Storm Horse by Jane Elson

Life Changing

Storm Horse by Jane Elson is the most charming and powerful contemporary children’s novel. It is perfect for ages ten years and over. I am considerably older and I loved it.

The book surrounds the topic of dyslexia. I knew that people with dyslexia struggled with letters jumping around – but there is so much more to dyslexia than that. It is a daily struggle for many. I now feel that I have more understanding of dyslexia and of the daily difficulties.

I completely ‘lived’ the book as I ‘became’ eleven year old Daniel. The novel is narrated by him and in the first person. I ‘felt’ his highs and lows. My heart broke for him at times, and I applauded his bravery, grit and determination.

We also hear the story of the 1930’s race horse Seabisuit, in the form of letters written by Daniel’s Great Great Grandfather. Seabiscuit also overcame difficulties. He triumphed in adversity and became champion of the people, giving them hope during the 1930’s Depression in America. We learn of the terrible poverty, hunger and living conditions of a generation.

In present day the children in the novel also face poverty and difficulties. Seabiscuit also gives them hope as they learn his story.

We witness the healing power of animals. Since the departure of reading dog Wilbur, the members of silver reading group have struggled. “Reading is not pleasure, it’s torture… Wilbur never judged me when the words jumbled up.” Until now, I had not appreciated just how hard reading could be for some.

School is not an easy place. There are bullies to face, corridors to negotiate and staff to please. The P.E. teacher is particularly harsh to Daniel but the T.A. shows him care and attention. Offering help and encouragement. “Dyslexics have a gift. A different way of doing things and looking at the world… Dyslexics are extraordinary people.”

A chance encounter with a white horse, changes Daniel’s life. School is still hard but now he has hope and a purpose. Daniel also has a kind heart that chooses team members wisely when asked to do so. He has empathy with the struggles of others and wants to spread hope.

Storm Horse is a very emotional book especially when Daniel finally feels that he has friends. The camaraderie, love and care of the young group is incredibly moving and heartwarming.

Storm Horse is a book that everyone should read. It should be part of the English National Curriculum if it is not already. This is a book that should be in every year seven and eight classroom. It should be read as a class to highlight to all children the struggles that some face.

Thank you Jane Elson for writing such a powerful book.

I will leave you with my favourite very powerful quote:

“It’s easy to keep doing the things you are good at. It takes courage to do the things that you find hard.”


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