Wild Girl



Horse tale with more depth and a strong girl lead.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers will learn about horse racing and Brazilian culture.

Positive messages

Themes of courage, resilency, family bonds, and kindness to animals.

Positive role models

Not really a wild or difficult girl by any standard, the main character, Livie, shows courage and resiliency when she travels alone. Although she runs away from the school the first day, she asks for help. Livie's respectful efforts to communicate with her somewhat distant father are reciprocated and rewarded; her patience and empathy for people and animals show results.The adult characters are overwhelmingly positive role models.


A horse falls during a race; a young horse is taken away from its mother when it is sold. A mention that Livie's mother died when she was 7 years old.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that a few sad moments won’t ruin this book for girls who love horse stories. Livie's mother died when she was 7; a horse falls during a race; a young horse is taken away from its mother when it is sold. Moments of growth become moments of grace; when Livie runs away from school her first day, she knows how to best ask for help, and a scary situation resolves reassuringly without encouraging similar behavior.

Parents say

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What's the story?

A young Brazilian girl immigrates to join her father and brother in America after five years apart. She has much to learn about her family and life in a new country, and everyone must adjust to the fact that she is no longer 7 years old. A young filly undergoing similar changes and an old mare who needs love both ease Livie’s transition, so do exceptionally loving and supportive adults.

Is it any good?


This is a strong, sweet story about an immigrant family building a new life, but keeping strong ties to their life in Brazil. It features a great main character who is brave and empathetic, unusual details about the world of horse racing and training, and positive role models both young and old. Some sad but realistic events keep the story from being predictable and saccharine.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it might be like to move here from another country.

  • If you moved away from here, what would you miss most, and what would you take with you?

  • What was the bravest thing that Livie did?

  • How would you and your classmates react if a new student had the same accident that Livie did?

Book details

Author:Patricia Reilly Giff
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Wendy Lamb
Publication date:August 11, 2009
Number of pages:147
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:8
Read alone:9

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old December 28, 2010

love it

i love it
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byfastpitcher77 August 4, 2011


I absolutely love this book. It is just so wonderful. The whole story starts off right from the begining, unlike other books I have read that start off really slow. If you like/love horses you should think about reading this book.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old May 14, 2012


i think this book just didn't make any sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value


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