Teacher holding book in classroom

Recommended Books with Humane Themes

Animal-themed books to promote empathy for people and animals

Empathy through Literature

RedRover maintains lists of children's books that highlight the human-animal bond, depict accurate animal body-language, and promote empathy for animals and people.

Want to recommend a humane-themed book? 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). Book suggestions can be emailed to Readers@RedRover.org.

RedRover Readers
Program Books

Books about

Books about

Books about
Other Animals

Books about
Pet Loss

Books about

Books about Animal Behavior

Suggest a

Below is the list of books that are used in the RedRover Readers program. RedRover Readers has developed CASEL- and Common Core-aligned curriculum around these titles, provided after taking a RedRover Readers workshop.

Click here to download a list of the books in the RedRover Readers program.

PLEASE NOTE: RedRover Readers only maintains curriculum (Teaching Guides) for the books listed above.
Download a PDF version of the following list: RedRover's Recommended Books Humane Themes

Books about Dogs

A Home for Dixie
Written by Emma Jackson | Full-color photographs by Bob Carey
Recommended for ages 4 to 8

Written by a high school student who adopted a puppy named Dixie, the story follows Dixie from when she was found as a puppy, to a rescue group and finally into her forever home. Discusses how rescues work, the needs of puppies and how to adopt your own dog. Beautiful photographs accompany a simple and heartfelt story.

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 the diversity of humans and different breeds of dogs are sure to arise while reading this book.

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 explored.

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 a dog being heedlessly thrown out of a car, chasing after it fruitlessly and 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 depicted.

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.

Because of Winn-Dixie
Written by Kate DiCamillo
Recommended for ages 9 and up

Rescuing an animal can be an act of heroism, and so much more. This 2001 Newbery Honor book is a story about a young girl, Opal, who is lonely until the day a dog wrecks a grocery store and Opal decides to adopt him as her own. Through the dog, who she names after the grocery store, Winn-Dixie, Opal discovers that everyone has a story and that by telling those stories, we learn from one another.

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 depicted.

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, abandonment, trust, and friendship are explored. Belle’s Star has been nominated for a New Mexico Book Award.

Buddy Unchained
Written by Daisy Bix | Illustrated 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 depicted. Part of the RedRover Readers program. (Listen to an audio clip of a volunteer reading this story or read the transcript.)

Cheering for the Underdog Cheering for the Underdog: A Rescue Dog's Quest
Written by Alexandra Bach-Weidmuller | Illustrated by Justo Borrero
Recommended for ages 8-12

Sofie introduces you to her friends and describes the path that lucky rescue dogs follow: from their arrival in a shelter to being nurtured by caring foster parents, and finally finding their perfect spot in a forever home. There is a lot to learn for the reader along the way.

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 explored.

In simple, poetic language, Cookie’s Fortune depicts a stray dog as she searches for food, shelter, and comfort. The stray dog’s quest will engage children, their parents, teachers, and librarians with its message of hope and compassion. The story is based on the author’s own adoption of a dog she saved from a subway station. Part of the RedRover Readers program.
Danny Dog
Written by Sid Shapira | Illustrated by Izzy Bean
Recommended for ages 4 and up

This is the heartwarming story of a rescue dog who needs a forever home after being found wandering on the street. The little dog endured dashed hopes and disappointment before finally finding his forever home. It is a positive story geared towards children ages 4-8. Topics include the role of pet rescue organizations and the importance of giving animals a second chance.

Written by Andrew Clements | Illustrated by Tim Bowers
Recommended for ages 4 and up

A heartwarming story about a dog who finds his forever home. This book 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 are explored.

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 explored.

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 explored.
No longer in print — retired from the RedRover Readers program.

Fred Stays With Me!
Written by Nancy 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.

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 explored.

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 heartwarming story to find out what else happens to Hachiko. Themes of loyalty, death, and remembering are explored.

Harley Saves the Day Book cover: a dog looking at a burning building Harley Saves the Day
Written by Karen Patterson | Illustrated by Nina Robichaud
Recommended for ages 7 and up

Harley is a loving dog with a big body and a loud bark. When Anthony adopts him from the animal shelter in town, the two immediately become best friends. It comes as a surprise when they encounter neighbors on their morning walk who are frightened by Harley's physical features.

JJ the American Street Dog
Written by Diane Rose-Solomon | Illustrated by Rachel Cellinese
Recommended for ages 4 and up

This is the story of JJ, a stray dog who is found on a soccer field at the same time a family is looking to adopt a new dog. A family takes JJ in and attempts are made to find who JJ might belong to. The main character is a little girl who becomes attached to JJ. She worries when a woman comes to see if the stray dog might be her dog who is lost. The little girl wants to keep JJ. This story includes a visit to the veterinarian with accurate information about caring for dogs. Themes of stray animals, spay and neutering, and adoption are explored.

"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.
Lily Unleashed cover
Lily Unleashed
Written by J.D. Kloster
Recommended for ages 9-14
When sixth-grader Lily Grabowski takes in her teacher's puppy-mill rescue dog without parental permission, it sets off a chain of events that challenges her dog smarts, self-esteem, and ideas about what it means to be a true friend.
As Lily's heart opens to this tiny dog, complications mount. Cagney howls all day because of separation anxiety. Lily's nemesis neighbor threatens to call the dog warden about a noise nuisance. BFF drama threatens Lily's class project on why underdogs matter. Lily's over-protective mom issues a thirty-day ultimatum, and Lily's guilty conscience grows while a broken promise looms. Middle grade novel.
Love That Dog
Written by Sharon Creech
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, won't stop giving her class poetry assignments—and Jack can't avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns that he does have something to say.

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 explored in this book. 

No longer in print — retired from the RedRover Readers program. 

Luke's Story
Written by Susan Beattie | Illustrated by Sandra Thompson
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Luke was abandoned on the side of the road with a serious illness. After being rescued and nursed back to health, he finds his forever home with a jewelry store owner named Greg. Luke becomes the jewelry store’s door greeter, and the once scared and shy puppy soon grows into a charming, posh dog. Follow Luke on his many adventures around the jewelry store and out in the community. Themes of friendship and caring between a man and his dog are explored.

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.

Max Talks to Me

Written by Claire Buchwald | Illustrated by Karen Ritz
Recommended for ages 4 and up

A boy and his dog Max are true friends -- the kind that shares 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, they 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 their 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. Part of the RedRover Readers program.

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 through 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 include friendship and the human-animal bond.

Mimi and Maty to the Rescue
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 include animal rescue, responsible pet care, and the human-animal bond.
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 include responsible pet ownership and friendship.

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 gives 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 depicted.

Mutt Dog
Written by Stephen Michael 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 include responsible pet care and stray animals.

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 included in this book.
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 explored. 


No longer in print — retired from the RedRover Readers program.

Our Very Own Dog: Taking Care of Your First Pet
Written by Amanda McCardie | Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino
Recommended for ages 3-7
There’s nothing more exciting than getting a dog! Join Sophie’s new human family as they prepare their home for her and introduce her to life as a beloved pet. Follow along as they learn about bedding and bowls, treats and training, walks and washing—and even an unexpected dog show! Factual notes run alongside the simple story, offering tips that will help turn tentative dog adopters into doting experts.
Please Puppy Please
Written by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee | Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Recommended for ages 3-8
In page after page of tail-wagging fun, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, Beacon Award-winning producer Tonya Lewis Lee, take a close-up look at what happens when a couple of high-energy toddlers meet their match in an adventurous pup who has no plans of letting up.
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 animals' need for security are depicted.

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 include responsible pet ownership and adoption.

Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship
Written by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes | Illustrated by Scott Magoon
Recommended for ages 5 and up
Journey through the imagined mind of a newly trained service dog whose life took a different path than he expected and experience just how powerful the human-animal bond can be when he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she'd imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that – together – they find a path forward, one step at a time. Part of the RedRover Readers program.
Rufo liberado
Spanish-Language Edition of Buddy Unchained
Written by Daisy Bix | Illustrated by Joe Hyatt
Recommended for ages 6 and up
Book cover of Sad, the Dog. A tiny pitbull dog looks up into the sky in a leaf-covered backyard, under a tree, all alone Sad, the Dog
Written by Sandy Fussell | Illustrated by Tull Suwannakit
Recommended for ages 3-7

Mr. and Mrs. Cripps feed their dog, wash him, and even clean inside his ears. But they don't give him a name. So the dog names himself Sad. What will it take to make Sad, the dog, happy?

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 include adoption, unconditional love, and friendship.

Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs
Written by Michaela Muntean | Introduction by Kate DiCamillo, author of Because Winn-Dixie | Photographs by K. C. Bailey and Stephen Kazmierski
Recommended for ages 4 to 8

This is the story of a circus stunt performer who, because of injuries, has to reinvent himself. He adopts dogs from the shelter and finds out what they want to do by caring for and working with them. Soon he has an act that is sought after by many circuses. The dogs were there for him while he healed, and he is there for them. He really gets to know the dogs and allows them to be themselves.

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 volunteerism, stray animals, and relationship building are explored.

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.

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 include adoption, dog needs, and responsible pet ownership.

Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me
Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me
Written by Eloise Greenfield | Illustrated by Ehsan Abdollahi
Recommended for ages 4-8
Thinker isn't an average puppy - he's a poet. So is his owner, Jace. Together, they turn the world around them into a verse. There's just one problem: Thinker has to keep quiet in public and he can't go to school with Jace. That is, until Pet's Day. But when Thinker is allowed into the classroom, at last, he finds it hard to keep his true identity a secret. Themes include identity, social awareness, self-awareness, personality, and poetry. Part of the RedRover Readers program.
The MAGIC SQUAD and the Dog of Great Potential
Written by Mary Quattlebaum
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Calvin is an 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, animal shelters, volunteerism, and how training dogs can increase the chances of adoption are explored.

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

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

Tiffany Rolls On book cover: a tiny dog in the basket of a bicycle Tiffany Rolls On
Written by Stephanie Itle-Clark | Illustrated by Rhonda Van
Recommended for ages 4 and up

Meet tiny Tiffany and her big personality in this touching story of compassion, determination, and triumph. Readers will discover the dark and dank place (a puppy mill) where Tiffany began her life, and experience her rescue, and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Too Many Dogs
Written by Karen J. Roberts | Illustrated by Jen Griggs Sebastian
Recommended for ages 2 and up

This book is inspired by a true story involving a criminal cruelty seizure case and describes dogs of all shapes and sizes trying to get along while living in a tiny house. Rhyming will appeal to younger audiences. “Officers and nice people” come to the door to help and soon their lives change. The book includes details about the care and feeding of dogs.

Two Bobbies: The True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival
Written by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery | Illustrated by Jean Cassels
Recommended for ages 4 to 8

Based on a true story, Bobbi the dog and Bob Cat, both tail-less, wander for months in storm-ravaged New Orleans. A construction worker finds them and takes them to the shelter set up for stray animals. It is clear that they are best friends who never want to be apart and finally we learn why—Bob Cat is blind and Bobbi is her seeing-eye dog! They are taken in by Best Friends Animal Society where they find their forever home.

What's in a Woof?
Written by Julie Hundman | Illustrated by Elizabeth Wright
Recommended for ages 2 and up

This fun and colorful book is about understanding your dog’s special ways of communicating. It is a positive narrative geared towards both younger children and children learning how to read. Themes of kindness, understanding, and curiosity are explored - there is even a short section at the end where children can color in pictures of dogs seen throughout this fun book.

Worzel Says Hello! Will you be my friend?
Written by Catherine Pickles | Illustrated by Chantal Bourgonje
Recommended for ages 5-7

In Worzel Says Hello!, Catherine and her Lurcher, Worzel, take you on a journey, where you will gain an understanding of how dogs think and feel so that all children can have a wonderful relationship with the dogs in their lives, and all dogs can feel happy, safe, and loved.

Books about Cats

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.
No longer in print — retired from the RedRover Readers program.
Cat Care Heroes - Book Cover image Cat Care Heroes
Written by Julie Hundman | Illustrated by Elizabeth Wright

Cat Care Heroes provides a gentle introduction to the basics of humane education. The story will immediately capture the interest of young readers and keep them engaged all the way to the surprise ending. Beginning readers will relate to the animals and children appealingly portrayed in this chapter book. The book's illustrated glossary features playful, curious cats who invite the reader to follow them on a path of new words and concepts that aid reading comprehension.

Cat on the Bus
Written and illustrated by Aram Kim
Recommended for ages 2-6

Follow a stray cat as she braves the snowy city streets to find a home in this nearly-wordless picture book. A calico cat with curious eyes cautiously approaches a grocery store...only to be shooed away by the owner with a broom. She keeps wandering, and tries to climb on a city bus-- but the driver tells her to SCRAM! This heartwarming picture book features a simple text, heavy with onomatopoeia, and striking, bold illustrations that carry the story, depicting the charming cat’s range of emotions. See how a simple act of kindness can change lives forever. Young readers will empathize with the strong emotional content—hunger, loneliness, and rejection, giving way to contentment and joy—and delight in the expressive illustrations.

Dewey the Library Cat: A True Story
Written by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter
Recommended for ages 8 to 12

The power of pets to inspire and comfort us knows no bounds, and the story of a tiny kitten left in a library’s drop box, adopted by the library, and embraced by the whole world is a perfect example. Dewey Readmore Books, as the kitten was eventually named, was half-frozen and suffered from a genetic condition—but lived a long and comfortable life in the library of Spencer, Iowa, and eventually attaining worldwide fame, becoming a symbol of hope by overcoming adversity and proof positive that one small cat could change a town, one reader at a time.
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 depicted. 

No longer in print — retired from the RedRover Readers program.

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 animal’s feelings, responsible pet ownership, and patience are depicted.

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 depicted. 

No longer in print — retired from the RedRover Readers program.

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 only when Goyangi returns that Soo Min finally feels at home with her new family. Themes of adoption, friendship, and companionship are depicted.

Hate That Cat
Written by Sharon Creech
Recommended for ages 8 and up

In Hate That Cat, Jack is only trying to save that fat black cat stuck in the tree by his bus stop—but the cat scratches him instead! At school, Miss Stretchberry begins teaching new poems, everything from William Carlos Williams to Valerie Worth to T.S. Eliot. As the year progresses, Jack gradually learns to love that cat and finds new ways to express himself.

Kitten Caboodle
Written by Paige Grant | Illustrated by Lisa Carol Williams
Recommended for ages 5 and up

When Tessa’s Dad came home with a box of six little kittens he’d found on the side of the road, Tessa ended up with much more than two cuddly friends to keep for herself. Tessa’s Dad showed her how to care for them by providing a warm place to sleep, food and water, and a clean litter pan. Tessa’s Mom also taught her what it meant to socialize kittens so they’d be ready for adoption, as well as the importance of having them fixed so there wouldn’t be more abandoned kitties like them. Themes include pet responsibility, fostering and adoption, and spaying/neutering.

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 included.

No longer in print — retired from the RedRover Readers program.

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 come 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 explored in this book.

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 included in this book.
Nobody's Cats: How One Little Black Kitty Came in from the Cold
Written by Valerie Ingram & Alistair Schroff | Illustrated by Hadley Hutton
Recommended for ages 6 and up
A little black kitty and many others like him roam the community without food, shelter or love. To some neighbors, they are known as "nobody's cats." When a young boy notices these cold and hungry cats, he takes it upon himself to ask questions and learn how he could make a difference in their lives. With help from some adults in the community, the boy is able to provide for these cats in need. The boy's family gives the little black kitty a forever home and the boy continues to show the community how to be a superhero for the community cats just like he is. Themes include stray and feral cats, curiosity, and respect for animals. Part of the RedRover Readers program.
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 include responsible pet care and adoption.

Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence
Written by Sonja Thomas
Recommended for ages 8-12

Twelve-year-old Mira’s summer is looking pretty bleak. Her best friend Thomas moved away. Her dad is job searching and he’s been super down lately. Her phone screen cracked after a home science experiment gone wrong. And of all people who could have moved in down the street, Mira gets stuck with Tamika Smith, her know-it-all nemesis who’s kept Mira in second place at the school science fair four years running.

Mira’s beloved cat, Sir Fig Newton, has been the most stable thing in her life lately, but now he seems off, too. With her phone gone and no internet over the weekend at her strict Gran’s house, Mira must research Fig’s symptoms the old-fashioned way: at the library. She determines that he has “the silent cat killer” diabetes. A visit to the vet confirms her diagnosis.

When Mira’s parents tell her they may have to give Fig up to people who can afford his treatment, Mira insists she can earn the $2,000 needed within a month. Armed with ingenuity, determination, and one surprising ally, can Mira save her best (four-legged) friend before it’s too late? Middle-grade novel.

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 depicted. Part of the RedRover Readers program.

Scrawny Cat book cover: an orange, scrawny cat sits on the beach overlooking the water Scrawny Cat
Written by Phyllis Root | Illustrated by Alison Friend
Recommended for ages 4-8

A lonely cat, a rainy night, and an empty dinghy launch a heartwarming, seafaring tale about finding home in unlikely places. The scrawny cat used to belong to someone, someone who scratched his ears and let him lick her chin and knew his name. Now the only thing anyone ever calls him is "get out of here!"

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 include adoption, cat needs, and responsible pet ownership.

The Upstairs Cat
Written by Jaimi Ilama | Illustrated by Audrey Miller
Recommended for ages 2 and up

This is the story of how a cat’s life changes when her “boy” goes off to college. She spent her whole life with her boy upstairs but now realizes that he may not return for a while. Curious and brave, she explores the rest of the house and meets other family members, both animal and human, who are ready to show her love. Themes include the human-animal bond and cat behavior.

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. An underlying theme that all friendships need careful tending and generous amounts of love is explored.

Book Cover of Marvin: Trap King for a Day. Illustration of a Black man and a young Black boy in front of a van that says Trap King Marvin: Trap King for a Day
Written by Elysa Rubee | Illustrated by Rachel Martin
Recommended for ages 6 and up

Marvin has the adventure of his life when he rescues a baby kitten from the creek at a neighborhood park and is crowned Trap King for a Day. Topics include how to TNR (trap, neuter, and return) community cats.

Books about Other Animals

Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend
Written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud | Illustrated by John Holyfield
Recommended for ages 5-8

When Alex spies a mule chomping on greens in a nearby garden, he can’t help but ask about it. “Ol’ Belle?” says Miz Pettway. “She can have all the collards she wants. She’s earned it.” And so begins the tale of an ordinary mule in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, that played a singular part in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. When African-Americans in a poor community — inspired by a visit from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — defied local authorities who were trying to stop them from registering to vote, many got around a long, imposed detour on mule-drawn wagons. As Alex looks into the eyes of gentle Belle, he begins to understand a significant time in history in a very personal way.

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.

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. Topics in this book include a horse rescue, practical information about caring for a horse, and the compassionate bond between Lucky and Mel. Part of the RedRover Readers program.
Charlotte's Web
Written by E.B. White | Illustrated by Garth Williams
Recommended 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 and compassion in this remarkable story. Themes include friendship, kindness, and the cycle of life.

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 include animal appreciation and coexisting with wildlife.

Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos
Written by Monica Brown | Illustrated by John Parra

Recommended for ages 5 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 include animal appreciation and coexisting with wildlife.

Hens for Friends
Written by Sandy De Lisle | Illustrated by Amelia Hansen
Recommended for ages 3 to 7
When Aaron and his family decide to adopt six hens, they learn about the responsibilities that come with raising backyard hens. Aaron develops a close friendship with a hen named Margaret. Readers learn interesting facts about hens and about the benefits of having hens for friends. The bold, culturally diverse illustrations bring this story to life. Themes include responsible pet ownership, the welfare of farm animals, and friendship. Part of the RedRover Readers program.
Book cover of Hello, Horse: a girl riding a horse Hello Horse
Written by Vivian French | Illustrated by Catherine Rayner
Recommended for ages 5-8

A gentle introduction to horses will draw both committed horse lovers and those who need a little reassurance before jumping into the saddle. I have a friend named Catherine, and she has a horse named Shannon. "Come and meet her," Catherine says.

Jeannie Houdini
Written by Mary-Ann Stouck | Illustrated by Rebecca Evans
Recommended for ages 3-7
Twins Martina and Mateo wanted a hamster as a pet but find caring for Jeannie a chore. Their younger sister, Sophia, loves Jeannie and sets out to solve the mystery of why Jeannie continues to escape from her cage. Sophia decides that Jeannie keeps escaping because she’s bored. Sophia sets out to enrich Jeannie’s life and, in the process, the two become fast friends. Jeannie Houdini is a story of a growing friendship and responsible decision-making. The book is also instructive about the needs of small animal companions, often referred to as pocket pets. 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.

Mango, Abuela, and Me
Written by Meg Medina Illustrated by Angela Dominguez

Recommended for ages 6 and up

Mia’s abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can’t read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Mia then sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has the perfect idea for how to help them all communicate a little better. This story is an endearing tale about learning new things and the love that bonds family members.

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 include friendship and responsible pet care.

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 included in this book.


No longer in print — retired from the RedRover Readers program.

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. The themes covered include responsible pet care, the human-animal bond, and caring for a sick animal.

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 feral horses and the difficult choices to be made for their care. They experience the strength of friendship 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” or feral horses are explored.

Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life
Written by Beverly Brenna | Illustrated by Tara Anderson
Recommended for ages 8-12

Narrated by Jeannie and Sapphire (a hamster) in alternating chapters, Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life is a touching middle-grade novel by award-winning author Beverley Brenna that explores themes of family, friendship, togetherness, and self-identity. With a cast that includes a transgender neighbor, a father coming out as gay, and a realistic protagonist who will appeal to fans of Ramona Quimby, Brenna's latest offering is an age-appropriate introduction to some difficult subjects that also abounds with humor and poignancy.

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 explored.

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 explored. Part of the RedRover Readers program.
Waiting for the Biblioburro
Written by Monica Brown | Illustrated by John Parra
Recommended for ages 6 and up
Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother to fall asleep. However, her village only has a few books and she’s already read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the sound of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros with all the books a little girl could dream of reading and inspiration to write a story of her own

Books about Pet Loss

Albuquerque Turkey
Written by B.G Ford | Illustrated by Lucinda McQueen
Recommended for ages 2 and up

This delightful book is about a man and 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.

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 include pet loss and the human-animal bond.

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 include pet loss and human-animal bond.

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 include friendship and pet loss.

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 backyard. 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 explored in this story.

Book cover of Sammy in the Sky: a young boy in overalls petting a big dog, who is kissing the boy's face Sammy in the Sky
Written by Barbara Walsh | Illustrated by Jamie Wyeth
Recommended for ages 4-8

A deeply affecting tale of love, loss, and remembrance -- told in clear-eyed prose by a top journalist and
Illustrated by a renowned American painter. Sammy, the best hound dog in the whole wide world, loves his girl and she loves him

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 explored.

Sonya's Chickens
Written and Illustrated by Phoebe Wahl
Recommended for ages 3 and up

Sonya raises her three chickens from the time they are tiny chicks. Under her care, the chicks grow into hens and even give Sonya a wonderful gift: an egg! One night, Sonya hears noises coming from the chicken coop and discovers that one of her hens has disappeared. Where did the hen go? What happened to her? When Sonya discovers the answers, she learns some important truths about the interconnectedness of nature and the true joys and sorrows of caring for another creature. Themes include loss and the circle of life — some images of a fox with a chicken in his mouth may be upsetting to children.

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.

Books about Wildlife

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 explored.

Birdsong Birdsong
Written and illustrated Julie Flett
Recommended for ages 3-8

When Katherena and her mother move to a small town, Katherena feels lonely and out of place. But when she meets an elderly woman artist who lives next door, named Agnes––her world starts to change. Katherena and Agnes share the same passions for arts and crafts, birds, and nature. But as the seasons change, can Katherna navigate the failing health of her new friend?

Coyotes in the Crosswalk
Written by Diane Swanson | Illustrated by Douglas Penhale
Recommended for ages 9-12

Explores the lives of animals--from rats to falcons--that have made their homes in cities, describing their urban ecosystems and interaction with humans.

Daisy and the Dirty Dozen
Written and illustrated by Brian Wallace

This heartwarming story is about a female mallard duck and her 12 ducklings that take up residence in a suburban family's swimming pool. The Wallace family takes the 13 ducks "under their wing" and is able to watch a mother duck care for her ducklings right from their kitchen window. The ducks also provide the Wallace family with the opportunity to learn more about wildlife and how to enjoy sharing their yard with a family of ducks.

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 explored.

Dr. Rosie Helps the Animals Cover Dr. Rosie Helps the Animals
Written by Jennifer Wellborn | Illustrated by Rozilla MH
Recommended for ages 4-8

Rosie, an African American girl, loves watching her mom, a veterinarian, take care of all kinds of animals. She especially enjoys learning about the animals and helping them get better. When Rosie takes a rest from asking lots of questions, she finds herself in a dream where she meets an octopus, a crocodile, a giraffe, and several other animals each of whom has a common childhood affliction. One by one, Rosie uses her knowledge- based on real treatments used by veterinarians- to help each animal.

Gamba: An 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 explored.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
Written and Illustrated by Kenard Pak
Recommended for ages 4-7

As trees sway in the cool breeze, blue jays head south, and leaves change their colors, everyone knows--autumn is on its way! Join a young girl as she takes a walk through forest and town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with every flower and creature and gust of wind, she says goodbye to summer and welcomes autumn.

Goose's Story
Written by Cari Best | 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 behavior, and kindness are themes explored in this book.

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.

Book cover of Hoot Hoot
Written by Carl Hiaasen
Recommended for ages 10 and up

Everybody loves Mother Paula’s pancakes. Everybody, that is, except the colony of cute but endangered owls that live on the building site of the new restaurant. Can the awkward new kid and his feral friend prank the pancake people out of town? Or is the owls’ fate cemented in pancake batter?

Book cover of If the World Were 100 Animals If the World Were 100 Animals
Written by Miranda Smith | Illustrated by Aaron Cushley
Recommended for ages 4-8

With around 20 quintillion animals on Earth, it’s impossible to know everything about them all! However, if we shrink that number down to 100, we can picture a global park that lets us learn about our fellow living creatures. An accessible introduction to our planet’s creatures, perfect for fact-hungry animal lovers!

Janey Monarch Seed cover: girl in overalls in garden, looking at monarch butterflies Janey Monarch Seed
Written by Julie Dunlap, Illustrated by Dana Simson
Recommended for ages 5-7

Janey Monarch Seed is a gentle tall tale of a girl determined to make a difference for imperiled Monarch butterflies, by planting seeds of milkweeds from Texas to Quebec. It’s a long, tough journey, but one that’s filled with adventure and natural beauty, new friends, and big dreams.

Jayden's Impossible Garden Jayden's Impossible Garden
Written by Mélina Mangal, Illustrated by Ken Daley
Recommended for ages 4-9

Amidst all the buildings, people, and traffic in his neighborhood, Jayden sees nature everywhere: the squirrels scrounging, the cardinals calling, and the dandelions growing. But Mama doesn’t believe there’s nature in the city. So Jayden sets out to help Mama see what he sees. With the help of his friend Mr. Curtis, Jayden plants the seeds of a community garden and brings together his neighbors—and Mama—to show them the magic of nature in the middle of the city.

Book Cover: Look Up! Birdwatching in Your Own Backyard Look Up! Birdwatching in Your Own Backyard
Written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate
Recommended for grades 8-12

This conversational, humorous introduction to bird-watching encourages kids to get outdoors with a sketchbook and really look around. Quirky full-color illustrations portray dozens of birds chatting about their distinctive characteristics, including color, shape, plumage, and beak and foot types, while tongue-in-cheek cartoons feature banter between birds, characters, and the reader. Interactive and enjoyable tips bring an age-old hobby to new life for the next generation of bird-watchers.

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.

Night of the Spadefoot Toads
Written by Bill Harley
Recommended for ages 8-12 (chapter book)

An inspiring story of intergenerational friendship, activism, and how our actions can drastically impact our environment. When his father takes a new job in Massachusetts, Ben Moroney must leave behind his best friend Tony, a western banded gecko named Lenny and his home. Unexpectedly, he finds a kindred spirit in his eccentric fifth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets. She introduces him to the rare and elusive Eastern spadefoot toads that make their home on her rural property. As Ben's obsession with saving the spadefoot toads' habitat grows, his schoolwork and his relationships with his family and new friends suffer. But just when it seems things can't get any worse, Ben finds a way to meet his responsibilities to the people around him and demonstrates the importance of even the smallest efforts to save the earth's rapidly disappearing habitats. Middle-grade novel.

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyo Mermaid Story
Written by Tina Cho | Illustrated by Jess X. Snow
Recommended for ages 5-8

A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.

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 behavior and respect for wildlife.

Pollinator Man
Written by Ashoke Mohanraj | Illustrated by Minha Aamir
Recommended for ages 4-10

Pollinators are in danger and they need our help! Pollinator Man is a crime-fighting superhero looking for a team of Pollinator Protectors to help him stop the forces of evil trying to destroy our environment! The story of Pollinator Man teaches kids the importance of protecting our pollinators and encourages them to get outside to complete a series of interactive and engaging side missions that are designed to support pollinator conservation.

Secret Place
Written by Eva Bunting | Illustrated by Ted Rand
Recommended for ages 4-7

A small boy finds a secret place in the city that he shares with a white egret, mallards, and even ducklings.

The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter
Written and Illustrated by Shabazz Larkin
Recommended for ages 3-7

The Thing About Bees is a love poem from a father to his two sons, and a tribute to the bees that pollinate the foods we love to eat. Children are introduced to different kinds of bees, “how not to get stung,” and how the things we fear are often things we don’t fully understand.

Whale Trails, Before and Now
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome | Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Recommended for ages 5-9

Whale-watching is a hugely popular pastime: at least 13 million people take whale-watching trips each year. But in the past, whaling ships hunted these animals to use their blubber for fuel and their bones for fishing hooks. As the whale population thinned, fortunately hunting ceased. Now, whale lovers go out on boats just to get a glimpse of these giant endangered creatures. Narrated by a little girl out on the waves with her father, this is a story of marine history and the differences between then and now.

What I Like About Toads
Written by Judy Hawes | Illustrated by James and Ruth McCrea
Recommended for ages 5-9

A youngster tells why he likes toads, especially the one in his garden, and reminds us that a single toad can eat 10,000 insects and 2,000 cutworms in a summer.

Books about Animal Behavior & Emotions

Books on our Animal Behavior list are non-fiction books that provide additional knowledge about animal behavior, especially communication, since this is so critical for building good relationships with animals. Click here for more information about the Animal Behavior & Emotions and Human Behavior & Emotions that can be found in the RedRover Readers program.

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.

How to Talk to Your Cat
Written by Jean Craighead George | Illustrated by Paul Meisel
Recommended for ages 4 to 8

This book teaches readers how to better communicate with cats and understand what they are saying through body language. What does it mean when a cat purrs? Or meows? Or moves their whiskers? Animal behavior is explained in a way that is easy to understand, combined with colorful illustrations that demonstrate cat behavior.

How to Speak Dog
Written by Sarah Whitehead Photography by John Daniels
Recommended for ages 9 and up

How to Speak Dog is a guide to responsible pet ownership, companionship, and communication. Learn how to identify when a dog is happy, angry, or fearful by understanding their vocalizations and body language from their ears to their tail. Find helpful tips on creating a healthy, happy and safe home, talking with your four-legged family member, teaching tricks, and playing together. Detailed language and bright photos make this a fun and easy-to-follow tool for both new and experienced pet owners.

How to Speak Cat
Written by Sarah Whitehead Photography by John Daniels
Recommended for ages 9 and up

How to Speak Cat is a guide to responsible pet ownership, companionship, and communication. Learn to communicate with cats, often mysterious and misunderstood creatures, by understanding their vocalizations and body language from their ears to their tail. Find helpful tips on creating a healthy, happy and safe home, playing and talking with your four-legged family member. Detailed language and bright photos make this a fun and easy-to-follow tool for both new and experienced pet owners.

Worzel Goes for a Walk! Will you Come, Too?
Written by Catherine Pickles | Illustrated by Chantal Bourgonje
Recommended for ages 5-7

This book tells the story of a child and a dog going for a walk told from the dog’s point of view in an easy-reading rhythmical style. As explained by Worzel, an enormous Lurcher with ‘issues,’ new experiences can be very scary for him, although he really, really does want to go on exciting walks. The illustrations will educate readers, showing them the secret language of dogs, and will help children learn how to walk dogs in a safe and responsible way.