Humans and animals have a special bond — what wouldn’t you do for your beloved pet? Even though most of us have dogs or cats (or maybe snakes, horses, or ferrets), the human-animal relationship can go far beyond those everyday pets. April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, and the SSHEL S-Collection is focusing on the positive aspects of the connection between humans and animals, from the domestic to the wild. Many of us have favorite literary animal-human duos, like India Opal Buloni and Winn-Dixie from Because of Winn Dixie or Fern and Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web, but there are many, many others in fiction and nonfiction to read about and love.
To find books about pets, try a subject search of “juvenile” with a keyword search of “pets” (feel free to insert your favorite pet, whether hedgehogs or toucans). If you like nonfiction, you can use a subject search of “juvenile literature.” If you’re looking for stories or novels, try “juvenile fiction.”
You might also have success combining your subject search of “juvenile” with a keyword search of “human-animal relationships.”
If you just want to browse, information about pets is typically located in the 636 section of libraries organized by the Dewey Decimal System. Information about non-domesticated animals can be found in the 590s.
For Beginning Readers
Children Make Terrible Pets. 2010.
When a young bear finds a child alone in the forest, she decides to name him Squeaker and keep him, even though Mama Bear reminds her that wild children do not make good pets. This silly reversal of the traditional pet-owner relationship keeps readers giggling and guessing.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. B812chi]
Bruno and Titch: The Tale of a Boy and His Guinea Pig. 2014.
Titch the guinea pig is ecstatic when he is finally adopted by Bruno, but the two soon find they are an odd couple — Bruno likes to run wild and get messy, but Titch would rather take a nice, quiet nap. Can the two build a solid friendship despite their differences?
[SSHEL S Collection SE. D3994br]
Dadblamed Union Army Cow! 2007.
In this Civil War tale based on a true story, a devoted cow refuses to leave her farmer when he joins the Union Army, instead following him south to fight.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. F637d]
How it was with Dooms. 1997.
Xan grew up in Kenya with his family and a pet cheetah, Dooms. This true story describes the wild life of a boy and his cheetah.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB Q. S. 599.74428 H77h]
Jackson, Ellen B.
Abe Lincoln Loved Animals. 2011.
Abraham Lincoln is famous for a lot of things, like for being president, for ending slavery, and for having his face on the penny. But did you know that Abe Lincoln was a great lover of animals? Read about his pets and the other animals he encountered throughout his life, including a turkey he officially pardoned from being served up as Christmas dinner.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SB. L736jac]
Christian the Lion. 2009.
Many people have seen the viral video about Christian the Lion and his human friends, but Knowles tells his story in detail: When two friends find a lion cub for sale in a department store, they take him home to raise him as their own. When the cub outgrows them, they release him into the wild to join his pride.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 599. 7570929 K763c]
Mango, Abuela, and Me. 2015.
Abuela has a hard time with English, and Mia has a hard time with Spanish. Mia finds Mango, a bilingual parrot, to help them communicate.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. M4689m]
Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her. 2013.
Billie Holiday is well known for her voice, but few know about her love for her many pet dogs, including Mister, her favorite, who helped her persevere through tough times.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SB. H732n]
The True Story of Stellina. 2006.
Matteo Pericoli and his wife Holly tried to find a zoo or nature preserve to raise the baby bird they found in a busy street, but when they couldn’t, they brought Stellina home and gave her an extraordinary life.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S.636.6 P417s]
Hieronymus Betts and His Unusual Pets. 2005.
Most kids have dogs, cats, or guinea pigs — not Hieronymus Betts! He loves all his strange animals, and he’s on a quest for the grossest, stinkiest, slimiest pet he can find.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. R547h]
Told in both English and Hawaiian, Dog-of-the-Sea-Waves tells the story of Manu, one of the first Hawaiians, who is very lonely until he rescues and befriends a strange-looking dog on the beach…one with flippers!
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. R865d]
The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps. 2011.
Jane Goodall loved chimpanzees so much that when she was 26, she moved to Africa to live with them and observe their lives. She even named the chimps and considered them her friends. Goodall, who devoted her life to protecting her animal friends, changed the way the world thought about primates.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. 590.92 W7344w]
For Intermediate to Advanced Readers
Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes. 2014.
The over fifty stories presented in this collection explore not only how animals have gone to extreme lengths to save humans, but why — can they feel empathy? Can they be altruistic? Campbell includes both anecdotal and scientific evidence.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 590 C1529d]
Desert Elephants. 2011.
Every year the Desert Elephants of Mali travel over 300 miles in search of water. The people of the countries they pass through work to protect the elephants in an example of harmony between species.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 599.67 C838d]
Talk, Talk, Squawk!: A Human’s Guide to Animal Communication. 2011.
Do you ever feel like your pet is trying to tell you something? Maybe they are! Learn all about how different animals communicate with each other, and with humans, through vibrations, electricity, smells, and noises.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 591.59 D2883t]
Wild Animal Neighbors: Sharing Our Urban World. 2014.
Because the human population is growing, animals are running out of natural habitat space…so they’re sharing ours! Scientists and animal activists study why and how wild animals survive in urban areas and what the future of animal-human cohabitation might look like.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S. 591. 756 D75w]
Ihimaera, Witi Tame.
Whale Rider. 2003.
Kahu has a special gift of speaking to whales, and she must use it to save the animals beached in New Zealand while her grandfather, chief of the Maori, struggles to find a male successor.
[SSHEL S Collection S. Ih3w]
Animals in the House: A History of Pets and People. 2007.
Did you know there are almost 400 million pets in the United States? Read Animals in the House to find some of the most interesting pet-owner stories throughout history.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 636.088709 K25a]
Nick is determined to save an abandoned baby mockingbird he names Marcy. As Marcy grows, Nick confronts some tough issues in his life, including the death of his father. Eventually, Nick and Marcy learn valuable lessons and each discovers how to spread their wings, even when it is difficult.
[SSHEL S Collection S. L836w]
Talking Tails: The Incredible Connection Between People and their Pets. 2010.
Animals and humans have always had special relationships; this book explores examples of unique animals who impacted the humans in their lives.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 636.088 L9411t]
Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories. 2009.
We often hear about people who rescue animals from dangerous situations, but sometimes it’s the animals who are the heroes! All the stories in this collection are true and highlight an amazing animal who helped a human in danger.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 636.0887 M3419a]
Oh, Rats!: The Story of Rats and People. 2006.
Why is everyone so scared of rats? Humans and rats can get along perfectly well, even though sometimes they have disagreements about rules of general conduct. This book addresses the misconception that rats are vermin, arguing instead that they are intelligent and emotional creatures.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB Q. S. 599.352 M349o]
Martin, Ann M.
Rain Reign. 2014.
Rose, a teen with Asperger’s Syndrome, loves her dog Rain more than anything. When Rain goes missing during a storm, Rose confronts her limitations in order to save her canine best friend.
[SSHEL S Collection S. M3633ra]
Distinguished Dogs. 2007.
Sometimes dogs are our pets, but other times they are our co-workers. Dogs can have jobs just like people; some dogs work in law enforcement, in therapy situations, or as soldiers.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 636.7 M612d]
Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw.
The Horse and the Plains Indians: A Powerful Partnership. 2012.
The indigenous peoples of the North American plains didn’t always use horses in their daily lives—once upon a time, dogs were the preferred work and companion animal. In the 16th century, the Spanish introduced horses to the Plains Indians and an important bond was formed.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 978.00497352 P272h]