What initially drew you to Black Beauty?
I grew up around horses so I was probably first drawn to the cover art — and also my grandpa had a black horse named Beauty, so maybe I thought the book was about his horse! That’s the thing about being a curious reader as a kid — maybe I thought all books were about me in some way, or maybe I was always searching for the personal, how stories connected to my own young life as well as how books and stories might transport me out of my own young life. Even though the novel is set in 19th Century London (a place I didn’t know and could barely imagine) somehow the story of Black Beauty was accessible for me — somehow it reached this kid who lived in a tiny town in Kansas. When I think back on that now, it must have been because the story is told from Black Beauty’s point of view and that I recognized his vulnerability and playfulness and curiosity as well as his desire for fairness and justice, the ways he came to value friendship and kindness.