Every Dog Has Its Day: Dog Adoption Stories

May is finally here and that means summer, and summer break, are fast approaching. With beautiful weather making an appearance outside and a vast stretch of unoccupied time looming on the horizon, some kids might already be developing strategies to convince their parents to add a new, furry member to the family. Whether you are considering adopting a dog into your family, or have already rescued a furry friend long ago, check out these great stories of finding and adopting the perfect dog for a loving family. For more stories of adopting and rescuing shelter and stray dogs, try searching the keyword phrase “Dog adoption” with the phrase “Juvenile literature” for nonfiction books and “Juvenile fiction” for fictional stories. And if dogs aren’t your favorite potential pet, try searching “Cat adoption” instead for stories about cats or “Pet adoption” for stories of animals of all shapes and sizes!
Picture Books
Boelts, Maribeth.
Before You Were Mine. 2007.
A young boy imagines what his rescued dog’s life might have been like before he adopted him.
[SSHEL S Collection and Center for Children’s Books SE. B6333b]

Chall, Marsha Wilson.
Pick a Pup. 2011.
After observing different types of dogs in his neighborhood, Sam and Gram go to the local pet shelter to choose a puppy.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. C351p]

Frasier, Debra.
Spike: Ugliest Dog in the Universe. 2013.
When Spike, the winner of the Ugliest Dog in the Universe contest, is abandoned by his owner, Joe, the boy next door, is determined – against all odds – to adopt him. Things look grim until Spike foils a neighborhood catnapping plan and saves the day!
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. F864s]

Graham, Bob.
“Let’s Get a Pup!” Said Kate. 2001.
When Kate and her parents visit the animal shelter, an adorable puppy charms them, but it is very hard to leave an older dog behind.
[SSHEL S Collection and Center for Children’s Books Q. SE. G76717l]

O’Connor, Jane.
Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy. 2007.
Nancy wants to adopt a special puppy so that she is no longer the only fancy member of her family, but after a day of puppysitting a papillon, she realizes that being fancy is not always the most important thing.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. Oc53f]

Stephens, Helen.
Fleabag. 2010.
A stray dog and a lonely boy become fast friends at a neighborhood park, but everything changes when the boy’s family decides to move away.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. St441f2010]

Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie.
A Small, Brown Dog with a Wet, Pink Nose. 2010.
Amelia will stop at nothing to convince her parents to let her adopt a very special dog.
[Center for Children’s Books SE. B6319s]

Swaim, Jessica.
The Hound from the Pound. 2007.
When lonely Miss Mary Lynn MacIntosh decides to adopt Blue, a basset hound from the pound, she gets far more companionship than she ever expected.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. Sw13h]
Intermediate Fiction
Cleary, Beverly.
Henry Huggins. 1950.
When Henry adopts Ribsy, a dog of no particular breed, humorous adventures follow.
[SSHEL S Collection and Center for Children’s Books S. C581h]

DiCamillo, Kate.
Because of Winn-Dixie. 2000.
Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.
[SSHEL S Collection and Center for Children’s Books S. D547b]

Howe, Peter.
Waggit’s Tale. 2008.
When Waggit is abandoned by his owner as a puppy, he meets a pack of wild dogs who become his friends and teach him to survive in the city park, but when he has a chance to go home with a kind woman who wants to adopt him, he takes it.
[SSHEL S Collection S. H8388w]

Kehret, Peg.
Ghost Dog Secrets. 2010.
Sixth-grader Rusty, determined to help an injured dog that is chained outdoors in frigid weather, calls animal control then takes matters into his own hands, aided by his best friend and a ghost collie that leads Rusty to an even deeper secret.
[SSHEL S Collection S. K261gh]

Lucky Dog. 2014.
A collection of stories about the Pawley Rescue Center, where rescued dogs find their way into hearts and homes.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 808.83 L964]

MacLachlan, Patricia.
White Fur Flying. 2013.
A sad and silent nine-year-old boy finds his voice when he moves next to a family that rescues dogs.
[SSHEL S Collection S. M221wh]

Martin, Ann M.
Everything for a Dog. 2009.
In parallel stories, Bone, an orphaned dog, finds and loses a series of homes; Molly, a family pet, helps Charlie through the grief and other after-effects of his brother’s death; and lonely Henry pleads for a dog of his own.
[SSHEL S Collection S. M3633e]
Bial, Raymond.
Rescuing Rover: Saving America’s Dogs. 2011.
Discusses the welfare of dogs around the world, highlighting both regions where dogs are abused, neglected, and exploited, and the people and organizations seeking to improve such situations and rescue dogs from poor living conditions.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 636.0832 B47r]

Gutman, Bill.
Adopting Pets: How to Choose Your New Best Friend. 2001.
Pet Friends books are a practical way for children and their parents to learn about all types of pets, what makes them special, and what you’d rather know about their care before you bring them home. Adorable animal drawings illustrate the sometimes baffling behaviors of common pets. This wonderful series of practical how-to guides will educate all young pet lovers.
[Center for Children’s Books S. 636.70887 G985a]

Howey, Paul.
Freckles: The Mystery of the Little White Dog in the Desert. 2003.
True story of an abandoned dog that’s rescued from the desert and becomes a therapy dog working with the homeless, abused and otherwise at-risk children.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 636.7 H839f]

Jackson, Emma.
A Home for Dixie. 2008.
For as long as she could remember, Emma had wanted a dog. Instead, she got a fish, a hamster, and even a guinea pig. And although Emma loved all these pets, it was not the same as having a dog. Meanwhile, an abandoned puppy was brought to an animal rescue. This is the uplifting story of how Emma adopted Dixie, enhanced by adorable photography and bonus information on how to support your local animal shelter, and even adopt a rescued dog of your own.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 636.70832 J1337h]

Kehret, Peg.
Shelter Dogs: Amazing Stories of Adopted Strays. 1999.
Tells the stories of eight stray dogs that were adopted from animal shelters and went on to become service dogs, actors, and heroes.
[Center for Children’s Books S. 636.7 K261s]

Laidlaw, Rob.
No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs. 2011.
Discusses the welfare of dogs around the world, highlighting both regions where dogs are abused, neglected, and exploited, and the people and organizations seeking to improve such situations and rescue dogs from poor living conditions.
[SSHEL S Collection S. 636.70832 L141n]

Books about Adoption

Adoption is often a difficult subject to discuss with children. Picture books can be used to explain the concept to younger children and novels for older readers are helpful in showing the universality of family life. The following books explore international adoption, fitting into a new family, and making contact with birth parents.
Picture Books
Bunting, Eve
Jin Woo. 2001.
Davey is dubious about having a new adopted brother from Korea, but when he finds out that his parents still love him, he decides that having a baby brother will be fine.
[Education S Collection: SE. B886ji]

Carlson, Nancy.
My Family Is Forever. 2004.
A young girl recounts how she came to be part of an adoptive family.
[Education S Collection: SE. C197my]

Curtis, Jamie Lee
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born. 1996.
A young girl asks her parents to tell her again the cherished family story of her birth and adoption.
[Education Storage: SE. C944t]

Lewis, Rose A.
Every Year on Your Birthday. 2007.
Each year on the birthday of her adopted Chinese daughter, a mother recalls the moments they have shared, from the first toy to the friends left behind in China.
[Education S Collection: SE. L5852e]

Parr, Todd.
We Belong Together: a Book About Adoption and Families. 2007.
Aimed at young children, this book celebrates the variety of families touched by adoption.
Education S Collection: SE. P246w

Thomas, Eliza
The Red Blanket. 2004.
Tells the story of a single woman who goes to China to adopt a baby.
[Education S Collection: SE. T362r]

Turner, Anne Warren
Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies. 1989.
A boy who came from far away to be adopted by a couple in this country remembers how unfamiliar and frightening some of the things were in his new home, before he accepted the love to be found there.
[Education Storage: SE. T851T]
Middle Grades
Caldwell, V.M.
Tides. 2001.
While spending the summer with her new siblings and cousins at their grandmother’s house by the ocean, Elizabeth begins to feel that she belongs to her adoptive family.
[Education Remote Storage: S.C1271t]

Cummings, Priscilla
Saving Grace. 2003.
“After her family is evicted from their Washington, D.C., home in 1932, eleven-year-old Grace is sent to a mission and taken in by a well-off family who wants to adopt her.” — Description from the Horn Book Guide
[Education S Collection: S.C9124s]

Hicks, Betty
Get Real. 2006.
Destiny, a thirteen-year-old control freak who feels alienated in her messy, haphazard family, helps her adopted best friend when she finds her birth mother and decides to have a relationship with her.
[Center for Children’s Books: S. H529g]

Johnson, Angela
Heaven. 1998.
Fourteen-year-old Marley’s seemingly perfect life in the small town of Heaven is disrupted when she discovers that her father and mother are not her real parents.
[Education S Collection: S. J6313h]

Little, Jean
Emma’s Yucky Brother. 2000.
Emma finds out how hard it is to be a big sister when her family adopts a four-year-old boy named Max.
[Center for Children’s Books: S.L724e]

McKay, Hilary
Saffy’s Angel. 2002.
After learning that she was adopted, thirteen-year-old Saffron’s relationship with her eccentric, artistic family changes, until they help her go back to Italy where she was born to find a special memento of her past.
[Education Storage: S.M1922s]
Young Adult
Alvarez, Julia
Finding Miracles. 2004.
Fifteen-year-old Milly Kaufman is an average American teenager until Pablo, a new student at her school, inspires her to search for her birth family in his native country.
[Center for Children’s Books: S. Al866f]

Kearney, Meg.
The Secret of Me. 2005
While trying to find her place within her adoptive family and within the wider world, fourteen-year-old Lizzie reveals her secret wishes and fears in a collection of blues poems, list poems, sonnets, sestinas, and free verse.
[Center for Children’s Books: S. K214s]

Leavitt, Caroline.
Girls in Trouble. 2004.
Abandoned by her boyfriend and at odds with her parents for choosing open adoption, Sara, a sixteen-year-old honor student, is sustained by her relationship with her daughter’s adoptive parents until they become threatened by her increasing obsession with the baby and make a decision that has devastating consequences for everyone. (For mature readers)
[Main Stacks: 813 L489g]

Lowry, Lois
Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye. 1978.
Seemingly a girl who has everything, Natalie, at seventeen, goes in pursuit of her birth mother.
[Education Remote Storage: S.L9551f]

Pennebaker, Ruth
Don’t Think Twice. 1996.
Seventeen years old and pregnant, Anne lives with other unwed mothers in a group home in rural Texas where she learns to be herself before giving her child up for adoption.
[Education Storage: S. P381d]

Reinhardt, Dana.
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life. 2006.
Sixteen-year-old atheist Simone Turner-Bloom’s life changes in unexpected ways when her parents convince her to make contact with her biological mother, an agnostic from a Jewish family who is losing her battle with cancer.
[Education S Collection: S. R275b]

Children’s Books – Interracial Families

Finding children’s books about interracial families:

This guide suggests four ways to find children’s books about interracial families. Interracial families include those where family members have differing ethnicities due to adoption, and those in which the biological mother and father have different ethnic backgrounds.You can search for book titles in

a) the library online catalog
b) bibliographies
c) the NoveList database
d) the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD).

a) Search the library online catalog

Tip 1: Use “juvenile” as a subject word to restrict your search to children’s books
Tip 2: Use “Search Limits” (click on the button that says “more limits” to get to the limiting page) to restrict your search within children’s books.There are cases where children’s books don’t have the word “juvenile” assigned to their catalog records. In order not to miss these books, you can use “Search Limits” as an alternative approach. Hold the “Ctrl” key, and in the “Location” box, click:

• Center for Children’s Books
• Education & Social Science
• University High School

The majority of the University Library’s children’s literature is kept in these three libraries, though not all books in the Education Library are children’s books.

Tip 3: After either putting “juvenile” in the subject field as directed in Tip 1, or limiting your search as directed in Tip 2, use the following subject terms in the Guided Keyword Search.
• Interracial marriage
• Interracial adoption
• Intercountry adoption
• Racially mixed children
• Racially mixed people

If following Tip 1: you can try these separately (in different searches) in the second subject line.

If following Tip 2: You can put at least three of them in separate boxes and “OR” them together.

Tip 4: Use specific words for regions, ethnic groups, etc.There are cases where books about racially mixed families don’t get the above subject terms assigned to their catalog records. In order not to miss these books, you can use more specific words to dig some of them out – use these strategies in combination with either Tip 1 or Tip 2.

Example: adopt? Korea? – all of these – Any Words
Example: adopt? – all of these – Any Words ANDChina Chinese – any of these – Any Words)

b) Locate book titles in bibliographies

The following web site: http://www.library.uiuc.edu/edx/edkclass.htm#gen was developed by the Education and Social Science Library (ESSL) and provides references to books that enable the search of children’s books by topic. For example:

• That’s me! That’s you! That’s us! : selected current multicultural books for children and young adults presenting positive, empowering images, 5th ed.Call No.: S.011.62 Em364tLocation: Education Juvenile Reference

• A to zoo : subject access to children’s picture books (6th ed.)Call No.: S.011.62 L628a2001;Location: Education Juvenile Reference & LIS Library

• Best books for children : preschool through grade 6 (7th ed.)Call No.: S.011.62 G412b2002; S.011.62 G412b2003(supplement)Location: Education Juvenile Reference

• Multicultural literature for children and young adults : a selected listing of books by and about people of color. V. 2 (1st ed.)Call No.: Q.S. 011.62 K945mLocation: Education Juvenile Reference & Education Storage

• Kaleidoscope : a multicultural booklist for grades K-8Call No.: S.016.3058 K1242003Location: Education Juvenile Reference & Center for Childrens Books

• Adoption literature for children and young adults : an annotated bibliography Call No.: S. 016.362734 M597ALocation: Education Juvenile ReferenceYou can use their subject indexes and look for book titles listed under such terms as “Interracial families,” “Interracial marriages” or “Marriage, interracial,” “Biracial children,” “adoption,” etc.

• Children’s interracial fiction : an unselective bibliography. 1969. 124p.Call No.: S. 016.813 G458CLocation: Education Remote Storage (For those who want to do historical research, this may be worth a look.)

c) Search the NoveList database

NoveList, which is accessible through the “Online Research Resources” page, is a fiction database that provides subject heading access, reviews, annotations, etc. for fiction books for all ages. Go to the “New Search” page and click on “Boolean Search.” You can search fiction titles by subject terms or keywords. This page also offers a convenient way for you to define age range of the books you are looking for.To browse subject terms this database uses on books about interracial families, go to the “New Search” page and click on “All Authors, Titles, Series Names and Subjects.”

d) Search the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

The useful thing about CLCD is that it offers quick access to book reviews, as well as easy ways to distinguish between fiction and non-fiction, and to define age and grade level of the books you are looking for.“Interracial marriage,” “Interracial adoption,” “Intercountry adoption” are all good terms to use here. You can also try specific words that relate to regions and ethic groups in your search.

• To conduct a broad search, choose the default “singular and plural forms” and search within “All Fields;”

• To do a narrow search, choose “exact phrase” or “exact words” and search within “Subject Hdgs.”First-time users of the database can consult the tutorial document at http://clcd.odyssi.com/member/chelp2.htm for more guidance.

Finally, here are a few sample titles of children’s books in the University Library, fiction or non-fiction, concerning interracial families:

1. An Mei’s strange and wondrous journey / by Stephan Molnar-Fenton. 1998. 1v.[Call No.: SE. M7381a, Education S Collection]

2. Black is brown is tan / by Arnold Adoff. 1973. 31p.[Call No.: SE. AD71B, CCB & Education Storage]

3. Black, white, just right / Marguerite W. Davol. 1993. unpaged.[Call No.: SE. D311B, Education Storage]

4. Interracial marriages / by Paul Almonte and Theresa Desmond. c1992. 47 p.[Call No.: S. 306.846 AL68F, Education Storage]

5. Living in two worlds / by Maxine B. Rosenberg. c1986. 46 p.[Call No.: S. 306.846 R723L, CCB & Education Storage]

6. Loving v. Virginia : interracial marriage / Karen Alonso. c2000. 112 p.[Call No.: S.346.73016 Al72l, Education S Collection]

7. Mommy far, Mommy near : an adoption story / written by Carol Antoinette Peacock. 2000. 1v. [Call No.: S.P3131m 2000, Education S Collection]

8. The rainbow effect : interracial families / Kathlyn Gay. 1987. 141 p.[Call No.: 306.846 G252R, Main Stacks]

9. Trevor’s story : growing up biracial / Bethany Kandel. c1997. 40 p.[Call No.: S. 306.846 K131T, Education Storage]

10. Two Mrs. Gibsons / story by Toyomi Igus. 1996. 30p.[Call No.: SE. Ig8t, CCB & Education S Collection]

11. We adopted you, Benjamin Koo / Linda Walvoord Girard. 1989. 32p.[Call No.: S. 362.734 G441W, Education Remote Storage]

12. We don’t look like our Mom and Dad / by Harriet Langsam Sobol. 1984. 32p.[Call No.: S.362.7340973 So12w, Education Remote Storage]