Paint the Wind Book Poster Image

Paint the Wind



Horse tale shines with rich plot and characters.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

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.

Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Pam Munoz Ryan
Genre:Literary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:September 1, 2007
Number of pages:327
Publisher's recommended age(s):7 - 11

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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 things because they can protect you in the tough times cause they know how even when we don't. I love this book and I am not even half finished!! Would so reccomend it!! You can't miss it!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
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 also sad, for example it was really sad when the colt got killed by the mountain lion. It’s probably best to skip that part if you are reading it with a younger child; it wouldn't make much of a difference. This book is absolutely perfect for kids who love horses. This book is very detailed; when I read it I thought I was watching a movie. It was AWESOME!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byUseursense August 15, 2013


Maya is a free spirit! Like most girls, she was afraid and tried to get out of things. In the end u can see she has changed greatly! I am very sensitive to anything with lots of gore. Maya gets hurt and sees a colt that was killed by a mountain lion, but that's it! Maya's grandma was a bad influence on her, and it rubbed onto maya, but she gets over it.


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