Chapter Books for Animal Lovers

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Share compassion with a creature near you!

The plight of animals, from homeless cats and dogs to wild animals losing their wilderness, inspires profound empathy in people of all ages. These stories will inspire the animal lover in your life to extend their compassion to the animal kingdom.

You may also enjoy titles from our related collection: Picture Books for Animal Lovers.

Conversation Starters

  • What do you like about being around animals?

  • Why is it important to help out living things other than people?

  • Discuss the many wordless ways animals show their feelings -- pain, hunger, excitement, loneliness. Ask your children how those emotions and responses are similar to their own.

  • Do you think animals think?

  • Why should people care about the way animals are treated?

  • Why should people care whether species of animals go extinct?

  • How do you feel about animals living in zoos? Do you think zoos help animals? Why or why not?

  • If you could spend time observing any animal for the day, what would you choose? Why?

Late Elementary

Almost Home by John Bauer
Twelve-year-old Sugar is losing everybody. Her grandfather passed away. Her father ran off with his gambling addiction. Thankfully, with the help of a rescue dog named Shush, an amazing teacher, and her own love of poetry, Sugar manages to stay calm in the stormy chaos of her life.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
This classic beautifully illustrates the emotional life of animals and will inspire every ready to share care and compassion with creatures.

 A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron
Is a dog's purpose so different from a human's purpose? Find out in this sweet, sometimes heartbreaking, and always inspiring story. 

A Dog’s Life: Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin
A puppy separated from its family must learn how to survive on its own.

Every Living Thing by Cynthia Rylant
A collection of twelve short stories about individuals whose lives are touched by their encounters with animals.

Five Elephants by Rob Laidlaw
This book chronicles the lives of five real-life elephants who were taken from their wild homes and sent to live in a zoo, circus, and traveling animal attraction. Some of these elephants get happy endings in the form of retiring to a sanctuary. Each story provides an opportunity to discuss how these animals deserve to be treated.

Legend of the Healer (series) by Lauren St. John
After the loss of her parents, eleven-year-old Martine is forced to move to Africa to live in a  wildlife reserve with a grandmother she never even knew she had. Once she arrives, however, she makes friends — human and animal ones. This series of mystery novels are exciting, enlightening, and introduce readers to issues like poaching.

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
When a young girl gets angry at her duck-hunting neighbors, her, her magic finger causes some wacky mischief, as only Roald Dahl can create. The ultimate lesson: treat others as you wish to be treated, whether animal or human.

Nine Lives of Travis Keating by Jill Maclean
Travis, who recently lost both of his parents, spends his time caring for a colony of stray cats.

Shelter Dogs: Amazing Stories of Adopted Strays by Peg Kehret
A collection of stories about previously stray dogs that became heroes.

Shiloh by Phillis Reynolds Naylor
This Newbery Medal winner shares the uplifting story of 11-year-old Marty Preston, who is determined to protect a beagle from an abusive owner. Marty's struggle to do the right thing will provide much for your family to discuss.

Vet Volunteer Series by Laurie Halse Anderson
This is an engaging series of books about a veterinary clinic and its young volunteers who confront animal rights issues.

Young Adult

Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About The Origins of Good and Evil by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
The emotions of animals are also found in humans, and Masson examines why we react so differently than animals do.

Doctor Rat by William Kotzwinkle
What happens to lab rats once they’ve been experimented on for medical research? In this sarcastic, hilarious, and compelling book, one of them goes mad and tells the tale of his life to readers through anecdotes. This book is entertaining, and it urges readers to reconsider animal experimentation.

The Everything Guide to Working with Animals by Michelle C. Hollow and William P. Rives
Find a way to transform your love of animals and insects into a job and career.

Working with Wildlife: A Guide to Careers in the Animal World by Thane Maynard
A practical guide for teens interested in working with animals. Readers learn about the work and training required to be a vet, field researcher, nature guide, conservationist and dozens of other animal-related jobs.

Gorillas in the Mist by Dr. Dian Fossey
For thirteen years, Dr. Dian Fossey studied gorillas and interacted with them by studying and mimicking their movements and tendencies. Her contribution to the study of gorillas is also chronicled in the film of the same name.





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