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Joni, growing up on her father's sheep farm, meets Chess, a vegan animal-rights activist. Chess doesn't believe in keeping 'captive animals,' not even Joni's horse, and the adorable barn kittens. An uneasy friendship explodes when Chess 'rescues' two miniature horses, endangering their lives. Joni has to act before it's too late.

Joni and Chess argue through issues of animal rights and farming, challenging and changing each other's points of view. A good mother-daughter book club book. 


A Junior Library Guild selection

"Joni . . . loves the quiet and calm of her family's sheep farm; she loves riding her pony, Archie, after school. But her best school friends don't live nearby, so when a new girl, Chess . . . moves (in) . . . she's intrigued by the possibility of a new friend. Chess loves Joni's horse, kittens, and sheep, but she asks uncomfortable questions: don't the sheep mind being shorn? Milked? Eaten? Joni doesn't know how to answer, but she does challenge Chess's interpretation of her neighbor's treatment of her miniature horses--Chess is certain their muzzles, which restrict them from overgrazing, are cruel, while Joni knows they keep the animals safe on lush pasture. When Chess steals the minis and sets them free to eat, the near disaster challenges their budding friendship . . . Joni's first-person voice is fresh and true. As always, Haas knows her horses, and she explores the issue of animal rights with sensitivity to both sides. A satisfying read."
Kirkus, Feb. 1, 2018

"I just loved this book! I'm not a horse person usually, but the ethical dilemma of animal rights versus the reality of farming life is so perfectly portrayed here. Readers will be fascinated by the implications of Chess's ignorance and the danger of misinformation. Both girls grow and change by the end of the book, and the conflict resolves in a very realistic way. This is a must-buy for all elementary and middle-school libraries; so many kids will find this interesting and engaging."

Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth Ma, for Youth Services Book Reviews

"I could see this book being used as a great classroom or book club discussion book. It is thought-provoking; young and old could garnet great debate and stimulating discussion from group reading. Overall a great read for those needing a little bit of a mental workout once the pages have been turned."

Compass Book Ratings

Mounting Block to Reading:

Help beginners onto that tall horse called Reading

Fall is here. Geese are honking, acorns are dropping, and Bramble is having fun pretending to be afraid. Soon Maggie is really afraid. Why DO they call it Fall?
Then comes Halloween, with scary costumes and the neighborhood transformed. Will it be Trick, or Treat, for Bramble and Maggie?

Spooky Season is now a Candlewick Sparks paperback!


A Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies

Revolutionary Westminster, & Westminster, Vt., Township Number One

History for children and adults, including Fire!, and the Westminster town histories

Hoofprints; Horse Poems

Horses from prehistory to today, our ecstatic and tangled relationship with them, and their powerful effect on history, explored in many kinds of poems.

A world history told in poems about horses, from their beginnings as small spotted forest creatures, through the Ice Age, the first encounters with man, the wars, invasions, races, and intimate moments of our tangled lives together.

A VOYA Poetry Pick

The electronic edition, from Open Road Integrated Media

In poems of all kinds, from very light to very serious, HOOFPRINTS explores the story of horses, from their beginnings as small spotted forest creatures, through the harsh Ice Age, the first encounters with early man, the first riders, the great invasions from central Asia, and the cultures that have grown up around this most romantic and practical of animals.

a VOYA Poetry Pick

A favorite, back in print

Beware has been a first chapter book for many readers. I'm delighted to bring it back, with a great cover and illustrations by my sister, Martha Haas.

Back In Print!

A boy, an elderly logger, and a draft horse named Nip find ways around their problems in rural Vermont. A Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee.

Other Novels

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.

hardcover and paperback

Horse Crazy!

Pure fun for horse lovers; horse crafts, horse lore, book and movie reviews, horse history, horse sports, horse breeds, and lots of ways for the (temporarily) horseless to use their horse models--well, models!--as they learn to draw, paint and photograph their favorite animal.

My Stable

These books are no longer in print. Many are available directly from me, from used book stores, or in your library.

(easy chapter book)
Jigsaw is an old pony who's trained many girls. But his latest has moved away and Jig is neglected, until he's noticed by a kind mail man with twin daughters. Is he a black pony with white spots? A white pony with black spots? And why won't he do everything Fran and Kiera ask? This chapter book for second grade readers was a Gryphon Award Honor Book, a prize given for books for readers transitioning into reading on their own. Third in the series that begins with RUNAWAY RADISH.
Kirkus Editor's Choice " of the masters at the top of her game."
New York Public Library 100 Books to Read and Share
Gryphon Award Honor Book
Parents' Choice Recommended
Beverley Cleary Award Nominee

(easy chapter book)
Grandma Aggie always meant Popcorn to be Jane's pony, but Jane lives far away and Popcorn is a handful. So Grandma Aggie sells him--and then Jane comes to live nearby. When Grandma Aggie gets him back--just in time for Jane's birthday--he's still a handful. It some lessons from Tish and Radish (RUNAWAY RADISH) to teach Jane and Popcorn how to make each other happy.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Beverley Cleary Award nominee
Maryland Blue Crab Award Honor Book (Transitional Fiction)
South Dakota Prairie Bud Award nominee

(picture book)
Molly and Anna have the perfect costume for the July 4th horse show costume class--but it depends on Scamper staying sparkling white, and both Scamper and nature are conspiring against them. When the skies open up on their patriotic crepe-paper costume, Molly and Anna learn to keep their chins up, and reap a big reward. "You smile at the good things, and you smile at the bad," Mom says, and readers will smile too. Back matter tells more about horse shows.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A Maryland Blue Crab Award nominee

Orphaned Harriet must go live with her stern aunt Sarah on a hill-farm in Vermont. How is she going to get to school, when Aunt Sarah doesn't believe school is necessary for girls? Can she train the excitable colt that is her only legacy from her mother? A sad, but ultimately uplifting story.

"A beautifully written novel..." ALA Booklist
"A finely tempered, compelling novel...especially notable for its powerful articulation of moments of despair and, ultimately, transcendence." Cooperative Children's Book Center
"An emotionally rich and powerful tale of love, reconciliation, and healing." School Library Journal, starred review.
"Haas's exquisitely crafted prose is the driving force in this heartfelt story of family ties..." Publisher's Weekly, starred review.
"The powerful story of a resilient girl's moral awakening, UNBROKEN is set in 1910 in the Vermont towns and hill farms that Jessie Haas knows to her marrow, but it reverberates with universal meaning."
The New York Times Book Review

Parents' Choice Gold Award
Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
Publisher's Weekly Best Book
School Library Journal Best Book
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Masterlist
A White Raven Selection
CCBC Choice 2000