I Promise You, Bolt
Finding children’s books that teach kindness while educating about cruelty to animals can be difficult. We are happy to say we found one — and proud that its author is a long-time and valued NYSHA volunteer!
Linda Rydant explained her inspiration to write this story — “I was updating NYSHA’s website with the testimonials of experts during the (first ever!) NYS Senate’s Hearing on the Welfare of Racehorses in New York State. One of the presentations was from a former race track veterinarian who not only spoke of the suffering and deaths of these sentient animals, but also the love and care he provided as a child to a “retired” racehorse named Riff Raff. I knew there was a children’s book in this testimony.”
Back cover of book I Promise You, Bolt begins by telling the story of Liam, his family, and their animal members, subtly explaining the care and responsibility needed to take care of them. When they adopt Bolt, a horse no longer valuable at the racetrack, several pages are devoted to explaining what is required to take care of him and the commitment needed.
As young Liam grows, his connection and understanding of equines does too, and he becomes an equine veterinarian. While working at a racetrack, he learns about the abuse these horses endure, and the story gently educates the reader about why the industry is cruel and unfair to the equine athletes it claims to care so much about. He leaves the racetrack, opens up his own equine practice, and becomes an advocate for better treatment of racehorses.
Beautifully illustrated by Kingston artist Nancy Bowles, I Promise You, Bolt should be in every school and children’s library. It is a quick and easy read which humanizes the animals and easily holds the reader’s attention. Thank you, Linda!
New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXXVI, Fall 2020.