Anaka Jones is a 12-year-old girl in the sixth grade who was born and raised in the rural area outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she lives with her parents, two older brothers, two dogs, a lizard and a frog. Riding, grooming and maintaining horses is one of her favorite pastimes. Now, Anaka has put her passion into words.
In “The Night Horses,” Anaka creates a playful children’s book that imagines the secret lives of barn horses who chatter, chow, play and work all while their owners are away. Though she is only in sixth grade, Jones has produced a lively book that mixes reality
and fantasy to showcase the playful and humorous side of rural life. She invites readers to accompany her to a secret barn party where these animals will play as hard as they work.
“The Night Horses” follows the animals’ daily lives. Each morning, the horse herd takes their breakfast at the hay feeder. Mulling around, they exchange gossip and share their plans for the day. There’s May, an old mare whose giddy-up spirit fuels her energetic personality. She wants to challenge Cloud to a race even though she is three times his age. Frisco and Bella are an inseparable married couple, and plenty of young foals timidly hide behind their mothers’ legs amongst the group.
After a long day of work, the horses clean up, head to their stalls for dinner, and wait in the barn until their owners head back to the house. With humans out of the picture, the horses get busy creating their own rural night life, effectively turning the farm into their own little three-ring circus.
The whimsical nature of Jones’ children’s book allows young readers to tap into their
imagination and picture what goes on inside the heads of the animals around them. The book is a perfect story for children who love animals, “The Night Horses” depicts the world of love and companionship to be found among horses and humans.