Chasing Painted Horses
Drew Hayden Taylor
Chasing Painted Horses has a magical, fable-like quality. It is the story of four unlikely friends who live in Otter Lake, a reserve north of Toronto. Ralph and his sister, Shelley, live with their parents. One day, their mother brings home a chalkboard and installs it prominently in the kitchen. She wants her children and their friends to draw something every week, at the end of which there'll be a vote as to which is the best artwork. Danielle, a small and quiet girl from school, draws a horse — a breathtakingly beautiful horse. And while she wins the competition, the reactions to her work set in motion a series of actions and reactions that will shape the lives of the brother and sister and William, Shelley's would-be-boyfriend, that rarity, a bully who bullies other bullies. (From Cormorant Books)
Drew Hayden Taylor is an Ojibway playwright, author and journalist from Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario. He has worked on over 17 documentaries examining Indigenous experiences and served as the artistic director of Canada's premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts.
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"The idea for this story came from a dinner party. I was having drinks with a group of friends and one friend told me about growing up in Ottawa and how her mother would invite kids over to draw on her wall. One little girl came over and she would draw the same horse over and over again. Then one day, she stopped showing up.
One little girl came over and she would draw the same horse over and over and over again. Then one day she stopped showing up.- Drew Hayden Taylor
"Her mother then wondered whatever happened to this little girl and why she kept drawing this horse. After hearing that story, it wouldn't leave my consciousness. I started asking questions and began to answer those questions for myself. Eventually the story popped out."