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Cover Real Cowgirl.jpg


Written by Isabelle Duff, published by EK Books, June 2024

Sal wants to be a real cowgirl – brave, strong, wild, smart, kind, fierce, a good friend. Sal feels safe and strong at home, or out riding with her pony, but she finds going to school scary and isolating. Her friends, both pony and human, help her to feel brave and build her up to feel all the wonderful things they can see in her.


Sensitively illustrated, and written by a talented young author, this is a heart-warming story about being yourself and finding bravery through friendship.


Sal’s journey has an uplifting message about confidence and friendship and offers an amiable, simple and non-threatening starting point for discussions with little readers (aged 4+) who might have anxieties about school or other experiences beyond their comfort zones.

- Books+Publishing

An inspiring story about the people – and animals – who make us brave, perfect for young readers who are struggling with nerves or anxiety.

In The Real Cowgirl, Sal feels safe and strong at home, and out riding with her pony. She has big dreams of being a cowgirl; of being brave, smart and wild. But at school, where she feels anxious and isolated, those dreams seem very far away. How will Sal find her self-confidence and be her true self even when she is scared?

Join Sal and her pony for this heart-warming story about friendship, and the way in which it can make you feel brave. Featuring beautiful, vibrant illustrations of Sal’s life on the farm, it will delight young readers with an interest in animals and adventure. It will also provide inspiration and comfort for children who experience anxiety, showing them the power of small acts of bravery, and how our friends can build us up to feel all the wonderful things they already see in us.

The Real Cowgirl was inspired by the author’s own childhood, growing up on a farm in NSW, Australia with her pony as a source of support and comfort. It is a story about being yourself, finding bravery through friendship, and what it takes to be a real cowgirl.

This is a book that tackles an issue that is currently common in a post-Covid landscape: social and school anxiety. With a hopeful ending, this picture book is a reminder that sometimes the things we want are closer than we think if we take a leap and be exactly who we already are.

- Love Four Reading


Click the images to the right to download printable PDFs of the Paper Pony craft or The Real Cowgirl colouring sheet

Paper Pony.jpg
Colouring Real Cowgirl.jpg
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