Last month we shared a lengthy list of books for cat lovers, so it’s only fair that we give dogs a turn. Where would we be without their lovable slurps, silly tail wags, and unwavering loyalty? So whether you and your family have a house full of dogs, or you just like to admire them from afar, these are the books for you.
As always, we have included titles for all levels. We always encourage families to visit their local public libraries, but below are links included in case you’d like to purchase books (or just to learn more about them).
Stormy: A Story About Finding a Forever Home by Guojing
This book will probably make you cry, and in the very best way possible. A gorgeously illustrated wordless picture book, it features a sweet and scraggly stray dog. A patient and kind woman notices it in the park one day, and takes her time gaining its trust. The two form a beautiful bond, which is tested one day when a terrible storm arrives.
Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings
If Stormy makes you cry, Can I Be Your Dog? will completely melt your heart, but with a couple giggles along the way. Arfy is a stray dog (who can apparently read and write) and is seeking a home amongst the residents of Butternut Street. He is polite, thoughtful, but not having
Early Reader/First Chapter Books
Biscuit Goes to School by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories
What child hasn’t dreamed of taking their pet to school? It’s easy to imagine that dogs feel the same way, especially when they look at you with those eyes as you leave the house. Biscuit definitely didn’t want to be left behind, and found a way to surprise everyone. This book is one in a classic series, so readers will have plenty more to look forward to.
Charlie & Mouse Lost and Found by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes
This book somehow manages to be relatable, funny, inclusive, and adorable - all using language that is perfect for emerging readers. Charlie and Mouse go about their everyday life; searching for a lost blanket, going for errands with their mother, and (of course) falling in love with a lost dog. While the dog only stays with them for a little while, it sure makes a big impression. We especially love the page when Charlie and Mouse’s parents debate a big decision in front of their children.
Bear by Ben Queen and Joe Todd-Stanton
Patrick is 28 years old, lives alone, and repairs vending machines for a living. He’s also blind. When he decides a guide dog might be right for him, he ends up matched with Bear, a two-year-old lab-retriever mix. The two are perfectly suited to one another, and share a deep and special bond. One day, Bear begins to lose his own eyesight, which triggers the beginning of several challenging (yet beautiful) journeys.
Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter
Maggie just wants to feel a little less alone. Her twin brothers have each other and her parents are hyper-focused on a new baby that will soon join the family. Could getting a dog be the answer to her troubles? She pins all her hopes on a new pet, until she learns she is seriously allergic. She learns some lessons the hard way, but develops resilience, friendships, and bonds with her siblings along the way…in addition to finding a solution to her dilemma!
Middle Grade Fiction
Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac
This book written in verse is both timely and relatable. Malian takes a trip to visit her grandparents on a Wabanaki reservation. She loves spending time with them, but the whole world grinds to a halt with the arrival of the coronavirus in early 2020, and Malian ends up staying longer than she’d planned. A dog named Malsum shows up and becomes a part of her story. When everyone was adjusting to a new normal around the globe, some communities were reminded of complicated and painful parts of their collective past. This beautiful story illustrates how families care for one another in difficult times, and how the companionship of animals brings us more than we sometimes expect.
Both Can Be True by Jules Machias
A Pomeranian in need of rescue is central in this story about two middle schoolers who find themselves dealing with the complexities of growing up. Ash is non-binary (sometimes feeling like a boy and other times like a girl), which makes life pretty challenging. Daniel cries a lot and wishes he didn’t. Chewbarka needs to be cared for after being whisked away from a shelter that was going to euthanize him, so the two children team up to help. Feelings, misunderstandings, and society’s expectations complicated the situation as Daniel and Ash find their way.
Bringing Back the Wolves: How a Predator Restored An Ecosystem by Jude Isabella, illustrated by Kim Smith
“In the late 1800s, The American government offered money - a bounty - to encourage people to hunt top predators: cougars, grizzly bears and wolves. The goal was to tame the West, the heart of cattle ranching, and rid the landscape of all threats to livestock. The results: hunters killed so many wolves that by 1926 there were no wolf packs left in Yellowstone National Park.” This book teaches readers about the importance of apex predators, how they affect local ecosystems and food webs, and what scientists and conservationists began doing at the end of the twentieth century to fix mistakes that had been made in the past. The trickle effect of wolves returning to Yellowstone has been astounding and will fascinate and educate readers.