First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear announces Top Ten Derby Reading Picks

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, April 27, 2010  
Contact Information:  Elizabeth Roach

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In preparation for the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby, First Lady Jane Beshear today announced her Top 10 Derby Reading List as part of her Reading Recommendations initiative.

“Reading is as important to Kentucky’s heritage — and its future — as horseracing,” said Mrs. Beshear. “In the Derby tradition of handicapping, I decided to pick some literary winners. By racing toward greater reading comprehension, students will always be at the front of the field. Fostering a reading habit will help them become more engaged, educated individuals who will shape our Commonwealth as future leaders. I encourage students to check these books out at their local public libraries.”

2010 Derby Reading List

  1. B Is For Bluegrass: A Kentucky Alphabet, Mary Ann McCabe Riehle (Ages: 4-8)
    This book offers readers a beautifully illustrated A to Z guide of the history, traditions and landmarks of Kentucky.
  2. Perfect Timing: How Isaac Murphy Became one of the World's Greatest Jockeys, Patsi B. Trollinger (Ages: 9-12)
    As a biography of Isaac Murphy, whose record-breaking career led him to become an extremely successful jockey, this picture book also addresses larger historical issues of race relations and horse racing.
  3. Little Freddie at the Kentucky Derby, Kathryn Cocquyt (Ages: 9-12)
    Following the life of Little Freddie the horse from the foaling barn to his victory at the Kentucky Derby, this fictional tale demonstrates how dedication and hard work help accomplish goals and lead to victory.
  4. The Horse of Her Dreams (Thoroughbred Series #24), Joanna Campbell (Ages: 9-12)
    Part of Joanna Campbell’s Thoroughbred Series, this novel follows Christina Reese, a 12-year-old girl aspiring to become an event rider, as she learns about taking risks and following her dreams, with the help of a horse named Sterling Dream.
  5. A Horse Called Wonder (Thoroughbred Series #1), Joanna Campbell (Ages: 9-12)
    Could the care and devotion of one girl resuscitate a weak, newborn filly? Young readers can find out by reading about Ashleigh Griffen and her experiences as she adjusts to living on a new farm.
  6. A Horse Named Seabiscuit, Mark Dubowski (Ages: 9-12)
    As a children’s version of Seabiscuit’s inspirational story, which has been celebrated by race fans for generations, this book describes the thoroughbred’s transition from undersized colt to “Horse of the Year.”
  7. Man O’ War: Best Racehorse Ever, Jennifer Guess McKerley (Ages: 6-9)
    After visiting the Man O’ War Memorial at the Kentucky Horse Park, students can read this account of the most famous horse in racing. This book provides many fascinating details and anecdotes about Man O’ War.
  8. Skipingo Home, Jane Lyon and Karen Bailey (Ages 4-8)
    When Skipingo the horse experiences repeated failures on the racetrack, his prospects become uncertain. However, as this true story reveals, moving back to his old home and pursuing a new path enables him to become a champion of a different kind of competition.
  9. The Black Stallion, Walter Farley (Ages 9-12)
    This classic fictional novel, originally published in 1941, portrays a boy, Alec Ramsay, and his relationship with the Black Stallion. The tale is filled with adventure, excitement and a timeless friendship.
  10. National Velvet, Enid Bagnold (Ages 8-12)
    For decades, young readers have been captivated by the narrative of 14-year-old Velvet Brown and her determination to tame a horse and ride it in the prestigious Grand National steeplechase.