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Pam Muñoz Ryan

Pam Muñoz Ryan has written over 25 books, several of which have won awards. She was born and grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, California. She became hooked on books after she spent many hot summers in the local library, which was air-conditioned. After college she became a teacher, and then started to write. Riding Freedom won the Willa Cather Award, and the California Young Reader Medal. Paint the Wind was a finalist for the Willa Award in 2008.


Ryan had only ridden a few times when the idea for Paint the Wind came to her. Since then she has had hundreds of lessons, and has “developed an impassioned respect and affection for equus caballus, the horse.” When she isn’t writing, she likes to “to read, travel, go to movies (I love movies and theatre), get together with my family and ride horses.”


Finding the books: both are still in print and readily available in both the USA and UK.


Links and sources

Pam Muñoz Ryan’s website

An interview


Paint the Wind

Scholastic, New York, 2007, 327 pp

Issued as an Audio Book.


Maya is a captive in her grandmother’s California house. She is not allowed to play or have friends;
and everything she says and does is monitored. She has created her own imaginary world, in
Wyoming, where a tobiano paint horse called Artemesia roams free with her foal and a band of
wild horses.  

Bibliography - horse books only

Riding Freedom

Scholastic, New York, 1992, 138 pp, illus Brian Selznick


This is the fictionalised biography of Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst, the first woman to vote in
California. An orphan, the staff at the orphanage prevented her from being adopted, leaving her
to work with the horses. It was through horses that she was able to escape after her friend was
adopted, and disguised, she pursues her dream of driving a stagecoach.