For those of us who don’t live that cowboy life on a regular basis, rodeo weekend is our time to don our boots and hats and do all things country-western.Kids love this time of year, and if they attend school in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, there’s probably a rodeo royalty visit in their future. There’s something for everyone in this list: history, facts, poetry, art, and laughter. Get ready for the rodeo with these great reads for elementary-aged children:
“The Toughest Cowboy” by John Frank
Grizz Brickbottom is one of the West’s toughest cowboys but he wants a friend with whom to enjoy life. When he finds a companion in a miniature poodle, cowboy life looks a little different than what these cowpokes are used to. John Frank uses hilarious language and clever puns to get kids laughing in this silly cowboy tale. Illustrations from Zachary Pullen are incredible and will keep all readers interested.
“Cowboys and Cowgirls: Yippee-Yay!” by Gail Gibbons
Gail Gibbons feeds kids’ interest for cowboy life with this informational picture book. Describing life in the Wild West, Gibbons illustrates with both pictures and words what life looked like, from cattle drives to cowboy attire. This is a great introduction to all things cowboy.
“Black Cowboy, Wild Horses” by Julius Lester
This book, written by Julius Lester, tells the story of real-life cowboy Bob Lemmons, a former slave who has a knack for blending in with the horses and becoming one himself. Bob and his horse Warrior track a herd of wild horses and join them, eventually taking the herd over. The watercolor illustrations by Jerry Pinkney make this a must-read for anyone.
“The Cowgirl Way” by Holly George-Warren
Holly George-Warren reminds us that rodeos, horses, and the Wild West aren’t just for boys. In this informational book, readers are introduced to many types of cowgirls, from rodeo stars to outlaws and rebels. Filled with exciting facts and fun photos, history is far from boring with this book.
“Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo” by Nancy Bo Flood
Nancy Bo Flood pairs poetry with a more traditional writing style to teach readers about the culture of Navajo Rodeo. Each two-page layout explains a different aspect of the rodeo with facts and photos. This is a great way to introduce children to different cultures within our own country.
“Twas the Night Before Roundup” by Nancy Garhan Attebury
This is a fun read-aloud as it takes the well-known Christmas poem “ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and changes the words to tell the story about the Pendleton Roundup. Kids will love reading horse names like Bullet and Bandit take the place of Santa’s reindeer and the fact that it’s about something close to home is a bonus. After the story, Attebury teaches readers about rodeo lingo, rodeo events and gives a Roundup timeline.