We talk a lot about kids, but we wanted to give a shout-out to those other beloved family members who are with us every day (and can seem a bit more loyal than the kids). While there are tons of great pet books, these focus on rescue. And as animal lovers know well, it’s not always the pet that’s being rescued.
by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes; illustrated by Scott Magoon
Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes were injured during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. This book tells the story of their real-life black lab service dog, Rescue. Rescue worries that he is not up for the job of being a service dog—he thought he would be a seeing eye dog like the others in his family. But after meeting Jessica, Rescue learns that he can help Jessica “see” a path to a different future by helping her with everyday tasks.
by John Sullivan; illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
(Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2018)
Kitten and the Night Watchman is inspired by the true story of John Sullivan, who was visited by a stray cat while working as a night watchman. Every night, he worked alone, but when the kitten joined him, the night began to feel different. The cat became John’s companion for 17 years. It’s a book for lovers of cats as well as trucks and construction equipment.
by Erica Sirotich
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017)
Recommended by Denver Public Library children’s librarian Warren Shanks, this book lets the babies, toddlers, and preschoolers count all the sweet and silly dogs waiting at a shelter for adoption, through bouncy, rhyming text. The dogs don’t have to wait for long, though,
as people come through to adopt them all.
by Maddie Johnson
(Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018)
The photogenic Instagram star Pickles the Pig (@LivingWithPickles) was rescued as a piglet and is well loved by owner Maggie Johnson. But when Pickles became sick, he needed the help of a sow living on a farm far away. The true story of Pickles’ health journey is documented through inspiring photographs.
by Aidan Cassie
(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2018)
Sterling the dog searches for a forever home in this humorous picture book. When he sees a sign for a cutlery company advertising “free shipping to homes around the world,” he decides to become the best fork ever. He’s delivered to a family, and even though he is not what they ordered, he might be just what they need.
by Nancy Furstinger, illustrated by Julia Bereciartu
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019)
Guy the beagle was living in a shelter when he was rescued by Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry. From there, Guy truly became the star in his own Cinderella story. He can now be spotted playing in Buckingham Palace, or escorting Queen Elizabeth.
Librarians and book expert also recommend these great books about all types of pets, conventional and unconventional:
- Say Hello to Zorro! by Carter Goodrich
- Sparky! by Jenny Offil; illustrated by Chris Appelhans
- The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley and Kate Berube
- Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee
- Niblet & Ralph by Zachariah OHora
- Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared) by Thyra Heder
- My Pillow Keeps Moving! by Laura Gehl; illustrated by Christopher Weyant
- Frankie by Mary Sullivan
- Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim
- Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina; illustrated by Angela Dominguez
- Good Boy by Sergio Ruzzier
- Found by Jeff Newman; illustrated by Larry Day
- A Dog Named Doug by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Matt Myers
- Stella Unleashed by Linda Ashman; illustrated by Paul Meisel
- The Birthday Pet by Ellen Javernick; illustrated by Kevin O’Malley
- Good Boy, Fergus! by David Shannon
- Thunder Pug! by Kim Norman; illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi
- Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Christian Robinson
- Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown
- Two Problems for Sophia by Jim Averbeck; illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
- This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
- The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
- Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket; illustrated by Lisa Brown
- Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper