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Fifteen Family-Friendly Books About Pets to Check out at the Library
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Take a look at this list of our favorite books about pets for your children to read with you or by themselves.We want to encourage the youngest animal-lovers to grow and learn about all of the many stories animals have but can’t say. 

With both fiction and non-fiction books listed, these stories can teach your children valuable lessons, but also spark their imagination about the lives of pets. And don’t worry! We’ve included the appropriate grade level for each book.

All of these reading options are available at the Lawrence Public Library for checkout. Our friends there even prepared a book list for you. If Lawrence is too far for you, be sure to find the nearest library to you on the LibWeb list of libraries. 

Fiction

Caution: your child may start incessantly asking you when you will get them a puppy. Though nothing makes up for the real-deal of puppies in the flesh, this (rather large) puppy’s stories may work for a while, if you read these to the kiddos. And when you’re ready for the real ones, our puppies are definitely top-notch!

The topic of rescuing animals is important for even the youngest animal lovers to learn. What we teach them about caring for animals and taking an active role in bettering their lives will have a big impact on the future. This heartfelt story delicately introduces the beauty of giving an animal a second chance through rescuing in a way that young minds can comprehend, so be sure to try it out.

This series was pretty much my entire middle school life; although, it’s debatable whether sitting in your bed reading for hours totally counts. Nonetheless, if your pre-teen or young teen loves cats and fantastic journeys, this is your series. There’s so much to delve into, with the cultural richness of the different “clans” of feral cats and the classic rivalry between the domesticated and wild cats. Now, while you go to the library and start reading, I’ll be reliving my middle school days with my favorites, Firepaw and Graypaw.

Fear not, dog lovers!  Erin Hunter’s got you covered, too. This is a set of books for adventure-loving dog people everywhere. It’s a similar premise to the Warriors series, but dog-centric instead. Read either of these series if you don’t want to run out of great pet stories for a long time. Seriously. There’s like a million books in both series. 

Reading the Cat in the Hat’s stories with your children may feel more like a walk down memory lane than anything else. These books are so loved by generations and it’s only fair that your kids should share in this love. There are even more spin-offs to read, so take your pick of which you will choose.

If you’ve read our previous article about movies, you will know how much we love this book and its movie. The adorable dog, Winn-Dixie, and her rescue story that changed the life of a lonely little girl is absolutely touching. It’s truly a moving story that will be enjoyable for so many more people than just kids. Be sure to check it out next time you’re at the library.

This is a book series for the younger ones. If you want to read highly educational books to your kids that are narrated by a cat, this series is what you’re looking for. These books are a much different feel than some of the other books on this list, but the little ones need to read great stories about pets, too!

This is a childhood classic of many. The story of how Socks the cat must adapt to her humans’ new baby is a timeless story that many only children who recently gained a sibling may identify with. If you’re expecting a second child and you want to help your older child with the transition, check out this book.

Non-Fiction

Balto’s story is a tale of heroism that saved many lives during impossible times. Balto, a sled dog in 1925, was tasked with helping his owner carry a treatment for diphtheria into a very remote area of Alaska during dangerous winter conditions. The stakes were incredibly high, as people were dying and the diphtheria epidemic was raging through the town, but Balto saved the day. This story is touching and very timely. It will reinforce for your children that even in the toughest of times, good people, and in this case, dogs, will find a way to shine a light in the dark for others. 

If you’ve seen the movie, “Marley and Me,” this book is a children’s version of the life story of that same unique dog, Marley. The goofy dog, Marley, will steal your heart just like he steals his family’s prized ring. It’s a story of friendship and family your child will be sure to laugh at and enjoy.

PS- for all you “adults” out there, you can also read the adult version, “Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog.”

Two survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, decided to tell the story of Jessica’s service dog, Rescue. The in-depth portrayal of service dog training and the rich depiction of Rescue’s role in Jessica adapting to life with her injuries make for an amazing story. If you want to encourage your children to learn empathy for topics like service animals and living with a physical disability, this book is essential.

This story is a conversation-starter for your children. It contains some heavy topics, so it’s probably best to read it aloud with them if they’re young, but it is a compelling story for people of all ages. Kunkush is a beloved cat who lives with a family in Iraq until harsh circumstances force the family to flee as refugees into a new territory. While they flee, Kunkush is lost along the way. The tale follows the family’s refugee journey and the true story of how they eventually reunited with their beloved cat. If you are ready to teach your child about topics like this, this story will surely open the door in a sensitive way. 

When Bobbi the dog and Bob Cat the cat are both thrust into the dangerous wake of Hurricane Katrina, they find themselves left alone as their owners are forced to flee to safety without them. The two have to learn to survive hungry and lost. But luckily, a rescue organization and animal shelter saved the day. This is another great story to teach about the importance of rescue missions, but also disaster relief and bonded-pair adoptions. 

On a personal note, this story also has significance to us at Lawrence Humane Society because our very own Animal Welfare Counsel, Katie Barnett, adopted her sweet dog while volunteering with an organization that rescued abandoned animals during Hurricane Katrina. You can read more about the story of Katie’s dog, Katrina, in this article on Dogtime.com. Do check out the amazing true story of the two Bobbies, as well!

The amazing thing about dogs is their loyalty is unmatched. Dogs can be as protective as they are loving and that leads to some pretty amazing rescue stories. When their best friend is in danger, they can defy all odds to ensure their person’s safety. If you want to show your children the protective and heroic aspect of dogs, this is a great book to introduce it. 

Dewey was just a small, homeless kitten until he became the local library’s resident library cat. The charming kitten was so much more than just a mascot, though. This story is full of all of the personality of Dewey that will leave your children asking to go see one of Lawrence’s own storefront  cats as soon as possible. Come fall in love with Dewey’s lighthearted play in this adorable story.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading this collection of sweet stories as much as we have. Go check out your nearest library catalogs and immerse yourself in the many stories of these wonderful pets.

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