#WomenReadWomen2019 Award-Winning Books Genre Picture Books Reading Themes

On Courage and Compassion: “The Stone Lion” and “Running with the Horses”

Check out these beautiful picturebooks from Australia!

Fats here.

A few weeks ago, two picturebooks found their way into my hands. Both are award-winning titles from Australia and I’m grateful that we have them in our library system.


The Stone Lion

Written by Margaret Wild
Illustrated by Ritva Voutila
Published by Little Hare Books (2014)
ISBN: 9781742978185
Awards/Recognition: The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards 2015 Shortlist, The Picture Book of the Year 2015 Honours (CBCA)

Copy provided by Cleveland Public Library.
Book cover downloaded online. Book photos by me.


From the back cover: Sometimes statues are granted a chance to become warm, breathing creatures. The stone lion has only one dream — to run, pounce and leap in the park across from where he sits. But one snowy night, when a baby is abandoned at his paws, he is compelled to think differently.

Margaret Wild’s The Stone Lion tells the simple story of a lion who wished to be alive just so he could move. He longed to stroll along the street and run across the park. When a homeless girl and her baby brother got stranded in the park one snowy evening, the stone lion took pity on them. His ardent desire to help them caused his heart to beat. With very little time on his side, the lion dragged the siblings to the library where they could be safe and warm. This tender story of the kind and brave stone lion was beautifully illustrated using soft pastels.


About the Author Margaret Wild is one of Australia’s most highly respected picture-book creators whose award-winning children’s books are loved by children all over the world. Margaret has published over seventy picture books for young children and she has been the recipient of the Nan Chauncy Award and the Lady Cutler Award for her contributions to Australian children’s literature. Her books are published around the world and have won numerous awards.


Running with the Horses

Written and illustrated by Alison Lester
Published by Penguin Group Australia (2009, first edition)
ISBN: 9780735840027
Awards/Recognition: CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2010 Honour Award for Younger Readers, CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2010 Shortlisted for Best Designed Picture Book
Copy provided by Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.
Book cover downloaded online. Book photos by me.


From the dust jacket: Celebrating the turbulent history of the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Running with the Horses was inspired by the rescue of the Lipizzaner stallions during the Second World War. Around this dramatic event, Alison Lester has woven the fictional story of Nina, a young girl determined to save a humble old cab horse, who in turn saves not only the Lipizzaners, but Nina herself.

As the author noted in the back of the book, Running with the Horses was not intended to be an accurate portrayal of the rescue of the Lipizzaner stallions. The rescue itself was quite remarkable. In Lester’s book, young Nina must leave her life behind as the war came closer to her city. The plan was to travel across the mountains to her grandfather’s farm, taking the last four stallions with them. Determined to save an old cab horse named Zelda, Nina climbed onto Zelda’s back and ride the horse against her father’s orders. The rest of the pages followed Nina to her daring adventures across the mountains. Lester’s ink and watercolor illustrations, mixed with photographs, were captivating.


About the Author Alison Lester is one of Australia’s most popular authors. She has written and illustrated over 25 picture books, and her first fiction title, The Quicksand Pony, quickly became a bestseller. Her books are published in many languages and are loved by children around the world. Alison’s sure sense of colour and design, her humour, and her keen observation of the details of children’s lives make her books lasting favourites.

#WomenReadWomen2019 (Australia)

2 comments on “On Courage and Compassion: “The Stone Lion” and “Running with the Horses”

  1. I’ve read Stone Lion and enjoyed it. First time am hearing of Running with the Horses, though. Looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Perfect Pairing – of Stone Lions on the Move | Wander, Ponder, Write

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