Cover of Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

Centaur Rising

This began as a short story, Centaur Field, in a Bruce Coville anthology: HALF HUMAN, published in 2001. But I thought about it on and off for over ten years before I decided it should be a novel. Along the way, I wrote it set in modern times and then realized that the secret of a centaur born in a horse farm would soon be caught on cell phone cameras, tweeted, FaceBooked, and FaceTimed around the world. No such secrets can be kept these days. So I had to totally rewrite the book, setting it back in the late 60’s and while I did that, I turned a dead baby into a live boy with many disabilities due to his mother taking a drug called Thalidomide. Other things happened: the late 60’s there was a tv show called Mr. Ed, about a talking horse, that was very popular. Star Trek was about to change the face of science fiction. And horse therapy schools for children with disabilities were also becoming popular in the US and Europe.

In other words, magic!


  • Chosen as one of the Bank Street Best Books 2014
  • On the 2015 Maryland Black Eyed Susan Award Master List
  • Massachusetts Center for the Book–Must-Reads in two categories: Picture Books and Middle Reader/Young Adult Literature for 2015

Around the web:

What reviewers have said:

  • *STARRED* “At a time when the publishing world could use something uplifting, Yolen is there with shooting stars, a child’s hug, and a nuzzle of a horse’s nose…Destined to become not only a popular book but one that stands the test of time.” — Booklist
  • “Fantasy master Yolen here offers a tale of a half-foal, half-boy.” — Kirkus Reviews
  • “A gentle fantasy for tweens.” — School Library Journal
  • “Born the year after a shooting star appears to have landed on their horse farm, a baby centaur affects Arianne’s troubled family in surprising ways.”–Bank Street Best Books
  • Yolen’s combination of character development and ironic twists set within a 1960s framework (with plenty of references to the Vietnam War and time-appropriate TV shows and technology) that includes continuous scene changes and un-hackneyed conflicts, keep her narrative lively and riveting. —Kids Read