Riding Chance began as a bolt of aural inspiration for debut novelist Christine Kendall — in 2011, she heard a National Public Radio feature on Philadelphia’s “Work to Ride” program. Unable to get the idea of urban kids learning horsemanship in exchange for working in the city park stables, Christine began exhaustively researching and visiting the program. That story spark blossomed into her vivid, gripping debut middle-grade novel, Riding Chance.
Why we like it: Moving premise – Inner-city teen distressed by his mother’s death makes some wrong choices and learns to change by discovering a love of horses. It’s a good edition to diverse kidlit in that it presents an interesting twist on urban lit by focusing on polo. The book is slow at times, but it does address family, racism, anger, and other realities, which makes it worth reading.