10 Animal Books that Changed My Life

In honor of the NEA's "Read Across America" day, a selection of beloved titles for kids and adults

Posted in , Mar 2, 2015

Peggy's spaniel Kelly in her reading glasses.

As a kid, my favorite books were always about animals. Well, not a lot’s changed now that I’m grown.

I still love to read an inspiring tale of a beloved pet or one of God’s amazing wild creatures. As an author of books about the human-animal bond, animals are also my favorite topic to write about! 

Today is National Education Association’s "Read Across America," a day set aside to encourage a love of books and reading. In honor of this day, here are some classic and other much-loved books that celebrate the human-animal bond, and have made a giant impact on my life.

1)  Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
I must have read this book a hundred times, and each time it retained the charm and magic that it held upon the first reading. I admire Fern’s maternal nature and loving attempts to protect her animal friends.

2)  All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (and the rest of the series)
Beautifully-told tales of an English veterinarian and how he cared, with great love and compassion, for the farm animals and pets of the colorful people of Yorkshire.

3)  Born Free by Joy Adamson
I loved the bond between the author and the lioness Elsa so much, that when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always responded, “Joy Adamson.”

Contemporary Adult
4)  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Though many sad themes run through the book, the caring and sensitive observations of Enzo the dog steal my heart.

5)  You Had Me at Woof by Julie Klam
Not only does the author share her love of dogs, but she humorously recounts the trials and joys of fostering dogs.

6)  Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper
This book reveals a deep and honest relationship between a blind cat and his guardian.

7)  Through a Dog’s Eyes by Jennifer Arnold
When I read this book, it definitely enhanced my understanding of what my dogs wants and needs. We can apply this philosophy of understanding and respect to all animals.

8)  Curious George by H.A. Rey
What is it about the Man with the Yellow Hat’s relationship with the curious little monkey? He is a guardian and friend who always trusts George to be good and is always there to get him out of trouble. I read these books to my children, and now I’m reading them to my granddaughter.

9)  The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
To think of pets that loved their family so much, they endured a long and perilous journey to return home warms my heart. Based on a true story, too.  

10) The Tenth Good Thing about Barney by Judith Viorst
This sweet book about pet loss helped me and my children deal with the loss of our beloved family pet and continues to be one I send to friends when they lose a pet.

There are so many wonderful and worthy books about animals and the humans who love them. What are some of your favorite animal books?

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Tags: Pets,Dogs,Cats
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