Penelope LaRock

Penelope LaRock stands with her Equus award at the Equus Film and Arts Festival.

LEXINGTON, Kentucky — On Dec. 8, 2019, local children’s author, Penelope LaRock received an Equus Award for Children’s Literature for her book, “Nikki’s Story,” at the Equus Film and Arts Festival at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Equus Film and Arts Festival is a four-day international exhibition of feature-length films, documentaries and books from non-fiction to fiction about horses. Equus entrants represented the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Mongolia. Of particular interest were the Mongolian Equua winners who presented their documentary on the horse race across the Mongolian Desert, the Gobi Gallop.

“Nikki’s Story” was funded by a grant from the Freedom Equine Center in Albany. A pilot study of the books was done at the Charlie and Daisy Black Historical Equestrian Farm in Chillicothe.

LaRock is a member of the Circleville Branch of American Association of University women, AAUW. The branch purchased copies of “Nikki’s Story” for every second grade classroom in Pickaway County to support the program Reading in Fundamental (RIF). Each year, AAUW-Circleville branch works in association with RIF by providing books for every second grade student in Pickaway County, under the direction of Kendra Strawser, also a branch member. LaRock will meet with local classrooms to read her book and introduce them to the topic of equine-assisted learning.

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