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Animal Issues Books for Ages 2 to 10

May I Pet Your Dog?

by Stephanie Calmenson
Ages: 4 – 8

may i pet your dogChildren encounter dogs wherever they go: in the park, on the sidewalk, at their friends’ homes. Sometimes it’s love at first sight, on both sides—but not always. The right way for a child to approach a dog to ensure that the first connection is a complete success begins with this question to the owner: “May I pet your dog?” Using Harry the dachshund as a gentle guide, Stephanie Calmenson addresses this valuable yet overlooked topic with care and precision, and Jan Ormerod’s warm illustrations portray a wide variety of breeds and personalities and depict situations that are realistic but never scary. Unique and straightforward, this is the essential guide to bringing children and dogs together—for kids and parents alike.

Issues Covered: Companion Animal Care

Before You Were Mine

Before you were mineby Maribeth Boelts
Ages: 4 – 8

A little boy imagines what life was like for his new dog before he adopted him from a shelter. Maybe he had a boy who loved him, but the family had to move and couldn’t keep him. Maybe he belonged to someone who didn’t appreciate how mischievous puppies can be. Maybe he was treated badly, and now he can be shown all the love he’s been missing. This boy wonders about all of these things, but maybe they don’t matter. Because now, his dog is home.

Issues Covered: Animal Shelters, Animal Neglect

Are You Ready for Me?

Are You Ready for Me? by Claire Buchwaldby Claire Buchwald and Amelia Hansen
Ages: 5 – 9

Getting a dog can be a wonderful moment in a family’s life—or the beginning of a bad situation for everyone. In Are You Ready for Me?, engaging text and colorful pictures show two children at an animal adoption center, trying to decide if they are prepared to care for a dog for its entire life. There’s a contract at the end of the book for parents and kids to check off. An online kit is available to those who want more information about living with a dog.

Issues Covered: Companion Animal Care

Max Talks to Me

Max Talks to Me by Claire Buchwaldby Claire Buchwald and Karen Ritz
Ages: 5 – 7

Alex and his dog Max are true friends—the kind that share each other’s excitement, comfort each other when they are sad, wait together when parents are away, and have fun wherever they are. Alex is learning that every good relationship is a two-way street. By observing and listening to his dog, by sharing good times and bad, he and Max are earning each other’s love and devotion. Parents will appreciate the information about animal communication and the dog-child bond that they will find at the end of Max Talks to Me. Children will want to share Max and Alex’s adventures and friendship over and over as they read the gentle, engaging story and look at the beautiful illustrations.

Issues Covered: Human/Animal Bond, Companion Animal Care

“Let’s Get a Pup!” Said Kate

let's get a pupby Bob Graham
Ages: 5 – 7

There are lots of dogs of all shapes and sizes at the animal shelter. But Kate and her mom and dad know they want Dave the moment they see him. He’s small and cute and a perfect fit for the end of Kate’s bed. But then they see Rosy, who is old and gray and broad as a table. How can they take home just one dog when there are so many wonderful animals who need a home? Bob Graham creates an original, endearing family in a touching story that will appeal to animal lovers everywhere.Companion Animal Overpopulation, Companion Animal Adoption

Issues Covered: Companion Animal Overpopulation, Companion Animal Adoption

The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World And Ours

The Chimpanzees I Love- Saving Their World And Oursby Jane Goodall
Ages: 5 – 8

As a child, Jane Goodall dreamed of living with the wild animals of Africa. As a young woman, she amazed the world with her groundbreaking discoveries about chimpanzees, which she documented in her acclaimed National Geographic television specials. Ever since, Dr. Goodall has campaigned unceasingly for the protection of the chimpanzee ­ now an endangered species. This moving, personal account will inspire readers of all ages to join in her vital work.

Issues Covered: Endangered Species, Activism, Wildlife

If You Were My Baby: A Wildlife LullabyIf You Were My Baby: A Wildlife Lullaby

by Fran Hodgkins
Ages: 5 – 8

A sweet-dream bedtime book for nature lovers! The children in your life will learn about animals in nature, and fall asleep knowing that they, along with animal babies, are loved and secure.

Issues Covered: Wildlife

Lucky Pigs

lucky pigs book coverby Susan Rooker
Ages 5 – 8

Listen as Nikki retells her piglets’ favorite bedtime story. It is the story of how she escaped a factory farm, give birth to piglets on a “mound of dry ground” and how they came to live in peace at Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY. In the end, Nikki does not know if her piglets believe that the story she tells is true. She doesn’t mind. She knows they will live long and happy at Farm Sanctuary. More of us are becoming aware of from where our food comes and how the animals involved are treated. This story can open discussions for older children or can be read as a simpler story for younger children.

Issues Covered: Farm Animals

The Bravest Cat: The True Story of Scarletthe bravest cat the true story of scarlet

by Laura Driscoll
Ages 5 – 8

Here’s the heartwarming, true story of the cat who risked her life to save her five kittens from a burning building. Written for very young readers, The Bravest Cat! follows the feline family’s recovery and their eventual adoptions into loving homes.

Issues Covered: Companion animals, Animal Heroes

Tarra and Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends

by Carol Buckley
Ages: 5 – 10

Tarra and Bella- The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best FriendsBest friends come in all shapes and sizes! After retiring from the circus, Tarra became the first resident of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. When other elephants moved in and developed close friendships, only Tarra remained independent? until the day she met a stray mixed-breed dog named Bella. It was love at first sight as this unlikely duo became inseparable. They ate together, slept together, and even understood each other?s language. And when Bella suffered a severe spinal injury, Tarra stayed by her side and was there for her until Bella regained her health. Brilliant color photographs of Tarra and Bella at home in the Elephant Sanctuary deftly illustrate this inspiring story of companionship, and an informative note about the Sanctuary provides a great resource for parents and teachers.

Issues Covered: Animal Emotions

Buddy Unchained

buddy unchainedby Daisy Bix and Joe Hyatt
Ages: 5 – 10

What is life like, day after day, for a dog kept outdoors in all weather on a chain or a rope, alone all day—a dog whose owners, for the most part, forget that he’s alive? Buddy, a lovable mixed-breed dog, has had such an existence. Happy in a new home, Buddy tells the story of his former life of neglect, abuse, and finally, rescue, to live a good life with a family that cares about him. Information is included for parents and other adults about resources they can readily contact when they encounter a dog being abused.

Issues Covered: Animal Neglect, Animal Adoption, Animal Abuse

Maggie’s Second Chance

maggie's second chanceby Nancy Furstinger and Joe Hyatt
Ages: 5 – 10

In a compelling story, movingly illustrated, the issue of animal abandonment is brought to life. Maggie, a pregnant lab mix, is left behind in her people’s deserted house. Discovered by the realtor, Maggie is brought to the pound where her puppies are born. When Jeff, a fourth-grader, reads a newspaper story about Maggie’s puppies being adopted while Maggie is not, he learns from his teacher that Maggie will be euthanized if no one adopts her. This knowledge galvanizes Jeff and his classmates to successfully plan and petition their town council to build an animal shelter. Maggie is given her second chance—taken to the new town shelter, where she is eventually adopted. Maggie’s Second Chance is based on the true story of Texas fourth-graders who founded an animal shelter in their town. The final page offers factual comprehensive information on how to help abandoned dogs.

Issues Covered: Companion Animal Overpopulation, Companion Animal Adoption, Activism

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

Twas the Night Before Thanksgivingby Dav Pilkey
Ages: 5 – 10

The incomparable Dav Pilkey adapts Clement Moore’s classic Christmas poem to tell his wacky Thanksgiving tale. The day before Thanksgiving, eight boys and girls take a field trip to a turkey farm. They have fun playing with eight exuberant turkeys but are shocked to learn that Farmer Mack Nuggett plans to kill all the turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners. So the children decide to smuggle all the turkeys home, and all their Thanksgiving dinners become vegetarian this year. The turkeys’ lives are saved!

Issues Covered: Farm Animals, Activism, Vegetarianism

The Great Kapok Tree

by Lynne Cherry
Ages: 5 – 10the great kapok tree cover

One day, a man exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another” . . . and it works. Cherry’s lovingly rendered colored pencil and watercolor drawings of all the “wondrous and rare animals” evoke the lush rain forests, as well as stunning world maps bordered by tree porcupines, emerald tree boas, and dozens more fascinating creatures.

Issues Covered: Deforestation, Habitat Destruction

Senna Helps the Sea Lions (And You Can Too!)

by Megan Pincus Kajitanisenna helps the sea lions
Ages: 5 – 10

This is a true story of a seven-year-old girl who encountered a crisis in her beach community and decided to do something about it. Find out how Senna helped the California Sea Lion pups, and what YOU can do every day to help them, too — no matter where you live! Get inspired by Senna’s story to find your OWN passion for making a difference. All profits from this book go to marine mammal rescue and humane education for kids! Illustrations include friendly cartoons and photos of real sea lion pups at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

Issues Covered: Activism, Marine Life

The Kind Garden

by Scott Reevekinf-garden-image
Ages 4-7

Join young Mya as she takes an unexpected journey into The Kind Garden accompanied by a surprising animal guide who introduces her to the Happy Fruit, Noble Tree and much more! What wonderful things does she learn during her travels? Does she actually go on this adventure or is it only a dream? We hope children and families everywhere enjoy this fun adventure and learn the value of life too.

Issues Covered: Animal Compassion, Veganism, Organic Gardening

How The Little Fox Saved Her Coat

How the little fox saved her coatby Rosa Close
Ages: 5 – 10

It is a children’s story about a little fox that went to town to meet the little children in the school playground to tell her story. She was met with love and affection, and the little children promised to protect her as well as all the other furry critters in the forest. It was the beginning of a long lasting friendship. The book is written bilingually in several languages.

Issues Covered: Wildlife

It’s Raining Pups and Dogs!

It's Raining Pups and Dogs!by Jeanne Prevost and Amelia Hansen
Ages: 5 – 10

Lauren is angry with her father for having their dog Scout spayed, dashing her hopes of having the fun of raising puppies. To show Lauren why they made the decision not to breed Scout, Lauren’s dad takes her to visit a large animal shelter. Seeing the hundreds of dogs waiting for rescue, many with little hope of finding a home, Lauren comes to understand why they spayed Scout: there are too many dogs and too few homes for them. The realistic, captivating art features shelter dogs. The final page of the book offers information for parents and other adults about pet overpopulation and the importance of spaying and neutering.

Issues Covered: Companion Animal Overpopulation, Companion Animal Adoption

Lost In The Woods: A Photographic Fantasy

lost in the woods a photographic fantasyby Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick
Ages: 6 – 8

A beautiful springtime fantasy from the creators of the best-selling Stranger in the Woods. This New York Times bestseller is a quiet story about trust and patience. Nature lovers of all ages will appreciate the amazing photography and gentle words which weave a tale about a young fawn waiting for her mother’s return. From a red-winged blackbird to a hissing goose,woodland creatures keep watch over a young fawn they believe is lost in the woods. But the book also delivers a message: most fawns found alone in the woods are not lost or abandoned. In fact, newborn fawns spend their first weeks without mom because her scent will attract predators to her young.

Issues Covered: Wildlife, Animal Emotions

And Tango Makes Three

by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Ages: 6 – 10and tango makes three

And Tango Makes Three is the bestselling, heartwarming true story of two penguins who create a nontraditional family. At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo get the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.

Issues Covered: LGBT, Respect for All, Celebrating Differences, Animal Emotions

Hope: A Pig’s Talehope a pig's tale

by Randy Houk
Ages: 7 – 11

A pig named Hope is rescued from a factory farm.

Issues Covered: Farm Animals, Animal Rescue


by by Monica Engebretson and Melodee Strong
Ages: 7 – 9lucky

Lucky tells the tale of a parrot who is captured in the wild and eventually regains his freedom with the help of a young Indonesian boy. Based on a true story, Lucky gently awakens readers to the plight of captive birds and birds captured in the wild. This beautifully illustrated book is printed on recycled, chlorine-free paper to protect the environment and the world’s forests. Proceeds from the sale of this book benefit avian welfare, rescue and conservation. The story is also a natural fit for a wider educational curriculum including geography and culture of Indonesia, the natural history, behavior and physical characteristics of parrots and tropical forest ecosystems, as well as real-life conservation efforts. The dedicated website www.LuckyTheLorikeet.com incorporates all these topics. In addition, children can meet the real Lucky in a narrated documentary video clip available on the website – truly a rare and inspiring opportunity.

Issues Covered: Captive Animals, Wildlife

How to Heal a Broken Wing

how to heal a broken wingby Bob Graham
Ages: 7 – 9

In a city full of hurried people, only young Will notices the bird lying hurt on the ground. With the help of his sympathetic mother, he gently wraps the injured bird and takes her home. In classic Bob Graham style, the beauty is in the details: the careful ministrations with an eyedropper, the bedroom filled with animal memorabilia, the saving of the single feather as a good-luck charm for the bird’s return to the sky. Wistful and uplifting, here is a tale of possibility — and of the souls who never doubt its power.

Issues Covered: Wildlife

Steven the Vegan

steven the veganby Dan Bodenstein
Ages: 7 – 10

Steven and his classmates go on a field trip to a local farm sanctuary. While there Steven’s classmates learn that he is a vegan. Steven, along with many of the farm animals, teach his friends why for him, animals are his friends, not his food. Each day more children are being introduced to the concept of the vegan lifestyle. The idea of not eating meat, or drinking milk may open a child up to ridicule and harassment. Steven the Vegan gives these children ideas on how to deal with the situation, and how to explain why animals are friends, not food.

Issues Covered: Veganism, Farm Animals

Beautiful Joebeautiful joe

by Marshall Saunders
Ages: 8 – 12

The fictionalized story, which the author relocates to a small town in Maine, recounts numerous adventures of Joe and the other animals and people in and around the “Morris” household and the little barn and barnyard that serves as a playground for children and a home for a variety of animals. Above all, “Beautiful Joe” is a call for an end to cruelty to animals, a message which it delivers effectively in the course of a story enjoyed and loved by generations of readers young and old.

Issues Covered: Animal Cruelty, Activism

charlotteswebCharlotte’s Web

by E. B. White
Ages: 8 – 11

Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

Issues Covered: Farm Animals, Human/Animal Bond, Respect for All

Do Animals Have Feelings Too?

by David L. Rice
Ages: 8 – 12do animals have feelings too cover

This collection of true stories of animal behavior is not only captivating and thought-provoking, but also a terrific way for teachers and parents to have children to consider feelings–whether animal or human. A young antelope was being dragged into a river by a crocodile. A nearby hippopotamus saw what was happening and charged the croc, which released the antelope. The hippo gently pulled the antelope up the riverbank, comforting and protecting it until it died. Was this compassion? A zoo monkey routinely used a banana to bribe a moose to carry him across a moat designed to keep him confined to a small island. Was this cleverness?

Issues Covered: Animal Emotions

Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs

by Zoe Weil
Ages 9 – 13Claude and Medea The Hellburn Dogs

Claude and Medea aren’t expecting an odd substitute teacher to change their lives. Nor are they anticipating the dangerous adventure in store for them. They seem like normal kids. But are they? Claude has famous parents and sticks to the rules. Medea’s got a scholarship to a fancy private school and can’t get in trouble. How is it that they are thrown together, trying to outsmart Manhattan criminals? And why do they care so much about the weird Ms. Rattlebee? Find out what makes this unlikely pair begin to view the world differently, and to risk everything.

Issues Covered: Activism, Animal Testing, Respect for All

Sunny and Friends

by Janis Kell

Ages: 6-10

Melinda, who volunteers at an animal shelter, has a dream where the animals at the shelter tell her their stories of how they became homeless. The animals share their feelings and their hopes to  find loving forever homes. These stories raise awareness about the importance of responsible animal guardianship and animal adoption.

Issues Covered: Companion Animal Adoption, Companion Animal Homelessness and Overpopulation, Animal Neglect

Sprig the Rescue Pig        

by Leslie Crawford

Ages: 4-7

Sprig is packed into a fast-moving truck with dozens of other pigs. He doesn’t know where they’re going but his nose knows there’s something better out there. So with one dramatic leap, Sprig sets out on an adventure that leads him to his new best friend, a girl named Rory. Inspired by true events, this light-hearted tale introduces kids to an intelligent and inquisitive pig who finds his way to a good life.

Issues Covered: Farm Animals, Animal Rescue

Gwen the Rescue Hen      

by Leslie Crawford

Ages: 4-8

Gwen has spent her whole life in a big egg-laying hen house, so she knows very little about what chickens can do. A tornado turns her world upside-down, landing her in a strange new place that’s nothing like the hen house. Using her wits, Gwen dodges danger at every turn until she finds safety and friendship with a boy named Mateo. Together they discover how extraordinary an ordinary chicken really is.

Issues Covered: Farm Animals, Animal Rescue

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