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San Diego Humane Society

Children's Reading List

Our Humane Educators use books as a teaching tool to inspire compassion for animals. Check out some of our favorites here! 

Top Picks

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Title: Buddy Unchained
Author: Daisy Bix
Illustrator: Joe Hyatt

Meet Buddy, a gentle dog who tells about his former life of neglect, abuse, and finally rescue. Through Buddy’s story, children experience what life is like for an abandoned pet and what the power of adoption, love and kindness can do for an animal. 

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Title: The Forgotten Rabbit
Author: Nancy Furstinger
Illustrator: Nancy Lane

Follow the tale of Bella the rabbit as she makes a giant leap from neglected Easter bunny to cherished animal companion and best friend. A touching story focusing on the human-animal bond, pet care, responsibility and the commitment one makes when choosing a pet.

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Title: Lucky
Author: Monica Engebretson
Illustrator: Melodee Strong

Lucky shares the story of a wild rainbow lorikeet who is captured and then purchased as a pet for a young boy. The boy’s excitement about his new pet wanes as he grows to understand what life in captivity might feel like for a wild animal, and he grapples with choosing between what he might want and what is best for the bird.

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Title: Lola Gets a Cat
Author: Anna McQuinn
Illustrator: Rosalind Beardshaw

A great book for young readers, Lola teaches what a big responsibility it is to have a pet, from doing research beforehand to getting all of the supplies and then choosing the right pet to adopt. Lola also demonstrates the importance of treating our pets with kindness and patience.


More Favorites




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All the Way to the Ocean

Joel Harper

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Are You Ready for Me?

Claire Buchwald

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Danny Dog

Sid Shapira

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Esther the Wonder Pig

Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, & Caprice Crane

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Gwen the Rescue Hen

Leslie Crawford

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Hey, Little Ant

Phillip and Hannah Hoose


How I Love and Care for My Happy Dog

Valerie Ingram & Alistair Schroff


It’s Raining Pups and Dogs

Jeanne Prevost

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Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Katherine Applegate

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Kamie Cat’s Terrible Night

Sheila Hamanaka

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Love Me Gently

Lisa Wiehebrink

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Maggie’s Second Chance

Nancy Furstinger


Memoirs of a Hamster

Devin Scillian

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Not for me, please! I choose to act green

Maria Godsey

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Pablo Puppy’s Search for the Perfect Person

Sheila Hamanaka

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Pesky Plastic, An Environmental Story

Leticia Colon de Mejias

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Rescue Kitty

Brenda Fiorini

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Rescue Pup

Brenda Fiorini

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Sad, the Dog

Sandy Fussell

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Samurai, A Feral Kitten’s Journey to Find a Home

Rosemary Wood

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Saving Audie: A Pitbull Puppy Gets a Second Chance

Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

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Sprig the Rescue Pig

Leslie Crawford

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The Busy Tree

Jennifer Ward

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What Does it Mean to be Green?

Rana DiOrio

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When Anju Loved Being an Elephant

Wendy Henrichs

Links to other recommended reading:

Red Rover Readers 

Who Chains You 

The Gryphon Press  


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