Saige, and Saige Paints the Sky, the story of Saige Copeland, an Albuquerque fourth-grader who loves art and horses, and finds out she has to fight for both. In Book One, Saige trains her grandmother's horse Picasso to do tricks--including painting!--as part of an arts fundraiser. In Book Two, she organizes a school protest. Saige also deals with a changing friendship, and an accident that changes life for her beloved artist grandmother, Mimi.
On the first day of school, Saige discovers her school won't have art classes this year--AND her best friend Tessa seems to have a new best friend. Luckily Saige has Mimi, her artist grandmother. Helping get ready for an art fundraiser, and getting to know Gabi, the new girl on the block, help take Saige's mind off her problems, but then something much worse happens. Mimi has an accident, and Saige has to take over getting her horse, Picasso, ready for the fundraiser.
Saige misses the daily painting sessions with her grandmother Mimi, who's still recovering from her accident. Trying to reconnect, she discovers an unused art room in the rehab facility, and helps start weekly art classes there. But there is still no art in school, and even worse, it looks like Mimi needs to sell Georgia, Saige's favorite horse. Saige spends as much time as she can with Georgia, and out on a ride one day she dreams up a way to get the school to start moving on the after school classes--if she has the nerve to carry it through! The story ends with Saige's birthday, during the annual International Balloon Fiesta, and with the absolute perfect birthday present.
Saige Paints the Sky is the first time I've ever seen a book of mine--in this case, two books--turned into a movie. It's beautiful--and I love that I've gotten to drive by Saige's movie house. The actress who plays Saige is excellent. My only quibble with the movie is that they made Saige and Mimi pretty wimpy. In the books, both of them face troubles and get discouraged at times, but they never give up or collapse into a puddle. Movies are different, I know, but all I can say is, after you've seen the movie, read the books!
CHICO'S CHALLENGE, THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE
A Quarter Horse who's afraid of cows? How can Chico ever become a cutting horse? His new girl Sierra has lots of patience, and Chico has plenty of courage and cow sense, but when he shifts from fearing cows to gleefully chasing them, Sierra's father says he has to go. A night-time coyote attack on the young calves changes everything.
A Junior Library Guild Premier Selection
Kliatt (starred review)says, "(Haas) really outdoes herself with this one. Scary and challenging...This is fine historical fiction, with suspense on every page and a courageous young man who is quite a hero.
ALA Booklist says, "Haas writes gracefully and evocatively of boy, horse, and desperate men...a thrilling tale with many opportunities for discussion.
SLJ says, "...the story moves at the same fast pace as the horse and unknown rider...Dialogue and characterization are tops here."
Kirkus says, "...the action and nuanced writing carry the reader pell-mell to a wholly believable end. Haas's best yet for older readers."
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List (Vermont)
New Mexico Land of Enchantment Award Master List
Georgia Children's Book Award Master List