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Paint the Wind

Book review by
Ellen Dendy, Common Sense Media
Paint the Wind Book Poster Image
Horse tale shines with rich plot and characters.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Kids lie, break the rules, and pull pranks -- sometimes with dire consequences -- but eventually grow through the lessons they learn. A bitter grandmother demonstrates poor parenting skills and judgment, but the other adult characters provide their young relations with unconditional love ... and tough love when appropriate.

Violence & Scariness

A mountain lion kills a colt, not described.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book has some intense scenes that may upset younger or more sensitive kids, but none are graphic, many are kept to very brief descriptions, and, for the most part, everything turns out all right in the end. Most of the story takes place in Wyoming, so the harsh realities of the wilderness are prevalent. There's also a relatively descriptive account of a horse giving birth that could raise questions.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byAnthonyK July 31, 2009

attention catcher

This is a beautifully written story that will capture your attention and your heart. The author's style allows you to feel the relationships between all ch... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 year old Written byThe Benevolent ... April 9, 2008
Kid, 11 years old December 1, 2011

This is a wonderful book with a great message!!

I have just started the book and already I love it!! I think it is suitable for kids ages 8+. I also think it has a good message that you can trust animals and... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 30, 2011

You Should Read "Paint the Wind".

I loved the book, Paint the Wind, if I could set an age range for this book I would say it is suitable for people age 9 and up. This book is funny, but it is al... Continue reading

What's the story?

Life hasn't been easy for 11-year-old Maya -- orphaned at 5, she lives in a tawny California mansion with her overbearing grandmother who detested Maya's horse-loving mother. But a tragic event changes everything. Maya is whisked off to Wyoming to live with her mother's relatives, whom she's never met and, due to her grandmother's lies, she actually fears.


Maya struggles to adapt to her new family and living in a rustic camp, but her love of horses -- the strongest connection she has with her mother -- makes living in a teepee and dealing with her bratty cousin a little easier. Maya learns to ride and slowly comes out of her shell, embarking on a journey of self-discovery that leads her to a beautiful, wild horse named Artemisia. With Artemisia by her side, Maya will face the unfathomable.

Is it any good?

Award-winning author Pam Muñoz Ryan paints vivid images of wild horses and western landscapes in this tale about a young girl who must adapt to a brand-new life. It's hard to imagine any horse-loving child disliking this satisfyingly complete story, and the rich plot and character development are likely to captivate young readers who aren't horse-obsessed, too.

The main character's story is interspersed with segments written from the perspective of the wild horse, Artemisia, and Ryan's thorough research on the region and wild horses is evident. Ryan is a masterful writer who deftly handles dialogue, detailed descriptions, action scenes, and plot and character development, and she's achieved another winner in PAINT THE WIND.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Maya changed once she left her grandmother's home and moved to Wyoming. How did Maya's new family, and the rough conditions of the horse camp, help her grow as a person? How did her relationship with Artemisia help her feel closer to her mother? What do you think the future holds for Maya?

Book details

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