First-time authors can sometimes find themselves lost in a sea of new releases. But Kathy Simmers had luck on her side right out of the gate when she received the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book in the children’s/young adult category. The award is given out by the Independent Book Publishers Association.

What’s also interesting is that her book, Jump the Moon, was written 20 years ago but not published until October 2020. The book is a true story about the bond between a girl and her pony named Me Too. Simmers’s daughter is the inspiration behind the lead character in Jump the Moon, which she penned when her daughter was reunited with her childhood pony.

The story unfolds like this:

“Ponies were always coming and going at the barn, that was nothing new, but as summer begins the girl with the long blonde hair notices something about the newest pony to arrive that she can’t quite put her finger on.

This pony is ordinary, ugly even and on top of that, she is mean. But the girl doesn’t seem to care, she is drawn to her and determined to earn the pony’s trust.

Over the course of the summer, the pair develop an incredible bond. But, tragically, as summer ends the two are separated. Readers will eagerly turn the pages to find out if the girl and the pony will ever see each other again.

The beautiful illustrations throughout this picture book bring to life an emotional journey that will make readers of all ages cry, smile, and cheer as it reminds us all to follow our dreams.”

“I never imagined myself as a children’s book author,” says Simmers. “But, just as the story suggests, life often takes us on unexpected paths. I’m honored, humbled and significantly shocked to be in the company of such wonderful authors and colleagues.”

Simmers herself was a lifelong horse lover with a dream to one day live on a farm with horses. When she was 12 years old she started taking riding lessons. At 19 she bought her first horse. Today, she and her husband live on a farm in North Carolina with horses, llamas, a small herd of goats, cats, a dog and some chickens.