American Indians •  Children and Fiction

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Horse of Seven Moons

Karen Taschek

Struggling up the mountainside in a fierce storm, sixteen-year-old Bin-daa-dee-nin tries to survive. The Mescalero Apache has lived off the land in southwestern New Mexico, hunting and raiding since the death of Apache leader Victorio last October 1880.
Just before dawn, under a full moon, Bin-daa-dee-nin finds a black-and-white horse whose intelligence and beauty surpass that of any horse he's ever seen. Bin-daa-dee-nin trains the surefooted pinto to run fast on command so that he can use him to hunt and on raids. But when the army attacks, the horse disappears.
Fourteen-year-old Sarah Chilton has never felt at home on her family's ranch in New Mexico near Cooke's Peak. At least, not the way she did in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where she lived until just four months ago. Then on Valentine's Day, 1881, Sarah finds the horse of her dreams: a gorgeous pinto, wandering near the river under a bright moon. She names him Moon Dancer and teaches him to jump. Just as she's making wonderful progress with Moon Dancer's training, the Apaches raid the ranch, and Bin-daa-dee-nin has his horse back.
Through army battles, Apache raids, and perhaps Moon Dancer's own mysterious desires, the horse changes hands between Sarah and Bin-daa-dee-nin several times. As each puzzles over the training and tricks the other has taught the horse, the boy and girl learn that life requires adaptation and adjustments - and can sometimes bring great joy.

"I feel the Native American children would enjoy this book. . . . The historical aspects are consistent with the traditions of the Apache people." - Lillian Chavez, Mescalero Apache tribal librarian

Ages 12 and older


Karen Taschek is the author of fourteen young adult books on horses, including Horse of Seven Moons, the prequel to The Risen Horse. She is the author of Death Stars, Weird Galaxies, and a Quasar-Spangled Universe and Hanging with Bats, and is coeditor for the Barbara Guth Worlds of Wonder Science Series for Young Readers (University of New Mexico Press).


"Taschek presents the plight of the Apaches fighting to stay free in their home lands, and the anguish of the settlers struggling to protect ranches they have built. . . Both adults and young people will enjoy Horse of Seven Moons."


The Midwest Book Review

"This fast-read is informative fiction that doesn't read like a history book. Vivid description will have the story racing through your mind."


Oak Park Journal, IL

"This is an excellent, well-written novel. Taschek is well informed about the issues, the physical setting, and the lives of both the settlers and the Indians. She treats the two groups in a balanced way, helping readers see the situation through the eyes of one group then another."



"The choice detail of animal, landscape, and weather, combine with a galloping story and wonderful bonus of an epilogue to make for a delightful reading experience."


Historical Novels Review

" Horse of Seven Moons, engaging for its story as well as its subtext, is the first young adult book about the Mescalero Apaches and will be a gem for school libraries."


Southwest Bookviews

"Historically and geographically accurate, this story is told from the points of view of two realistic, likeable main characters. . Young readers who enjoy fiction about horses, pioneer days, or survival against nature will enjoy this engaging story, which could be useful as supplemental reading in history class."


VOYA- Voice of Youth Advocates

"...compelling and beautifully written."


New Mexico Woman

5.5 x 8 in. 194 pages 1 halftones, 1 maps