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Riding Freedom [Paperback]

Pam Munoz Ryan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 21 2002 Scholastic Signature
Extensively researched, this fast-paced historical novel about Charlotte (Charley) Parkhurst combines all the known facts of a daring woman's colorful life in the Wild West with Pam Munoz Ryan's own spirited imaginings Ages 8-12. Pub: 2/98. .
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

PW's starred review called this fictionalized biography of equestrian Charlotte "Charley" ParkhurstAwho lived her life disguised as a man and was the first woman voter in the U.S.Aan "ebullient and tautly structured novel that moves along at a gallop." Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6?This fictionalized biography of the first woman to vote in the state of California, and perhaps in the whole United States, is fascinating. Charlotte Parkhurst, known as Charley, spent most of her life masquerading as a man. Raised in an orphanage where she is the only girl, she is prevented from being adopted by the staff, who put her to work in the kitchen. Her own predilection is to be with the horses and the elderly man who cares for them. Vern's tales of escaping slavery are the seeds of Charlotte's own desperate bid for freedom after her only other friend is adopted. Her knack with horses soon enables the disguised Charley to pursue her dream of driving a stagecoach. She does it so well that she is admired and sought after, and is offered the opportunity to earn a livelihood in the California gold fields. Many trials arise, including the loss of sight in her left eye, but throughout, Charlotte remembers her friends, works hard and persistently, and fulfills her ambitions, culminating in her voting in a presidential election. The author provides a compact and exciting story about real people who exemplify traits that readers admire. A concluding note tells more about the historical facts surrounding Parkhurst's life, but kids will read it just for the adventure. The full-page, black-and-white pencil drawings are well rendered and enhance the straightforward text.?Carol A. Edwards, Minneapolis Public Library
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
AFTER TEN YEARS AT THE ORPHANAGE, Charlotte wasn't like most girls her age. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Biographical Story Aug. 13 2009
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 9yo as part of our history curriculum.

Comments: This is a fictionalized biography of the life of Charley Parkhurst , a renowned stagecoach driver who eventually settled in California to run a way station. Charley's greatest claim to fame however is that he is probably one of the first women to vote in the US and certainly, if not the first, then close to the first woman to vote in California in 1868 a full 52 years prior to any woman being allowed to vote in United States. If you haven't guessed already Charley was really Charlotte, a woman, this book tells her story and of how an orphaned infant became a respected man about town and stagecoach driver whose secret was never found out by the public until after death.

This was a joy to read. Not only was the subject matter utterly fascinating but the story is told in a well-written, exciting novel. Biographies aren't usually the place to find so much action, but Charley's story supplies a plot with plenty of it and she wasn't called "One-Eyed Charley" for nothing. She is a fully realized character that the reader cares for. Being a book for children, much time is spent on her childhood years in the orphanage and what drove her to do the things she later did in life. The dialogue is spot on with the ambiance of the setting and since I was reading aloud I couldn't help but speak the parts with a cowboy drawl.

The 9yo hung on to every word of this story. This book will appeal equally to boys and girls. Charlotte is no girly-girl and is tougher than nails. The 9yo was concerned for her future though as the book ends in the middle of her life and he hoped that she got to be a lady again some day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Honsetly an Awsome Book May 24 2004
When I was in 4th grade I hade to write a book report on any book i wanted. I chose this book because the book cover really caught my attention. I like this story because of how the author inputted a real character in history in the book, Six-Horse Charlie. It's like a peice of history. The main character shows that she isn't afraid to be brave and adventourous. The really cool thing I like about the book is that Charlotte changed her name to Charlie so when she voted no one knew that she really was a she. It turns out that she was the first woman to vote before any other woman. Riding Freedom is one of the most fasinating book I have ever read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Breath taking adventure story based on true events April 11 2004
In the 1880's Charlotte "Charley" Darkey Parhurst took a lifetime adventure. Raised in an orphanage of all boys, Charlotte had a hard life working in the kitchen and was stuffed in the potato bin in the kitchen so she wouldn't be adopted. Life is bearable but once her best friend is adopted and she's left alone, she decides to do something about it. Charlotte loves horses and runs away and becomes a stable boy. While working there, her boss, Mr. Ebeneezer, teachers her how to be a coachman. To make her living and have a successful life she poses as a man and becomes a stage coach driver. Traveling from Massachutes to California, posing as "Charley" allows her to attain her dream of owning her own land. She is even the first woman to vote in the 1868 California presidential election, even though she is poseing as a man. This is a fictionalized biography with excellent drawings by Brian Selznick. Students who love horses will not be able to put this book down, as well as those who love adventure. This is a breath taking adventure story based on true events that readers grades 4 and up can appreciate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ATTENTION ALL HORSE LOVERS!!!! Jan. 29 2004
By A Customer
Riding Freedom

Riding Freedom is about a girl named Charlotte that is a orphan that is at a boy orphanage.
But that doesn't bother her a bit! A really exciting part is when Charlotte runs away from the orphanage!
Someone who likes exciting horse books would really enjoy this book . I would definitely give this book 5 stars!
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5.0 out of 5 stars the best book Nov. 30 2003
By A Customer
i love this book you should to read it dont just look at the pictures i does not tell you anything just read you will see what fun it is
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5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating and intriguing book Nov. 8 2003
After my 9-year old checked this book out of her school library and finished it within one week because, in her words, "I couldn't put it down" and "It's the best book I've every read", she wanted me to read it for myself. I finished it within three hours because I too couldn't put it down. The author pulled me completely into Charlotte's world and I felt her joy, sorrow and anger. As a woman, I learned of a great historical figure and hope my daughter will feel empowered to make a mark on her world as Charlotte did!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Riding Freedom is a GREAT book Sept. 16 2003
By A Customer
Riding Freedom Scholastic Press, 1998, 138pp., $4.99 Pam Munoz Ryan ISBN # 0439087961
What happens to a girl do when she is living in a place where there are only boys? She gets teased.
"In the mid-eighteen hundreds, when the East was young and the West was yet to be settled, a baby was born, named Charlotte. When she was nothing more than a bundle, she surprised her parents and puzzled the doctor by surviving several fevers. Folks said that any other baby would have died, but Charlotte was already strong. She walked before most babies crawled. She talked before most babies babbled, and she never cried. Unless someone took something away from her."
Riding Freedom is a fictional biography about a girl, Charlotte Parkhurst, who was an orphan. She was taken to a boys orphanage because there were no girls orphanages back then. She had to do many chores because she was the only girl there, apart from the cook. She always got back at the boys for teasing her though because every Saturday there would be a horse race at the orphanage and no matter what, Charlotte won the race. Charlotte loved horses. Her favorite horse at the orphanage was called Freedom. Charlotte liked her life at the orphanage until something bad happened to Freedom. The story goes on to describe Charlotte's life at the orphanage and then as she grows up.
The book is full of exciting and unexpected events that keeps the reader wanting to keep on reading. You admire Charlotte for never giving up even when things get tough. Anyone who likes adventure stories and likes horses will enjoy reading this book.
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