It's a book that will gallop into the hearts of children - while helping some very special children.
The book is called “Houston, The Barrel Racing Horse.”
The authors are two Roanoke women who love two things: horses and children.
It's a story about a misfit barrel racing horse who doesn't like to run.
The story is the brain child of Maria Nichols who has a horse just like that. His name is Houston.
“And I thought there's got to be a cute little story in this," said Nichols.
Nichols and her niece, Hollie Young, co-wrote the story with a very special focus group to test it out -- Hollie's children.
“My two little girls Kylie and Maggie were the focus group. Kylie is six and Maggie is three,” Young said.
Houston the horse helps special needs children at a therapeutic riding center. It's much like the work that goes on at Unbridled Change in Boones Mill.
"They work with children with special needs and children who are in foster care," said Nichols.
The book sells for $11.99. Five dollars from each book that's sold will go to scholarships to help children who are in the program.
Nichols made that decision after she heard the owner of Unbridled Change, Michelle Holling-Brooks, suffered a heart attack at just 34-years-old.
While Hollings-Brooks is doing alright now she was not able to hold her annual fall fundraiser this year, Nichols said.
The book was a collaborative effort. While Nichols came up with the storyline it was Hollie's idea to have a worm that shows up on every page for children to find. Hollie’s brother and his girlfriend did the illustrations.
“It was really neat seeing it come together from just when we first started the book it was just on regular paper,” Young said.
Both women love knowing the book is helping children at Unbridled Change, and they say it also sends a worthwhile message.
“It teaches children or anyone that you want to be happy in something you choose to do," Nichols said. " Also some of your best friends can be can be special needs people so I think that's something that's a good lesson for everyone.”
The book is also being sold in other parts of the country to help a make a wish group that provides special wishes to sick children.
The book is being sold at the following local stores:
-Countryside Classics on Main Street in Salem
- Notebooks and Black Water Loft in Floyd
- Lourine’s Beauty Salon in Salem.
Click here to visit the book’s Facebook page.