Kids invited to read and get creative

Kids ages eight to 15 are invited to enter several contests as part of the Okanagan Regional Library’s Okanagan Reads for Kids Book Club. - Katherine Mortimer/Morning Star
Kids ages eight to 15 are invited to enter several contests as part of the Okanagan Regional Library’s Okanagan Reads for Kids Book Club.
— image credit: Katherine Mortimer/Morning Star

Horses are the focus for this year’s Okanagan Reads Book Club, and young readers are invited to get involved in a number of ways.

This year, Armstrong author Julie White has been selected, along with her four horse-focused books in a series.

“Every year we highlight a book or series and this year it’s Julie White, so we’re doing a big horse theme,” said Stephanie Vollick, youth services librarian at the Vernon branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. “This is an ORL-wide thing, and we always do something with an author who lives in the area.”

This year, the focus is on kids aged eight to 15, and it’s one Okanagan, one author: enjoy any one of Julie White’s four books about horses, friendship and adventure.

“Take part in some of the great activities in your local library branches, and win some great prizes, including iPad Minis as well as family packs at Caravan Farm Theatre and the Armstrong IPE, when you enter our bookmark, story-telling and book trailer contests,” said Michele Rule, communications manager for the ORL.

White has written four books in a series. Her first book, The Secret Pony, has won the Our Choice Award and was nominated for the Chocolate Lily Award. In addition to writing, White is also a Pony Club examiner, riding instructor and course designer. She lives on a horse farm in Armstrong with her husband, Robert, a former jockey, where they raise thoroughbreds for racing and jumping.

The Secret Pony: When Kristy finds out that her neighbour’s pony, Lancelot, whom she has been taking care of and riding, is going to be sold, she secretly buys him. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get the chance to tell her busy mother and has to hide him at a friend’s stable. After the secret is discovered, and Lancelot shows an act of bravery, Kristy finds the support she needs coming from a most unexpected source.

The books

High Fences: In order to stop their farm from going into foreclosure, Faye allows her grandmother to sell her fantastic pony, Robin. The new owner, Nicole, a spoiled rich girl, learns the “secret” of how to handle him from Faye. In the end, Faye helps Nicole and Robin in a very important competition and all three share a secret together!

Riding Through Fire: 12-year-old Kristy and her pony, Lancelot, are asked to help in their first cattle round-up, but she ends up being partnered with a 14-year-old boy, Jesse, who treats her badly. When Jesse and his horse get lost in a raging fire nearby, the amazing Lancelot saves all of their lives.

Under The Wire: Reid, a 16 year-old boy, holds down the fort when his jockey mother ends up in the hospital after a serious fall during a race. However, when she recovers she announces that she is getting out of the jockey business and wants Reid out, too. But Reid wants a future as a jockey and will try to prove to everyone that he’s got what it takes to get in first under the wire.

“As librarians, we know the difference that reading makes in children’s lives — helping improve their school marks, teaching them empathy, preparing them for a successful future — all while having fun,” said Rule. “We hope you will encourage your children to participate in Okanagan Reads for Kids.”

There are several ways to get involved. The Bookmark Design Contest invites kids to read one or more of White’s books and then draw your favourite scene. Your art work could end up on an ORL bookmark.

For the Short Story Contest, write your favourite horse story in under 1,000 words and it could be published on the ORL blog.

For the Book Trailer Contest, read one of White’s books and then create a video “book trailer” based on the book. Winners will be posted on the ORL YouTube channel.

Deadline for submission is March 14. See for full details.


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