ISBN: 9781922539687

The Real Cowgirl

AUD $24.99 Tax Included

Available on backorder

Available now in ANZ & US  / Due for Release UK August 2024

Sal wants to be a real cowgirl – brave, strong, wild, smart, kind, fierce, a good friend. Sal feels safe and strong at home, or out riding with her pony, but she finds going to school scary and isolating. Her friends, both pony and human, help her to feel brave and build her up to feel all the wonderful things they can see in her. Sensitively illustrated and written by a talented young author, this is a heart-warming story about being yourself and finding bravery through friendship.

Download Teacher’s Notes

SPECIFICATIONS: 245mm x 255mm | Hardback | 32 Pages | Full Colour | EK Books

SKU: 9781922539687 Categories: , , ,

An inspiring story about the people – and animals – who make us brave, perfect for young readers who are struggling with nerves or anxiety.

In The Real Cowgirl, Sal feels safe and strong at home, and out riding with her pony. She has big dreams of being a cowgirl; of being brave, smart and wild. But at school, where she feels anxious and isolated, those dreams seem very far away. How will Sal find her self-confidence and be her true self even when she is scared?

Join Sal and her pony for this heart-warming story about friendship, and the way in which it can make you feel brave. Featuring beautiful, vibrant illustrations of Sal’s life on the farm, it will delight young readers with an interest in animals and adventure. It will also provide inspiration and comfort for children who experience anxiety, showing them the power of small acts of bravery, and how our friends can build us up to feel all the wonderful things they already see in us.

The Real Cowgirl was inspired by the author’s own childhood, growing up on a farm in NSW, Australia with her pony as a source of support and comfort. It is a story about being yourself, finding bravery through friendship, and what it takes to be a real cowgirl.

Isabelle Duff is a farmer, author, and student at the University of New South Wales, where she is studying Advanced Science and Commerce. She has worked on her family farm near Manildra, NSW, where they farm sheep and cattle, and crop. Isabelle is a self-proclaimed ‘tree hugger’, passionate about science and environmental agribusiness. She hopes to one day manage the family business. She has volunteered at her local primary school and is keen to facilitate discussions with children about mental illness, to help reduce stigma and ignorance.

Isabelle signed her first publishing contract, for Cookie, with EK Books when she was 18. That book was inspired by her border collie Saffy, and by the Australian bush. The Real Cowgirl is based on her first pony, Bindi, and her friends that make her feel brave.

Susannah Crispe is a Canberra-based children’s book illustrator with a background in zoology and art history. She has a degree in Art History from the University of Sydney (2008) and studied Zoology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of New England.

Susannah is a largely self-taught artist and works primarily in watercolour and digital collage. Susannah is also a stay-at-home-mum, where reading books with the kids forms a huge part of her everyday routine. Susannah illustrated Isabelle’s first book, Cookie, as well as Where the Heart Is (also with EK Books).


“An uplifting message about confidence and friendship, and offers a simple and non-threatening starting point for discussions with little readers (aged 4+) who might have anxieties about school or other experiences beyond their comfort zones.”

Love Four Learning via instagram
“Told through the perspective of Sal’s pony, this is a book that tackles an issue that is currently common in a post Covid landscape: social and school anxiety. With a hopeful ending, this picture book is a reminder that sometimes the things we want are closer than we think if we take a leap and be exactly who we already are.”

Australian Women’s Weekly
“Sal feels brave and tough when she is with her pony, but scared and anxious at school. In this heart-warming book, Sal learns to channel her nerves and be her true self, her trusted pony by her side.”

Children’s Book Council of Australia – Reading Time
“I love how the story challenges stigma about school anxiety with a protagonist who is brave in a context that many city kids would find frightening. It also hints, without being didactic, that having the courage to reveal our true selves is a path to finding acceptance and friendship..”

Get Kids Booked (via Instagram)
“It’s a common thing for children to feel anxious at school. Often they behave totally different to how they behave at home, with those they love.
This is a heartwarming story about finding courage and friendship. It’s a comforting account of how showing a little bravery can lead to happiness.”

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Download the Teacher’s Notes Here

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