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Children's Nonfiction Art

No Horses in the House!

The Audacious Life of Artist Rosa Bonheur

by (author) Mireille Messier

illustrated by Anna Bron

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Art, Homosexuality, LGBTQ+, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Recommended Age
6 to 8
Recommended Grade
1 to 3
Recommended Reading age
6 to 8
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Discussion Guide

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Where to buy it


“Scenes unfold with cinematic flair...Bonheur’s tenacity and determination will resonate with children, whether or not they’re familiar with her art.”—Quill & Quire, starred review

Based on the incredible life of the pioneering, feminist and queer artist Rosa Bonheur, this charming story depicts Rosa's early years and her drive to fight for her dreams.

Rosa Bonheur loved to draw animals. She was good at it too! Unfortunately, in nineteenth-century France, girls were not allowed to be artists. But Rosa didn't let that stop her. In this fictionalized account of her early life in Paris, Rosa studies art at home, bringing a menagerie of animals into the apartment to study up close. When she is kicked out of the horse market for sneaking in wearing boys clothing, Rosa must think creatively to challenge the rules in pursuit of her dream of becoming a world-class realist painter and artist.

About the authors

Mireille Messier est une autrice jeunesse née à Montréal, qui a grandi à Ottawa et qui habite maintenant à Toronto. Elle a travaillé dans les domaines de la radiodiffusion et du théâtre. Mireille a publié plus de trente livres en français ou en anglais destinés aux enfants de tous les âges, dont l’album Sergent Billy: La vraie histoire du chevreau devenu soldat. Son album Ma branche préférée a été mis en nomination pour les prix Shining Willow, Blue Spruce et pour les Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général du Canada. Avant de devenir autrice, Mireille a été animatrice à la télévision et à la radio, scénariste, critique littéraire — des domaines dans lesquels elle œuvre toujours de temps à autre. Mireille vit à Toronto avec cinq chats, deux oiseaux et plus d’une centaine de poissons rouges (mais pas de chevaux !).

Mireille Messier's profile page

Anna Bron is an illustrator based out of Vancouver, Canada. She studied traditional hand-drawn animation at Sheridan College and upon graduation embarked on a manifold freelance career, producing award winning children’s picture books, as well as directing and designing numerous short animated films. Her love of the wilderness runs deep in her family, her parents having first met in the Siberian woods. She grew up sleeping in snow caves, climbing mountains, and canoeing rivers and lakes. When she is not drawing, she is exploring the coast mountains of British Colombia. She lives with her partner and two budgies.

Anna Bron's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens

Editorial Reviews

“The story of a confident and accomplished young woman facing unreasonable societal obstacles.”

Sal's Fiction Addiction

“Readers will revel in the lifelike animal paintings…The artwork here sprawls beautifully across spreads, showing…a tiny but confident Rosa surrounded by naysayers as well as her beloved animals, potential creations swirling around the scenes as they pour from her mind.”


“ and general studies teachers alike will gravitate to the story that highlights an artist rarely covered in school curriculum, especially someone who toppled every roadblock to live her dreams. Recommended.”

School Library Connection

“A story of female empowerment and persistence...a fun and wonderful book of courage and endurance against the odds. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

★“Scenes unfold with cinematic flair...Bonheur’s tenacity and determination will resonate with children, whether or not they’re familiar with her art.”

Quill & Quire, starred review

“Destined to become a go-to on any bookshelf, No Horses in the House! (also available in French) is a touchstone, an irreplaceable resource for school, home and public libraries, sparking meaningful discussion, understand and compassion and acting as an enjoyable and accessible point of reference for... the importance of representation, diversity and inclusion, the joy of art and the sheer power of tenacity and creativity. Very highly recommended.”

Canadian Children’s Book News

“With lyrical text and beautiful art, this book is guaranteed to enchant readers of all ages. No Horses in the House! will be read and treasured for many years to come.”

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“A vivid glimpse of [Bonheur’s] character…Gives the artist’s personality its due.”

Kirkus Reviews

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