I was lucky to read and Advanced Copy of PAINT THE WIND by Pam Munoz Ryan. Ryan is one of my favorite authors and ESPERANZA RISING is one of my all-time favorite books. So, I was thrilled to read this new one.
This is the story of Maya, who has lost her parents, and now her grandmother. She goes to live with her mother's family and spends the summer at Sweetwater River learning about her mother, horses and herself.
Maya, as are all of Ryan's characters, is a strong female character. She has had lots of hard things happen in life but somehow finds a way to stay true to who she is.
This is a horse story, so it will appeal to lots of readers who love horses. Maya develops a relationship with a horse named Artemesia as she learns about horses and her mother from her Aunt Vi. Pam Munoz Ryan has included a glossary of "horse terms" as well as a note on the back of her book sharing some of her own experiences with horses.
But this book will also appeal to readers who aren't necessarily looking for a good horse story. It is a story of family, grief and of growing up. Pam Munoz Ryan continues to give us great female characters--girls who are strong, who are connected to their history and their family, and who find their own identity in rough times. I always read for character--plot is secondary to me as a reader-and Maya will stay with me for a very, very long time.
On an aside, this is a fat book with big print/spacing. So, it isn't as long as it appears. It should be perfect for middle elementary students. It seems perfect for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. I am anxious to share it with mine once school starts in the fall. It is due out in September.