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Terri Farley
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Book Kids are Wild at Heart

Q&A with Terri Farley

Meghan Goel of  BOOK PEOPLE, an independent bookstore in Austin, Texas, interviewed Terri Farley about her new book Wild at Heart and the fired-up kids that inspired her.

Meghan Goel: Why did you write this book for kids now?
Terri Farley: I had to write Wild at Heart before it was too late. I’d been writing The Phantom Stallion fiction series since 2002 and young readers fell in love with the West’s wild horses. In my stories, I could write happy endings for mustangs, but if round-ups continue at the current hectic pace, my readers might never see mustangs running free. And oh, do they want to! Kids from all over the world write to me, vowing to come West just to see them.
Like most adults, kids don’t know that mustangs and the lands they roam actually belong to them — the American public. Wild horses captured by the government are not going from homes on the range to greener pastures. Often, they go to Mexican slaughter houses.

"... the story of our wild horses has a lot of dark shadows but kids aren’t yet afraid of the truth. Faced with facts that hurt, they want to know why...

 and they want to know how they can help. My book got its sub-title – Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them — because I want to empower kids – not crush their hopes.
Kids are relieved to learn the young people I interviewed for Wild at Heart are not perfect. Some of the featured young people were able to turn their own pain from abuse and bullying to empathy and action for the mustangs. Other kids in the book use their skills – singing, social media skills, and understanding of animals – to make a difference. No matter how much these kids may struggle in other aspects of their lives, when they stand up for wild horses, their courage is contagious.
wild at heart
Young people's courage is contagious

MG: What do you hope kids will take away from Wild at Heart?
TF: I hope I show them they’re worth having the author of a book come to talk with them. That may sound strange, but just today, in Austin, two little girls asked me why I was so dressed up. When I told them it was because I was coming to see them, they were giddy.

"In the best of all possible worlds, my words will help them to be stubbornly devoted to the natural world and each other."

Kids don’t live in the past, so I search for up-to- the-minute facts on everything to do with wild horses. The scientists I interview admit they’re generous with their time because they want to give young readers access to non- politicized facts.
 To read the complete Q&A and more about WILD HORSES  click  here

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Some Book Reviewers Just GET IT

Farley, Terri

Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them

Photographs by Melissa Farlow. 2015. 208pp. $19.99 hc. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 978-0-544-39294-6. Grades 4-12

This book tells of the plight of wild horses in America. Beginning with the history of prehistoric horses to the efforts to protect wild horses from being driven off public lands in the 1970s, Farley provides a look into the world of wild horses and their treatment. Farley explains how the government has passed laws to protect these horses and then systematically has broken its own laws or has twisted them to suit the needs of others. 
She then details the efforts of young people who are fighting to protect the wild horses.
Ranging in age from nine to 18, they demonstrate the leadership, passion, and determination it takes to fight for a cause.
 This book is a good example of creative nonfiction that blends historical and persuasive writing.
Richard Fanning, Library Media Specialist, Spring Forest Middle School, Houston, Texas [Editor’s Note: Available in e-book format.]
School Library Connection suite at

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Texas, Books & Friends!

Dear Readers,
In just 3 days I'll be in Houston, Texas at the Texas Library Association conference! It's the biggest library conference in the U.S. and the only place my presentation received a standing ovation. To be fair, I was talking about the real Phantom Stallion, so what did I expect?
This time I'll share the stage with my WILD AT HEART editor Julia Richardson (she read my first Phantom Stallion book & said -- "Hey, this could be a series.") and photojournalist Melissa Farlow.

CPE#306: SBEC 1.5; TSLAC 1.5
Back Bones, Not Wish Bones: Inspire Tweens and Teens to Stand Up for Issues
10:15 - 11:50 AM
Fiction and non-fiction can inspire youth to take on a cause. Provide the launch pad that vaults young people over barriers to fight for issues. Hear an example of advocating for a cause and receive hands-on experience with tools and resources to help lead teens toward action.
Terri Farley and Julia Richardson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers; and Melissa Farlow, Melissa Farlow Photography.

Melissa Farlow was charged by the real Phantom Stallion & turned it into art

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Still Studiously Ignorant of Modern Science: BLM on Wild Horses

Roundup photo by Melissa Farlow for WILD AT HEART: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them

Dear Readers,
Research for Wild at Heart took me into the issue of wild horse birth control. It's a rarely needed "solution" to a man-made problem that had to be explored.
Instead of accepting remote darting (like you've seen on wildlife TV specials), BLM and Oregon State University want to experiment with spaying, shown in this video.

In 2012, US District Judge Beryl Howell, ruling on BLM wild horse policy declared that BLM “may not simply remain studiously ignorant of material scientific evidence well known to the agency and brought directly to its attention in timely-filed comments”.  Sadly, she was wrong. 

Here is my letter to BLM, Oregon State University and Wild Horse Advisory Board members.

In a 2013 report, NAS recommended birth control darting for wild horse herds which demonstrated a need for management. The Humane Society of the United States concurred.
“Bureaucracy Interrupted,” HSUS’s analysis of BLM’s budget documents indicated, “…the more money Congress appropriates in response to the Bureau’s plans for reform, the more the program costs (and animals in long-term holding) increase instead of the other way around.”
Despite consensus from all credible agencies that it’s cheaper and more humane to manage wild horses on the range, BLM remains stubbornly opposed to modern management techniques.
Instead, the Bureau offered $10 million to anyone who found a new means of birth control, as they paid independent contractors to chase, trap and corral the West’s remaining wild horses.
Now, Oregon State University and BLM are fired-up to experiment on mustangs with spaying surgery. “Let’s see what happens” is a bad strategy when test subjects are alive and answers are at hand. At least 10% of spayed mares died at the Sheldon Refuge. Many others were released and not tracked. Another example? BLM facilities have a high mortality rate in gelded stallions (a procedure considered safe and routine for domestic horses). But these are wild animals. They are not unconscious and are traumatized. If they don’t go into shock and die, they often succumb to a lack of post-op care. 
This crosses the line from experimentation to molestation. Can you really believe sterilization will be different for wild mares? Can you ethically substitute hope for experience? 
Terri Farley

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Friday, April 01, 2016

Summertime and the Reading is Breezy

SCBWI Publishes First-Ever Summer Reading List
 By Bonnie Bader, SCBWI PAL Coordinator
Summer is a carefree time for kids, but not necessarily for educators, parents and caregivers.  They have to be wary of a very well documented phenomenon-the summer slide in reading achievement. Enter the summer reading list. Today, over 95% of libraries have summer reading programs to help prevent the summer reading slide. Research has shown that kids who enroll in library-run summer reading programs return to school not having lost any reading skills, and as more interested and engaged readers.
            Taking a cue from librarians, SCBWI is developing its first ever Summer Reading List. In order to be included, you need only be an SCBWI member and submit one PAL-published book. Our list will be organized into fifteen regions (the same regions as used for the Crystal Kites), and organized by grade level - K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 and genre.  Not only will the SCBWI Summer Reading List offer lots of choice, but the kids will be able to select books by local authors-all books will denote the author and/or illustrator's place of residence. The first SCBWI Summer Reading List will be available mid-May, both in hard copy and in downloadable form.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Sleepwalking into the Sea

"This is what it's like to be crazy..."

Gwen in "Seven Tears into the Sea" is a sleepwalking child when she encounters a selkie boy. But that's hard to believe. After all, she lives in a California beach town, not in a past when shapeshifters were more than Celtic mythology. Besides, the adults in her life fear the midnight meeting was something sinister. 
By the time Gwen's a teenager, she's not sure what happened to her -- or him.  

This is the only YA novel I've written, the only one missing a horse (thought there is a sea horse!) and it haunts me.
   When I wrote SEVEN TEARS, I was lucky enough to see two covers under consideration for my book.
I loved them both and I was always thankful that I didn't have to make the choice!
Take a look. Especially if you have read the book:  Which cover would be your choice?  
Happy Spring! 
Please make this time of new beginnings COUNT!

Read more about this book & selkies here

created by artist Leuyen Pham

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Wild Horse Annie : She Fought for Wild Horse & Children

Photograph by Melissa Farlow

In ranching jeans or white gloves and home sewn suits, Velma Johnston fought to save the West's wild horses and inspired American kids to do the same

“Crest Donner Pass, pass foothill towns and swoop downhill toward the neon-edged casinos of Reno. Just before the Virginia Street exit a white cross rises skyward on your right. It marks Hilltop Cemetery, but you can't just turn right and get there. You won't happen upon the grave of Velma Johnston, the woman who preferred the at-first derogatory nickname Wild Horse Annie, either. Call for directions, pick up a map at the office and you'll still spend time walking head down into the wind before you kick aside leaves and find her. There's nothing peaceful about the horses sculpted on Annie's gravestone, nothing to hint she held off wild horses' extinction for decades because she knew where to turn for help. "I can almost see the star and stripes waving in their eyeballs when I tell them that these horses belong to all the people of America..." Wild Horse Annie knew in the 1960's and '70's that America's young people's hearts beat in time with those of wild horses. They still do.”
by Terri Farley 2015 

 To read more about Wild Horse Annie, real Alan J. Kania's book 
    or mine

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