, and the themes of friendship and resiliency. I also think it’s got some pretty humorous moments.

The Horse of the River: A Camp Canyon Falls Adventure (Camp Canyon Falls) at

The Horse of the River: A Camp Canyon Falls Adventure (Camp Canyon Falls) at

Was it difficult for you to get your first book published? What suggestions/words of encouragement do you have for aspiring authors/illustrators?

Yes, it was close to 7 years from the time of completion to the time of publication. If you get rejections from all the large publishing houses, seek out the smaller ones that might have a space for a new unknown author with a story that aligns with their values. Ask people to read and provide feedback. Listen without defensiveness. Don’t be afraid to rewrite. It almost always gets better.

If we were watching over your shoulder as you work on a book, what would we see? Where do you work? What does your writing process look like?

I work where I am comfortable. Sometimes on the couch, on my bed, in my office chair. Where it’s quiet and usually when no one else is home. Writing is my side line. My work as a physician keeps me very busy, as does my family. So I grab pieces of time to write when I can. It isn’t a routine for me. It happens when I’m inspired and excited about it.

What are the joys of being an author? What do you derive your greatest pleasure from?

I genuinely get a rush when I hear from a reader that they enjoyed the book. I love hearing that they couldn’t put it down at a specific part, or when they tell me a small detail they enjoyed, which often happens to be one of my own favourite parts. When I hear from someone in my target audience I try to connect with them when appropriate. I was reviewed by a 10-year-old reader who liked the book and I sent her a signed bookmark and some stickers and a personal message through the magazine where the review was published. It was my first review from a reader in my target audience who didn’t know me personally. I would have to say my greatest pleasure as an author is simply hearing that kids are reading and enjoying my book.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced as an author?

TIME!! And distraction. Because I have a career other than writing which is both challenging and fulfilling, I often will choose downtime at the end of the day or on days off. But I’ve been more energized lately and am working to carve out time to write more.

If you weren’t an author, what sort of work do you envision yourself doing? Have you had other careers or do you have another career now?

I work as a Family Physician in Victoria, British Columbia. It’s busy and challenging work. It allows me to connect with people and it has taught me a lot about character and compassion. I suppose it informs my writing quite a bit.

Saluting a Canadian Picture Book Favourite: Under a Prairie Sky

Posted on June 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at Canadian picture book Under a Prairie SkyUnder a Prairie Sky written by Anne Laurel Carter and illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel
Canadian Picture Book published by Orca Book Publishers

It is nearly Canada Day (July 1) and my thoughts have turned to picture books with a decidedly “Canadian look.” This afternoon, I pulled Under a Prairie Sky off my bookshelf and spent some time enjoying the detailed, striking watercolour illustrations and the equally dramatic text. A terrific Canadian picture book read aloud for four and five year olds, Under a Prairie Sky is the story of a farm boy who aspires to be a RCMP Officer when he grows up. While harvesting wheat with his father, he is sent to find his younger brother before a storm arrives at the farm. Knowing that this is a job that will demand the detective skills of a Mounted Police Officer, he quickly changes his clothes, dons a Stetson and mounts his trusty black horse. He follows young Will’s trail through the fields and into the wild, taking in flora and fauna native to the Canadian prairies.

Under a Prairie Sky at

Under a Prairie Sky at

Old Bird Reminds Us “Old” Does Not Mean Incompetent or Worthless

Posted on February 11th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Old Bird by Irene Morck introduces ideas of ageismOld Bird – written by Irene Morck and illustrated by Muriel Wood

When Papa buys Bird, a gentle mare who will transport Archie and Arnfeld to and from school, he has no idea the impact the horse will have on his farm. Bird follows the children as they do their chores and insists on being allowed into the barn. Bird opens latches and asserts herself until Papa decides she must be sold. Just before the auction, Bird again has her way. This time she shows the family just how she can contribute to the farm. Old Bird is a truly lovely story, beautifully illustrated, that reminds us old does not mean incompetent or worthless.

32 pages, ages 5 and up

Old Bird at

Old Bird at

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.

Cheer for Gunner by Judy Andrekson

Posted on November 25th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts writes about middle grade fiction: Gunner by Judy Andrekson
Gunner Hurricane Horse written by Judy Andrekson
Middle grade fiction published by Tundra Books

I approached Gunner Hurricane Horse with some trepidation as I’m not particularly interested in the lives of horses and, while I like animals, I don’t consider myself to be an ‘animal lover.’ In fact, Gunner Hurricane Horse is a compelling true story that will appeal to young readers on many levels. Gunner was a very young and unkempt American Paint Horse when he arrived on Heather Lott-Goodwin’s ranch. He challenged his trainers and was constantly getting into trouble of one sort or another.

As Gunner learns, grows and matures, we come to know his personality and those of the people who helped to shape him into a World Champion. We care about Heather Lott-Goodwin, her husband and her young son. When Hurricane Katrina passes directly over their ranch, we learn about the challenges faced by Heather as an emergency room nurse, the difficulty in coping for those who remained at the ranch as well as the incredible damage inflicted by the storm.

Highly recommended as a read-aloud or for independent readers aged seven and up.

Gunner: Hurricane Horse at

Gunner: Hurricane Horse at

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