Ages 8 - 12
Ali's parents force her to help care for an Appaloosa suffering from severe neglect and malnutrition. At first she's reluctant, having already lost her beloved pony in a traumatic accident, but working with Wind Dancer does distract her from life at home, where everyone is walking on eggshells trying to deal with her brother, recently returned from Iraq with a missing leg and PTSD.
"A sweet ending points to a more hopeful future. " - Kirkus Reviews
Wind Dancer is not just another "horse story," and I think the title and picture of a horse on the cover might dissuade many non-horse lovers from reading this touching, well-written story. Ali's resistance to caring for two neglected horses in need of rehabilitation stems from having lost her own beloved horse in a tragic accident. But she takes them on and does her best to help them. But the horses are not the only one in need of care and rehabilitation. Her brother, Danny, suffers from PTSD after fighting in the war in Afghanistan. Both Ali's love for him and the presence of the horses help set Danny on the path toward healing.
This story is timely and poignant, and would be perfect to share with any child experiencing loss or trauma. It is full of hope and reconciliation. I thoroughly enjoyed Wind Dancer and am certain anyone who reads it will too.