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Recommended Children's Books with Humane Themes

Thank you for visiting RedRover's Recommended Books with Humane Themes book list. Are you interested in more resources to promote empathy? Stay informed about the RedRover Readers program and sign up to receive our quarterly Teachers' Humane Education (THE) e-newsletter!

The RedRover Readers program is an innovative approach to social and emotional learning and designed to promote empathy and compassion through stories and discussion. 

The RedRover Readers program books include:

  • A Home for Nathan *
  • Call the Horse Lucky *
  • Buddy Unchained *
    (Listen to an audio clip of a volunteer reading this story or read the transcript)
  • Duncan & Dolores *
  • The Forgotten Rabbit *
  • Freckles and Willie *
  • Ginger Finds a Home *
  • "Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate *
  • Lucky Boy *
  • Max Talks to Me *
  • Mrs. Crump's Cat *
  • Oh, Theodore! *
  • Orville: A Dog Story *
  • So, What's it Like to be a Cat?

RedRover is always on the lookout for humane-themed books to add to our list. We are especially looking for books which highlight the human-animal bond, display accurate animal behavior, are beautifully illustrated, and do not overtly tell a message (the story invites the reader to discover the message instead.) 

If you would like to suggest a book for this list, please send an email to info@RedRover.org. If you would like to submit a reviewer's copy or manuscript, please mail it to RedRover, Attention: Recommended Books at P.O. Box 188890, Sacramento, California 95818. 

Bookmark this page! We'll update it periodically with more books that can show children the important bond between humans and animals.

Help us bring animal-friendly books to children's libraries! Scores of children can benefit from increased availability of these books at local libraries. You can help by writing a letter to your children's librarian to request these books. Download our sample letter (in MS Word format) here.

Recommended for young readers:


Domestic Animals

A Kid’s Best Friend
Written by Maya Ajmera and Alex Fisher
Recommended for ages 2 and up

Dogs, just like children, come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Beautiful photographs of children and dogs from all over the world fill this book. Pictures of children caring for and interacting with dogs abound. Conversations about diversity of humans and different breeds of dogs are sure to arise while reading this book.


Chewy Louie
Written by Howie Schneider
Recommended for ages 2 and up

Almost immediately upon being brought home, puppy Louie sinks his teeth into everything from toy trains to the dining-room table. Louie's energy and escapades make for a fun and funny tale. Themes of responsible pet ownership and dog behaviors are discussed.


Goyangi Means Cat
Written by Christine McDonnell
Recommended for ages 3 and up

A heartwarming story about Soo Min, a little girl from Korea who is struggling to adjust to her new American family and lifestyle. She immediately bonds with Goyangi the family cat and finds comfort in their friendship. But when Goyangi runs away Soo Min must search with her mother to find the cat. It is ony when Goyangi returns that Soo Min finally feels at home with her new family. Themes of adoption, friendship and companionship are discussed. 


Duncan and Dolores
Written and illustrated by Barbara Samuels
Recommended for ages 2 and up

Even though Dolores is only four years old and quite a handful herself, she really wants a cat. When she and her sister adopt Duncan, who is also four years old, Dolores learns that making friends with a cat requires patience and that the rewards of a cat’s company are worth the wait. Themes of responsible pet ownership and developing a relationship with a cat through patience and trust are discussed.

Part of the RedRover Readers program.


Dogku
Written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Tim Bowers
Recommended for ages 4 and up

A heartwarming story about a dog who finds his forever home. This books is written entirely in haiku and describes the experiences this dog has in his new home. Themes of bringing a new animal home for the first time and kindness toward animals is discussed.


Nico & Lola
Written by Meggan Hill, photography by Susan M. Graunke

This is the story of a little boy who takes on the great responsibility of caring for his aunt’s Pug named Lola. Beautiful and touching photographs fill each page and tell a tale of how the boy learns to be “so kind” to Lola and give her everything she needs to be healthy and happy. This book would be a great way to introduce young children to the responsibilities involved in caring for an animal. Themes of responsible pet ownership are discussed.


The Way I Love You
Written by David Bedford and Ann James
Recommended for ages 4 and up

A little girl dscribes the many reasons why she loves her dog in their tender story. Themes of friendship, kindness, and the human-animal bond are discussed. 


A Home for Nathan
Written by Claudia Roll, illustrated by Finn Rizer
Recommended for ages 3 and up

Follows the story of a cross-eyed kitten who is adopted by a shelter volunteer and goes on to teach kids about responsible pet ownership and the value of caring. 

Topics included in this book are responsible pet ownership, therapy cats and the purpose of an animal shelter are discussed.

Part of the RedRover Readers program.


Before You Were Mine
Written by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by David Walker
Recommended for ages 3 and up

This is a gentle story of a young boy who wonders what his loving dog’s life was like before he was adopted from a shelter. Colorful illustrations bring this book to life. Themes of kindness, animal adoption, curiosity and friendship are discussed.


Ginger
Written and illustrated by Charlotte Voake
Recommended for ages 3 and up

Ginger is a lucky cat who loves his basket, his little girl and his delicious meals. When the little girl brings a kitten home as a friend for Ginger, the older cat is not happy about sharing his bowl and basket. Ginger hides in protest, letting the girl know that certain steps must be followed for a settled cat to adjust to life with a frisky kitten. Themes of bringing a new animal home, respecting an animals feelings, responsible pet ownership and patience are discussed.


Ginger Finds a Home
Written and illustrated by Charlotte Voake
Recommended for ages 3 and up

In this story, a heartwarming friendship grows between a little girl and a stray cat she later names Ginger.  In his previous life, Ginger foraged for food wherever and whenever he could, and slept in a patch of weeds.  As Ginger learns to trust the little girl, he quickly adjusts to his new life as her companion. Themes of trust and patience in developing a relationship with a cat are discussed.

Part of the  RedRover Readers  program.


The Forgotten Rabbit
Written by Nancy Furstinger, illustrated by Nancy Lane
Recommended for ages 3 and up

A little rabbit comes home with two excited young children but when the excitement wanes the little rabbit finds herself forgotten all alone in a cage. A young girl rescues the rabbit and names her Bella. Find out about the many fun activities and the friendship that Bella and the girl form in this delightful story.  Themes of the human-animal bond, friendship and pet care and responsibility are discussed. 

Part of the RedRover Readers program


 

Little Flower
Written by Gloria Rand, illustrated by R.W. Alley
Recommended for ages 3 and up

Little Flower is a potbellied pig who lives with an older woman named Miss Pearl. One day Miss Pearl falls and only Little Flower is around to help. Find out how Little Flower comes to Miss Pearl’s rescue in this delightful story, and watch how Miss Pearl’s neighbors change their perception of the little pig after she helps Miss Pearl. Friendship, kindness and what to do in an emergency situation are all themes this book brings alive for readers.


Each Living Thing
Written by Joanne Ryder, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Recommended for ages 2 and up

This story is about having an awareness and an appreciation for all living things no matter how small. It mentions many different animals and the roles they play in the world. Themes of animal appreciation and coexisting with wildlife.


Freckles and Willie
Written by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Marsha Winborn
Recommended for ages 4 and up

Freckles and Willie are best buddies until a new neighbor moves in and Willie neglects his four-legged friend. How will Willie show Freckles that he still cares? The story shows the enduring nature of the bond between a person and a dog. Themes of friendship and apologizing are discussed.

Part of the RedRover Readers program.


Fred Stays With Me!
Written by Nacy Coffelt, illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Recommended for ages 4 and up

With divorced parents and two separate homes, a young girl’s dog named Fred is her constant companion. Fred stays with the girl and the reader sees the friendship they share. The girl sticks up for Fred and finds creative ways to help Fred and her parents feel more comfortable with their living arrangements. Responsible pet ownership, divorce, friendship, companionship and dog behaviors are mentioned in this story.


"Let's get a Pup!" Said Kate
Written by Bob Graham
Recommended for ages 4 and up

Following the death of her cat, Kate is lonesome for a new pet. The family goes to the local animal rescue center for a puppy, and falls for a large, older dog in the process. The book extols both the reasons to adopt from a shelter and the rewards of giving an adult dog a second chance.

Part of the RedRover Readers program.


Max Talks to Me
Written by Claire Buchwald, illustrated by Karen Ritz
Recommended for ages 4 and up

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. By observing and listening to his dog, by sharing good times and bad, Alex and Max are earning each other's love and devotion. Parents will appreciate the information about 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. Themes include communication with a dog, dog body language and behaviors, responsible pet ownership and the animal-people bond are discussed.

Part of the RedRover Readers  program.


Mutt Dog
Written by Stephne Micheal King
Recommended for ages 4 and up

A stray dog wandered the streets of a busy city cold and lonely until he finds a homeless shelter for people. A kind woman cares for him for one night and then sends him on his way. The kind woman later runs into the dog and asks him if he would like to come home with her to live. Themes of responsible pet care and stray animals are discussed.


My Cat Copies Me
Written and illustrated by Yoon-duck Kwon 
Recommended for ages 4 and up

My Cat Copies Me is an entertaining story illustrating the bond between a young girl and her cat. The cat becomes a source of inspiration and adventure for the girl, while they both provide companionship for and listen to each other. The book features simple storytelling with colorful illustrations. Listening to a cat and friendship are themes discussed in this book.


Oh, Theodore!
Written by Susan Katz, illustrated by Stacey Schuett
Recommended for ages 4 and up

Told with an engaging series of poems that tie together to form a plot, Oh, Theodore! is the touching story of the relationship between a boy and his guinea pig. As the boy patiently learns about Theodore's needs through trial and error, a definite bond forms between the two. Fun, colorful and realistic illustrations are abundant throughout.

Patience and guinea pig behaviors are themes discussed in this book.

Part of the RedRover Readers program.


So, What's it Like to be a Cat?
Written by Karla Kuskin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Recommended for ages 4 and up

What is it like to be a cat? A curious boy interviews his gray cat in a playful rhyming story of the similarities and differences between cats and people. The story shows that the first step in taking care of a cat is taking the time to observe and listen to learn the cat’s likes and dislikes. Themes of listening to a cat and responsible pet ownership are discussed.

Part of the RedRover Readers program


Call the Horse Lucky
Written by Juanita Havill, illustrated by Nancy Lane
Recommended for ages 5 and up

This is a story of a horse who is rescued because of a young girl’s kindness. When a young girl named Mel finds a neglected horse alone in a field she tells her grandmother, “We have to help him.” Follow this horse, whom Mel named Lucky, as he is rescued, nursed back to health and finds friends along the way. This book discusses a horse rescue, practical information about caring for a horse, and a compassionate bond between Lucky and Mel.  

Part of the RedRover Readers program.


Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog
Written by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
Recommended for ages 5 and up

This is a true tale of a loyal dog named Hachiko who walks to the train station with his human companion, Dr. Ueno, every day and then waits patiently for Dr. Ueno to return. A young child takes an interest in Hachiko and brings yummy snacks while he waits, forging a friendship with Hachiko. When Dr. Ueno dies, Hachiko continues to wait diligently for his return, leaving his post only to sleep at Dr. Ueno’s home. You may need a box of tissues nearby when you read this heart-warming story to find out what else happens to Hachiko. Themes of loyalty, death and remembering are discussed.


Lucky Boy
Written by Susan Boase
Recommended for ages 5 and up

Boy, a small, brown and "kind of stinky" dog, is neglected and bored in his backyard. Mr. Miller is recently widowed and struggling with his loss. One night Boy digs his way under the fence, and when Mr. Miller discovers him in his yard the following morning, it's love at first sight. Themes of neglect and then friendship are discussed in this book.

Part of the  RedRover Readers  program.


Mrs. Crump's Cat
Written by Linda Smith, illustrated by David Roberts
Recommended for ages 5 and up

When Mrs. Crump finds a yellow cat on her porch step, she tells the cat to “shoo." She leaves the door ajar, however, and the cat slips into her home and into her life. As Mrs. Crump learns to care for the cat’s needs, she comes to appreciate the cat’s companionship as well. “Before you know it, you’ll be…wondering how you ever got along without [the cat],” Mrs. Crump’s new friend Mr. Henry says. Through colorful, playful illustrations, the story shows how cats make good company. Themes of stray animals, responsible pet ownership and how animals can affect people’s attitudes are discussed.

Part of the  RedRover Readers   program.


Not Afraid of Dogs
Written by Susanna Pitzer, illustrated by Larry Day
Recommended for ages 5 and up

Although he insists he is “not afraid of anything” Daniel avoids dogs. What happens when Daniel comes home to find his mom has agreed to pet sit for Bandit? After hiding from the small brown-and-white dog all day, he encounters her alone at night cowering from the noise of a thunderstorm. When Daniel sees the dog’s fear his own dissolves; he provides her cuddles. In the course of the story Daniel moves from angry and fearful to kind and open-hearted. Overcoming fears and helping animals are themes discussed in this book.


Animals Have Feelings, Too! Exploring Emotions from A to Z
Written by Karen Lee Stevens, illustrated by Teri Rider
Recommended for ages 4 and up

This charming and informative book follows the humorous story of Sandy, a lovable Labrador retriever who explores her world of emotions from A to Z. Whimsically illustrated, this book helps children understand that people and animals experience many of the same feelings.


A Very Unusual Dog
Written by Dorothy Joan Harris, illustrated by Kim LaFave
Recommended for ages 6 and up

Jonathan's dog is imaginary, but he still takes good care of him, providing food, walks, affection and a comfortable place to sleep. Jonathan’s grandmother shows him a photo of a cat she once loved and tells him her current apartment does not allow pets. To ease her loneliness, Jonathan gives “Dog” to her and tells her how to care for him. The story shows the power of love and memory, and how animals – even imaginary ones – can provide companionship. Themes of companionship and responsible pet ownership are discussed.


Buddy Unchained
Written by Daisy Bix, llustrated by Joe Hyatt
Recommended for ages 6 and up

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. Themes of animal abuse and neglect and responsible pet ownership are discussed.

Part of the RedRover Readers program.

(Listen to an audio clip of a volunteer reading this story or read the transcript.) 


Orville: A Dog Story
Written by Haven Kimmel, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker
Recommended for ages 6 and up

Orville spends all of his days chained in the yard and barking to tell the world how unhappy he is. But when Sally moves in across the street, Orville finds himself getting a second chance at life. Themes of stray animals, dog chaining, how dogs react to different people, and companionship are discussed.

Part of the RedRover Readers program.


Pole Dog
Written by Tres Seymour, illustrated by David Soman
Recommended for ages 6 and up

How does a dog become a “Pole Dog?"  This story follows the life of an older dog in the days after he is left by a pole along the highway until he is spotted by a family driving by. How the dog survives alone and how he feels are poignant themes in this realistic portrayal of the life of an abandoned dog. This book is a reminder of a dog’s unwavering desire for security. Themes of abandoning an animal and a animals need for security are discussed. 


Belle's Star
Written by Connie Gotsch, illustrated by John Cogan
Recommended for ages 7 and up

Told from a dog named Belle’s perspective, this chapter book is about a young dog who is mistreated by her first owners and finds herself in a loving home with people who understand and care for animals. Find out how Belle learns to trust new people and even saves a little girl because of the bond between them. This book offers young readers a glimpse of what dogs might be feeling and thinking in various situations. Themes of animal cruelty, abuse, trust and friendship are discussed. Belle’s Star has been nominated for a New Mexico Book Award. Themes of animal abandonment and friendship are discussed.


Meow Means Mischief
Written by Ann Whitehead Nagda, illustrated by Stephanie Roth
Recommended for ages 7 and up

In this chapter book, Rana is adjusting to a new town and new school. When her grandparents comes to visit from India, Rana is afraid of being different from everyone. A kitten whom Rana names Tiger helps Rana make friends and grow closer to her grandparents. Rana learns how to take care of Tiger and learns more about her Indian culture too. Responsible pet ownership, companionship and cultural diversity are themes discussed in this book.


Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog
Written by Sandra J. Gerencher, illustrated by Virginia Cody
Recommended for ages 7 and up

Find out how this shelter dog adjusts to his new home and what happens when he befriends a young boy with autism. This book invites the reader to explore the transition into a new environment from the dog’s perspective. The book is filled with softly blended watercolor photos. Themes of adoption, unconditional love and friendship are discussed.


The Very Best of Friends
Written by Margaret Wild
Recommended for ages 7 and up

When James died suddenly, his wife Jessie, in her grief, shuts her husband's cat, William, out of her life. But eventually Jessie opens herself up to William and tries to win his trust and affection.Themes of grieving and an underlying theme that all friendships need careful tending and generous amounts of love.


A Day, a Dog
Written by Gabrielle Vincent
Recommended for ages 7 and up

In remarkable black-and-white pencil drawings, the artist shows us the dog being heedlessly thrown out of a car, chasing after it fruitlessly and giving up, at last, unwittingly causing a major highway accident. Reviewers have described it as "a powerful documentary in picture-book form" and "a passionate condemnation of cruelty to animals and a work of art that shouldn't be missed." Themes of abandonment and animal cruelty are discussed.


Black Beauty
Written by Anna Sewell
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Young readers will follow Black Beauty’s fortunes, good and bad, with gentle masters as well as cruel. Children can easily make the leap from horse-human relationships to human-human relationships and begin to understand how their own consideration of others may be a benefit to all. Themes include animal neglect and cruelty and horse-human bond.


Hachiko Waits
Written by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Machiyo Kodaira
Recommended for ages 8 and up

This short chapter book supplemented by black-and-white illustrations tells the story of Hachiko, a dog who waits faithfully at the train station for his person to return, not knowing he has died. The station master and commuters step in to help care for Hachiko as he prefers the station to another home. Strangers donate funds to create a statue in his honor after the dog’s own death. The story shows how a bond develops when a person respects and understands a dog, and how much a dog in the community affects everyone who comes in contact with him. The book is based on a true story and includes an author’s note and a glossary of Japanese words. Themes of the close bond between one dog and his human companion, friendship, death and community involvement are discussed.


The MAGIC SQUAD and the Dog of Great Potential
Written by Mary Quattlebaum
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Calvin is a underachiever who is content to be average ... until the day he visits the local shelter and falls in love with a huge, friendly mutt with "great potential" named Train. Calvin's quest to train Train and find him a good home mirrors his own personal struggle to realize his own potential. Themes of self reflection and animal shelters and volunteers attempts to train dogs to help their chances of being adopted are discussed.


Phantom Stallion: The Wild One
Written by Terri Farley
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Sam moves from the city to live on her Dad’s ranch in Nevada where she encounters a mysterious mustang. Through Sam, readers learn about domesticated and wild horses and the difficult choices to be made for their care. They experience the strength of friendships among horses and people and the respect these friendships call for. This book is the first of a series. Themes of friendship and respect for domestic and wild horse are discussed.


Stealing Thunder
Written by Mary Casanova
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Libby has always wanted a horse of her own, and caring for her neighbor’s horse is the next best thing. When she discovers Thunder is being abused, Libby knows she has to rescue him, no matter what the risk! In this exciting adventure, Libby finds her own voice as she stands up for what she believes in a world of adults who think they know best. Themes of animal abuse and the human animal bond are discussed.


Straydog
Written by Kathe Koja
Recommended for ages 8 and up

High school misfit Rachel is content just volunteering at the local animal shelter and writing stories, until she meets a feral collie who inspires her to build relationships and confront her own emotions. Themes of volunteering, stray animals and relationship building are discussed.


Beautiful Joe a Dog’s Own Story
Written by Marshall Saunders
Recommended for ages 9 and up

This is a sweet story of a dog who has his tail and ears cut off by a dog abuser but ends up in a wonderful and loving home with a family who takes great care of him. The beginning of this book is quite violent and could frighten young readers, but the story does have a happy ending. This book highlights the treatment of animals and the power of a loving family.


One Unhappy Horse
Written by C.S. Adler
Recommended for ages 9 and up

Jan is dealing with the death of her father and then learns her horse needs an operation. Since her mother does not have enough money to pay for the operation, Jan must find other ways to help her friend get the care he needs. This is a heartwarming story of friendship between a girl and a horse. Themes covered include responsible pet care, the human-animal bond and caring for a sick animal.


The Lucky Tale of Two Dogs
Written by Cathy M. Rosenthal
Illustrated by Jessica Warrick
Recommended for ages 4 and up

This is a story about two dogs who live very different lives. One lucky dog has a wonderful family and is always loved. The other dog begins the story as an unlucky dog who does not get a lot of attention. Follow this dog as he is taken to an animal shelter, meets his loving new family and becomes a lucky dog as well. Themes of adoption, dog needs and responsible pet ownership are discussed.


The Happy Tale of Two Cats
Written by Cathy M. Rosenthal
Illustrated by Jessica Warrick
Recommended for ages 4 and up

This is a story about two cats who live very different lives. One happy cat has a wonderful family and is always loved. The other cat begins the story as an unhappy cat who does not get a lot of attention. Follow this cat as he is taken to an animal shelter, meets his loving new family and becomes a happy cat as well. Themes of adoption, cat needs and responsible pet ownership are discussed.


Maggie's Second Chance 
Written by Nancy Furstinger
Illustrated by Joe Hyatt
Recommended for ages 4 and up

This book follows a black dog named Maggie after her family moves and leaves her behind in the house. She is brought to an animal shelter where she soon delivers puppies and then watches as all of the puppies are adopted leaving her alone. A young boy learns of Maggie’s story and gets his whole class involved to help her. Find out how Maggie gets her second chance in this true story with compassion, adoption and youth involvement.


Rescue Pup
Written by Brenda Louise Fiorini
Recommended for ages 5 and up

Written in rhyme, this story is about a dog named Buddy who is abandoned in an empty house. He manages to escape from the house but faces challenges living outside and winds up living in an animal shelter. Buddy worries he won’t stand out from the other animals and find a forever home, but he meets his dream family and his fears disappear. Themes of responsible pet ownership and adoption are discussed.


Rescue Kitty
Written by Brenda Louise Fiorini
Recommended for ages 5 and up

Written in rhyme, this story is about a young boy who finds a stray cat named Cally. He discovers that Cally has kittens, and with his mom’s help he cares for the cats and finds them forever homes. Themes of responsible pet care and adoption are discussed.


Charlotte's Web
Written by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams
Recommened for age 8 and up

This is a timeless tale of a pig named Wilbur who learns about life from his barnyard friends, especially a beautiful black spider named Charlotte. A special friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur develops and every night Charlotte creates intricate spider webs with words written in them to help save Wilbur from being killed and eaten. The reader learns about friendship, compassion and animal behaviors in this remarkable story. Themes of friendship between barn yard animals and the cycle of life are discussed.


Mimi and Maty to the Rescue
Written by Written by Brooke Smith, Illustrated by Alli Arnold
Recommended for age 4 and up

Mimi loves animals and adopted her three-legged dog, Maty, from an animal shelter. Together they have made it their mission to help animals in need and rescue lost animals in their town. When a rat named Roger goes missing, Mimi and Maty jump into action to find him. Themes of animal rescue, responsible pet care and the human-animal bond are discussed.


Meet the Mutts
Written by Jena Ball
Recommended for ages 6 and up

In this heartwarming book, eight mixed-breed dogs explore challenges such as aging, bullying and stereotypes though stories told from their perspectives. Ms. Jenaia, a retired-school-teacher-turned-dog-trainer, is with the dogs on their adventures and offers help and guidance along the way. Themes of friendship and the human animal bond are discussed.


Montague: The Pit Bull of Park Avenue
Written by Mary Gregory, illustrated by Roger Kabler
Recommended for ages 6 and up

This book tells the story of Montague, a pit bull rescued by an upscale New Yorker. Montague gets lost in New York City and has many adventures with his new dog friends before finding his way home. Themes of responsible pet ownership and friendship are discussed.


The Good Dog
Written by Todd Kessler, Illustrated by Jennifer Gray Olson
Recommended for ages 5 and up

Ricky and his family adopt an adorable puppy named Tako. Ricky’s parents will only let Tako stay as long as he is a good dog and follows the rules. But when his new family is in jeopardy, the only way for Tako to protect them is to break the rules. This story has themes of adoption and decision making.


Millie and Cupcake
Written by Mildred Potash
Recommended for ages 2 and up

This story is about a young girl named Millie who finds a companion animal for the first time. But it is not the typical companion animal for most people! Cupcake is a rat, and Millie learns all about how to care for and love her new best friend. Themes of friendship and responsible pet care are discussed. 

 

Pet Loss

Forever Dog
Written by Bill Cochran, illustrated by Dan Andreasen
Recommended for ages 3 and up

A young boy named Mike works his way through the grieving process after his beloved dog Cory passes away. This book can help children understand the death of a pet and the feelings that often surround this experience. Soft illustrations bring the character’s emotions to life. It is probably a good idea to have a box of tissue handy when you read this book. Themes of friendship and pet loss are discussed.


Desser the Best Ever Cat
Written by Maggie Smith
Recommended for ages 3 and up

A touching story of Desser the cat, who comes to live with a man as a kitten, grows up as the man matures. Desser bonds with the man’s daughter, watching over her as a baby, playing with her as a young child, then one day Desser gets sick and dies. Themes of pet loss and the human-animal bond are discussed.


Goodbye Mousie
Written by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Jan Ormerod
Recommended for ages 3 and up

When a young boy’s pet mouse dies, he is in disbelief, then angry and sad. The boy’s family helps the young boy understand that Mousie is not alive anymore and together the boy and his family bury Mousie in the back yard. The young boy begins to accept Mousie’s death and expresses his emotions surrounding the death of his pet. Pet loss and grief are themes discussed in this story. 


Forever Buster: What a Name! What a Dog, We Exclaim!
Written by Martin Babbett, illustrated by Donna Burns
Recommended for ages 4 and up

When his beloved dog Buster passes away, Mr. Rabbett remembers him and shows the reader the beautiful relationship the two shared. Beautiful illustrations fill the pages. Adults and children are sure to enjoy this heartwarming children’s book. Themes of pet loss and human animal bond are discussed.


Saying Goodbye to Lulu
Written by Corinne Demas, illustrated by Ard Hoyt
Recommended for ages 4 and up

This is a very moving story of a young girl and her aging dog named Lulu. The girl recounts how Lulu and she used to play together when Lulu was younger. The bond between Lulu and the girl is very strong and depicted in several images throughout this book. When Lulu dies the girl is too sad to say goodbye. Time passes and she is able to say “Goodbye to Lulu.” Months later the girl and her family plan to get a new puppy. Grab a box of tissues before reading this one. Themes of pet loss, human-animal bond and aging are discussed.


The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
Written by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Erik Blegvad
Recommended for ages 4 and up

A young boy deals with his beloved cat Barney’s death. His family has a funeral and buries Barney in the garden. The boy thinks of nine good things he remembers about Barney. Where is Barney now, cat heaven or the ground? The boy asks his father. The boy’s father takes him out to garden and plant flowers and explains that Barney is now helping the flowers grow. Find out what the boy thinks the tenth good thing about Barney is in this touching story. Pet loss is the overall theme of this book.

 

Wildlife

Goose's Story
Written by Cari Best and illustrated by Holly Meade
Recommended for ages 3 and up

This colorful true tale is about a goose who has lost a foot and has to learn to balance, eat, swim and fly with only one foot. The goose learns to adapt to this challenge with the help of some supportive and compassionate humans and one understanding dog named Henry. Find out what else this goose can do by reading this remarkable story. Overcoming obstacles, seasons, animal behaviors and kindness are themes discussed in this book.


 Albuquerque Turkey
Adapted by B.G. Ford and illustrated by Lucinda McQueen
Recommended for ages 2 and up

This delightful book is about a man and a turkey who are friends. The turkey goes everywhere with the man but grows nervous when the man begins cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Read along and discover what alternative meal the two eat together at the end. This book discusses Thanksgiving dinner and friendship.


 Grady the Goose
Written by Denise Brennan-Nelson, illustrated by Michael Glenn Monroe
Recommended for ages 3 and up

When a young goose named Grady gets separated from his family and finds himself tangled in barbed wire and exhausted, a kind farmer helps him and releases him into a field where his family finds him. Themes of respecting wildlife are discussed.


Frank the Tank: An Adopted Dog Tale
Written by DJ Burk, Illustrated by Caitlyne Lopez
Recommended for ages 6 and up

This is a story about a shelter dog named Frank the Tank who gets adopted by a family. His family learns about Frank’s personality and how to properly care for their new dog. The book contains a glossary as well as discussion questions. Themes of responsible pet ownership and human animal bond are discussed. 


GambaAn Optimistic Mountain Gorilla Tale
Written by DJ Burk, Illustrated by Caitlyne Lopez
Recommended for ages 6 and up

Gamba is a young mountain gorilla whose family is teaching him how to survive in the forest. When tragedy strikes, Gamba must depend on humans for help. The book contains a glossary as well as discussion questions. Themes of human animal interaction and coexisting with wildlife are discussed. 


 Mali: A Rescued Asian Elephant Tale 
Written by DJ Burk, Illustrated by Caitlyne Lopez
Recommended for ages 6 and up

This story is about an elephant named Mali. She spends most of her life working for humans, until she is finally rescued and set free. She now lives at a sanctuary able to roam and play as she wishes. This story shows themes of human animal interaction as well as wildlife management. 


Armando: An Adventurous Nine-Banded Armadillo 
Written by DJ Burk, Illustrated by Caitlyne Lopez
Recommended for ages 6 and up

This is the story of an adventurous armadillo named Armando. He loves to explore new places while searching for food, and ends up in a family’s backyard. Follow Armando as he journeys back home to his family. The book contains a glossary as well as discussion questions. Themes of human animal interaction and wildlife management are discussed. 


Daphina: A Freed Bottlenose Dolphin Tale
Written by DJ Burk, Illustrated by Caitlyne Lopez
Recommended for ages 6 and up

Daphina is a bottlenose dolphin who was captured at sea and now lives in an aquarium doing tricks for humans. This is a story about her wish to be free, and how captivity has taken a toll on her health and happiness. The book contains a glossary as well as discussion questions. Themes of human animal interaction and captivity are discussed. 


Owl Moon
Written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr
Recommended for ages 3 and up

Owl Moon is a charming story about owling – or owl watching. One cold winter night, a father takes his daughter to search for the great horned owl. Follow the young girl as she learns owl behaviors and respect. 


* Denotes books in the RedRover Readers program that display accurate animal behaviors.