Finding Her Courage

By Lauren Elizabeth Rodriguez

Imagine living in a world where you don't feel safe, where you fear even the slightest bit of human contact, even if it is harmless. Imagine being afraid to speak, for fear of being punished. Imagine being trapped in your own mind, where your nightmares are as real as night and day. For eleven-year-old Julie Hartson, she doesn't have to imagine it because she's living it. Even though she and her sisters, Megan and Molly, are living with their aunt Abby and are starting a new chapter in their lives, it's still hard not to look over their shoulders sometimes. It's especially hard for Julie after she is involved in an accident that causes her mind to be trapped in the past. It all starts one afternoon when Julie takes their horse, Rose Petal, for a ride. Julie feels free and happy whenever she's taking rides with Rose Petal through the trails behind her aunt's house, but on one particular day, Rose Petal is spooked by a mysterious sound and throws Julie off. Julie is injured and is scared to ride Rose Petal or even be near the horse. Julie's even afraid of her own family-all except Megan, that is. Can Megan help Julie to overcome her fear? More importantly, can she convince her never to give up on herself or her love for their horse? Meanwhile, the girls' little cousin, Kassy, shows up on Abby's doorstep unexpectedly and she's all alone. Will Abby be able to help her?

Like many 20-somethings, Lauren Rodriguez knows her way around a computer. But her machine has a voice that acts as her eyes.

The 22-year-old uses a screen reader because she is visually impaired. She describes her vision as looking through a tube.

"Finding Her Courage" is about a young girl who injures her eye in a horse riding accident, some of which is based on her own experience. The book is currently available through www.publishamerica.com.

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