100 Best Dog Books for Kids
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Do your kids love dogs? Because if they do, here are children’s favorite dog books from board books to picture books to chapter books and middle grade books.
One thing that is universal about dogs is that they love their people — and these dog stories often show the bond between a child and their pet.
You’ll find stories about working dogs, too. And survival stories. And so many heart-warming stories perfect for dog lovers.
Get ready for your next favorite books to read from this list of fiction and nonfiction for all ages including preschool, elementary ages, and middle school ages!
P.S. If your kids are also cat enthusiasts, check out this list of the best books with CATS!!
Best Dog Books
Best Board Books About Dogs
Doggie by Sandra Boynton
Count—and bark—with a fun pack of pups.
Boo ABC: A to Z with the World’s Cutest Dog by J.H. Lee, photographed by Gretchen LeMaistre
Boo and his best friend Buddy are featured in their favorite situations and places alongside the letters of the alphabet.
The Babies and Doggies Book by John Schindel and Molly Woodward
Babies and doggies do many of the same things. They squirm, sniff, sit, and splash. They play ball and cuddle. Lots of things babies do, doggies do too! Kids adore photographs of babies and this book will enchant.
Touch and Feel Puppy by DK
Captivating, tactile pages about puppies are perfect for young readers to touch, feel, and explore.
Dog by Matthew Van Fleet, photographed by Brian Stanton
Cleverly designed pull tabs and flaps plus ten pettable textures provide interactive treats that will have the whole family arfing along from start to surprising finish. Bow-WOW!
Picture Dog Books
How I Trained My Dog in 10 Days by Norma Lewis, illustrated by Tom Tinn-Disbury
Readers will laugh throughout this entire story of a boy determined to train his dog but each time he sets a rule, his dog breaks it. Soon the dog is playing video games, drinking from the toilet, and sleeping in the boy’s bed. Just who is training who?
Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings
Arfy wants a forever home. So he sends letters to “The People at Yellow House” and “Butcher Lady” and “Fire Station No. 5” and many others detailing his many fine qualities. For example, he can fetch boots, he can keep the floor clean, he’s potty trained, and will bark if people steal stuff. But no one wants him. He’s lonely, discouraged, and sad. Until he gets a surprising letter from the mail carrier who wants to be his person!! YAY!!!
Don’t Eat Bees (Life Lessons from Chip the Dog) by Mike Boldt
HILARIOUS! Narrated by Chip, a dog with a big personality, Chip helpfully gives us the dos and don’ts for life. “Do: Eat Socks…Don’t eat bees.” Kids will crack up through the whole story and will love the clever ending.
The Babies and Doggies Book by John Schindel and Molly Woodward
This diverse book is spot-on for the age group as it shares the fun antics that both babies and dogs do — things like cuddle, peek, sniff, and squirm.
Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Deborah Hocking
Max teaches readers how to get a puppy (ask a lot of times) and what to do when you get one (name the puppy, get a lot of puppy stuff, and teach the puppy.) Puppies are a lot of work, explains Max, but also a lot of love. Which is how Max’s puppy gets the name “Alotta.” How sweet is that?!
We Want a Dog by Lo Cole
Readers will love the rhymes, playful descriptions of different dogs with unique personalities, and graphic illustrations. What kind of dog do they want? “One with hair? One that’s bare? One that likes to sit and stare?” What kind of dog will this narrator pick? Get ready for a surprise, funny ending!
Every Dog in the Neighborhood by Phillip C. Stead, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Grandma insists that Louis doesn’t need a dog because there are already enough dogs in the neighborhood. Since City Hall doesn’t have a count, Louis begins to count the dogs, house by house — and meets many dogs, people, and other animals — which he tells Grandma all about. Illustrations with essential details help narrate this beautiful, heartwarming story of a persistent boy, his wonderful grandmother, and his quest for a dog.
The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren
The Poky Little Puppy is a classic story about a curious little puppy beloved by generations of kids. Add this to your dog books collection!
100 Dogs: Playful Pups to Count by Michael Whaite
“Small dog, tall dog, playing with a ball dog, big dog dig dog, burying a bone.” You’ll love seeing all the different kinds of dogs in this colorful, inviting book that is sure to be a favorite read-aloud!
The Longest Letsgoboy by Derick Wilder, illustrated by Catria Chien
Heartbreaking and beautiful with transcendent illustrations, this is a beautiful book for anyone who has a dog or who has lost a dog. An old dog walks with his Little one last time through nature, speaking to us in a playful dog-speak style. “I wigglewag…We reach a bend in the gurgleburble, where hornheads and stripetails often visit, and sipslurp cool sweetness.” Later, when Little sleeps, the dog slowsteps to the softgreen, circles twice, and then hears his last letsgoboy. He closes his eyes and is lifted to a place where he’s young again.
Big Dog Little Dog by P.D. Eastman
Meet best friends Fred (Big Dog) and Ted (Little Dog). Though one is big and one is little, and one loves green and one loves red, these pup pals prove that opposites can be the very best of friends. My children LOVE this book!
Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
Carl leads his infant mistress on a wild adventure the instant after her mother has left the house in this sweet board book.
Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba
A boy Beau, and his new puppy, Theo, nap together in adorable cuteness. Photographs make this one of the cutest dog books on this list!
Frankie by Mary Sullivan
Frankie is going home from the shelter. Is the bed Frankie’s? No. It’s Nico’s. The blankie, bed, rope, and puppy all are Nico’s. Poor Frankie. Will these two cute doggies learn to share? Gorgeous illustrations and simple text.
Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murry, Audrey Colman
Walter is a fine dog, except for one small problem: he has gas. However in the night when burglars strike, Walter has his chance to be a hero and change dad’s mind about getting rid of Walter!
Frank and Laverne by Dave Whamod and Jennifer Stokes, illustrations by Dave Whamod
This book perfectly captures the differences between cats and dogs. It’s two different stories (flip the book to start the second story), one told from the irritated cat’s perspective and the other from the loving dog’s. You’ll love it!
Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, illustrated by Scott Magoon
Based on Jessica’s real-life situation when she was an adult, read how after her leg was amputated, she connected to a service dog named Rescue. It’s important for kids to understand the work that service dogs do. I’ll admit to getting misty-eyed reading this sweet story of friendship and resiliency.
Stormy: A Story About Finding a Forever Home by Guojing
In this beautiful wordless story, no words are needed as the illustrations fully narrate the rescue story of a scared little dog who learns to trust the kind, sensitive woman who notices him. Dog lovers will love this picture book.
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson
An enchanting story about Mrs. Poodle’s puppies, Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Even though Gaston doesn’t look or even act like her little puppies, it doesn’t matter until they meet Mrs. Bulldog’s puppies in the park and realize Gaston is a bulldog and Mrs. Bulldog’s Antoinette is a poodle. But trading back doesn’t work, Gaston misses his poodle family and Antoinette misses her bulldog family. And it turns out that love and family means much more than DNA. A lovely picture book!
I Am a Wolf by Kelly Leigh Miller
She barks like a wolf, she’s alone like a wolf, she’s scary like a wolf. This rescue dog just wants to be loved and she uses her wolfiness as a defense mechanism. Then a little girl comes along and sees her, loves her, and names her Wolf. An appealing dog book with fun illustrations.
A Dog’s Guide to Being Human by Shanna Silva, illustrated by Agnes Ernoult
Smudge the dog offers sage wisdom for his family’s new baby — like be curious, enjoy nature, and be nice. His examples are hilarious, like don’t drink out of the toilet, sneak me treats when no one is looking, and if they tell you to get off the couch, wait until they’re gone to get back on.
Top Dog and Other Doggone Delightful Expressions by Carli Davidson
You don’t have to be a dog lover to love this fun book that gives you all lots of dog-ish expressions with photos of the cutest dogs EVER. “Working like a dog. / Raining Cats and Dogs. / Dog and Pony Show.” Each page is framable because these photographs are stunning!
I Don’t Have a Dog by Contessa Hileman illustrated by Carolyn Conahan
A sweet ode to a child’s best friend who is not just a dog but an alarm, a homework excuse, a fan club, a vacuum cleaner, and more. Use this as a writing prompt or mentor text.
Mr. Scruff by Simon James
In this darling dog book, there’s a dog for everyone! You’ll meet lots of dogs and their owners like Minnie who belongs to Vinnie and Mick who belongs to Rick. But who does old Mr. Scruff belong to? Jim takes Mr. Scruff home from the shelter, and even though their names don’t rhyme, it’s all good! And later, Mr. Gruff finds his puppy…a puppy named Tim!
Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond
Charlie is a ranch dog. Breakfast is his life, especially when bacon is involved. Charlie has dangly ears, floppy skin, and big fat paws. And he loves living in the country.
A Dog with Nice Ears by Lauren Child
In this story, Lola wants a dog! She even pretends to be a dog. Lola knows what will make the perfect dog –it must be more sniffy than barky, and hop, and have nice ears. Funny enough, the pet store has exactly the dog she wants! (Which looks surprisingly like a rabbit.)
Bad Dog, Marley by John Grogan, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey
Mommy, Daddy, Cassie, and Baby Louie welcome Marley, a lovable puppy, into their home. But Marley doesn’t stay a pint-sized pup for long. He grows and grows, and the bigger Marley gets, the bigger trouble he gets into and trust me, it will totally crack you up. But not to worry, there’s a wonderful redemptive ending!
If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
If you give a dog a donut, he’ll ask for some apple juice to go with it. When you give him the juice, he’ll drink it all up. Then, before you can say “Woof” . . . Dog is off on a backyard adventure. One of children’s favorite picture book series!
Willow The Therapy Dog (Doggy Defenders)
Willow works as a therapy dog to help people feel better if they are sad — like patients in the hospital and students at a school and retired veterans. And the photos of Willow in her pajamas after a long day of work are absolutely adorable.
Tiger The Police Dog (Doggy Defenders)
Tiger is a Belgian Malinois police dog. Tiger works with a police officer to protect the city. Tiger sniffs for danger in different places like a school or a metro trash can.
Dolley The Fire Dog (Doggy Defenders)
Dolley works at the fire station. Her job is to sniff out what started a fire. Sometimes her captain helps her practice by hiding a scent. She also visits with children to help them learn about fire safety.
Stella the Search Dog (Doggy Defenders)
Meet Stella, a bloodhound who works with a human partner, a police trooper. She uses her strong nose to find people who are lost. Learn how Stella practices, rides in the police car and helicopter, and searches and finds a lost hiker. Way to go, Stella!
Clifford’s Family by Norman Bridewell
Clifford loves his family and misses them, so Emily Elizabeth takes him to visit his mother, father, and siblings in turn. The Clifford dog books are classics for a reason — they’re sweet and about relatable topics.
A Dog’s Life by Caroline Sherman, illustrated by Donald Wu
From morning till night, a dog’s life is very busy. He wakes people up. He welcomes visitors. He washes dishes. He keeps humans warm. Without a dog around, how would a family get through the day?
Top Dog and Other Doggone Delightful Expressions by Carli Davidson
Do your kids love dogs? Because if they do, here are children’s favorite dog books from board books to picture books to chapter books and middle grade books.
This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne
Yikes! Bella was taking her dog for a stroll across the page when the dog disappears into the book. Help comes but they all get sucked into the book, too! Bella goes to investigate herself because this book is being very naughty. Your kids will laugh through this entire story — it’s quite funny!
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy
Harry is a white dog with black spots who loves everything . . . except baths.
Digger Dog by William Bee, illustrated by Cecilia Johansson
I love how Nosy Crow picture books always engage my senses with their bright and quirky illustrations. Digger Dog can’t find that specific bone he smells. He uses all sorts of digging machines to find his bone. Until at last — it’s the biggest bone in the world. Or is it?
Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murry, Audrey Colman
Walter is a fine dog, except for one small problem: he has gas. In the night when burglars strike. Walter has his chance to be a hero and change dad’s mind about getting rid of Walter.
I Got Two Dogs by John Lithgow, illustrated by Robert Neubecker
John Lithgow’s bouncy song in the book and on the accompanying CD is based on his own family’s two dogs.
Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman
Even though I’ve read this book a MILLION times with my kids, my kids still love everything about it — red dogs, blue dogs, big dogs, little dogs—all kinds of wonderful dogs—riding bicycles, scooters, skis, and roller skates and driving all sorts of vehicles on their way to a big dog party held on top of a tree.
Go Go Go Stop by Charise Mericle Harper
One day Little Green rolls into town and says his first word: “Go!” The town is building a bridge, and now everyone has a job to do, from dump truck to forklift
Dr. Dog by Babette Cole
When his entire family falls sick, only Dr. Dog can save the day, with a cure for head lice, pinworms, and (yikes!) even a case of too much gas…
Pretzel by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey
The longest dachshund in the world, Pretzel is admired by all and the winner of a blue ribbon at the dog show. Only Greta, the little dachshund across the street, doesn’t care for long dogs. At least not until she gets into a jam out of which only a long dog can help her.
Help Me, Mr. Mutt! by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crumble
Responding to disgruntled dogs nationwide, Mr. Mutt, Canine Counselor, has solutions to the most sticky dilemmas. But Mr. Mutt has his own problem to solve: the cat (aka The Queen), who has her own idea of who’s in charge. Now Mr. Mutt is the one who needs help–quick!
Harlow & Sage (and Indiana): A True Story About Best Friends by Brittni Vega
Written in the wise and witty voice of Harlow the Weimaraner, Harlow and Sage (and Indiana) is richly illustrated with more than 125 stunning images of the highly photogenic pups who have taken social media by storm. This is a tale about the bond among three dogs, connected by deep love and unparalleled friendship.
The Stray Dog by Marc Simont
Caldecott Medalist Marc Simont’s heartwarming tale of a stray dog who finds a home is told with appealing simplicity and grace.
Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond between a Soldier and his Service Dog by Former Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan, USA with Bret Witter, photographs by Dan Dion
Read about the bond between a service dog, Tuesday and his person, Luis who experiences post-traumatic stress disorder. Tuesday helps Luis’ nightmares and helps him balance as he walks down the subway stairs. This picture book follows a typical day in the life of Luis and Tuesday from breakfast to bedtime.
Mogie: The Heart of the House by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal
I fell in love with Mogie, a loving dog who helps the kids living at the Ronald McDonald House. Based on a true story, I loved the skillful way the author shares about the Gage without being preachy or pedantic. Kids will love how Mogie brightens Gabe’s life until Gabe feels more like his old self.
Walk Your Dog by Elizabeth Stevens Omlor, illustrated by Neesha Hudson
Detailed illustrations of a little girl and her exuberant dog add depth to this book about loving your pet dog. “Greet your dog,” the book begins. Simple three-word sentences on each page make this a good choice for new readers as well as a read aloud. See what you do with your dog from the beginning of the day to the end. “Settle your dog. // Love your dog.”
The Umbrella by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Precise words in a simple rhyme scheme, this powerful story is about a little girl and her pup. It’s wet and gray so the girl and pup find shelter inside a store where they buy a tattered yellow umbrella. Unfortunately, it falls apart as they walk home. The next day, they go outside in the rain again and find a delightful surprise that will make you smile. Look for the yellow pops of color and the bright umbrellas everywhere.
Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
Recommended highly by pet lovers around the world, Dog Heaven not only comforts but also brings a tear to anyone who is devoted to a pet.
Good Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Harry Bliss
Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo shares the story of a lonely dog named Rosie whose owner is worried about her so he takes her to a dog park. At first, the dogs she meets overwhelm Rosie– Maurice is big, growly, and scary and Fifi is hyper, bouncy, and talkative. It takes some to get used to each other and to compromise (no eating Fifi, Maurice!) but the three dogs eventually become good friends. I like the realistic portrayal of how friendships can be tricky and take some figuring out.
Chapter Books About Dogs
See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Kids who like silly stories will want to read this easy reader story again and again! A playful remake of the Dick and Jane stories— with a narrator and dog who argue about the story. Because there is no “blue cat in a green dress” argues the dog! Until…a blue cat in a green dress appears! The repetition of words and similar short text structure makes this a fun new choice for beginning readers.
Jax Protector of the Ranch by Catherine Stier, illustrated by Francesca Rosa
Jax is a Great Pyrenees dog who guards the farm’s sheep from predators. It’s a busy and dangerous job we learn when coyotes and a bobcat attack but Jax and the other dogs keep their sheep safe. In this story, kids will also learn about animal instincts as well as dog training.
Fenway and the Bone Thieves by Victoria J. Coe, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Written from Fenway’s hilarious doggie point of view, readers will delight in Fenway’s complete bone obsession and his determination to keep it away from the squirrels. His paranoia leads to him burying the bone so NO one can find it, including him. His solution? Dig a million holes to find it. Read the next book, Fenway and the Frisbee Trick about Fenway learning a frisbee trick in his own, unique way.
Gabe: The Dog Who Sniffs Out Danger by Thea Feldman, illustrated by Chris Danger
Meet Gabe. Gabe had an important job: He used his canine sense of smell to find weapons before they hurt anyone. Gabe saved lives! When he wasn’t sniffing out explosives in Iraq, Gabe spent his time cheering up wounded soldiers in the hospital and visiting schools across the United States.
Amazing Dogs DK Level 2 by Laura Buller
Not only is this nonfiction book relatable because of most kids interest in dogs, it’s fascinating — I learned a few things myself. What a great high-interest book for beginning readers!
Bark Park by Brandi Dougherty, illustrated by Paige Pooler
Scout’s life is filled with mystery and adventure as she helps her dog friends. Charming characters and a gentle story lines.
The Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson, illustrated by Gerald L. Holmes
Hank has been accused of murder! In a fit of despair, Hank resigns his position as Head of Ranch Security and decides to join the outlaw coyotes. There he’s known as Hunk (that’s Hank in coyote language). Hank meets Missy Coyote, sister to Scraunch — the meanest, roughest, toughest, most notorious coyote in the whole country.
David Dixon’s Day as a Dachshund by Kathryn Holmes
David is a boy full of ideas that often cause chaos, like bringing his new puppy to school for show and tell. When the puppy escapes, David turns into a dog, too. The two dogs race in and out of the school with playful joy until David’s best friend catches Bandit the puppy and brings them back inside. The class guinea pig Bagel helps David learn how to think through ideas before he acts– and that’s when he turns back into a boy. Delightful!
The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto by Natalie Stanford, illustrated by Donald Cook
It is one of the worst storms ever – the snow has not stopped for days and it is 30 degrees below zero. But somehow Balto must get through. He is the lead dog of his sled team. And he is carrying medicine to sick children miles away in Nome, Alaska.
Rider Woofson: The Case of the Missing Tiger’s Eye by Walker Styles, illustrated by Ben Whitehouse
Meet Rider Woofson, a dog detective with a nose for finding clues and trouble. Along with his pack of canine investigators, those pups are always on a hunt to collar criminals in a brand-new mystery series.
Crime Biters: My Dog Is Better Than Your Dog by Tommy Greenwald
This is a funny book about a boy who is convinced (rightly so?!) that his rescue dog is a crime-solving, vampire, genius!
Ranger In Time series by Kate Messner, illustrated by Kelley McMorris
Ranger has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog but can’t officially pass the test because he’s always getting distracted by squirrels during exercises. One day, he finds a mysterious first aid kit in the garden and is transported to the year 1850, where he meets a young boy named Sam Abbott.
All Paws on Deck (Haggis and Tank Unleashed #1) by Jessica Young
In a word: HILARIOUS! These two dog friends with opposite personalities (and intelligences?) sail on a fun and silly pirate adventure. You will fall in love with Tank and Haggis.
Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
This story is a delightful romp in the snow with brave and kind Sika and Shen and their yippy Pug dogs who are pulling their sled to reach the Snowfather in a race which if they succeed, they’ll receive a wish.
Good Dog by Cam Higgins, illustrated by Ariel Landy
What a sweet beginning illustrated chapter book written from Bo the dog’s point of view! Enthusiastic and full of personality, Bo adores his loving family and his life on the farm. But he worries when his dog tag goes missing. He searches the farm with the help of all the farm animals and his spider friends help him find it. Your readers will love this new dog book series with a darling doggie narrator!
Stick Dog (Stick Dog #1) by Tom Watson
Silly. Very silly. Stick drawings and a stick dog (but with text, too) and a very sarcastic-ish narrator. Funny!
Waggit’s Tale by Peter Howe 3 book series
Waggit is abandoned in the park. Fortunately, a group of dogs takes him in and helps him survive. He lives with them for many months, including a hard winter, but when a friendly woman feeds him and gives him a home, he finds his forever home.
Good Dog, McTavish by Meg Rosoff, illustrated by Grace Easton
I adore this endearing story about a family in chaos and the dog (and youngest sibling) who fixes everything. The writing is brilliant with subtle, rye humor. When a mom quits “momming”, the youngest daughter, Betty, suggests that the family get a dog. Betty chooses McTavish the dog at a shelter or does McTavish choose them? Right away, he gets to work organizing the family which… takes plans and more plans.
Wondrous Rex by Patricia MacLachlan
Maxwell the Magicial brings Grace and her writer aunt Lily his dog Rex to be aunt’s assistant when Aunt Lily and Grace both have writer’s block. Rex is a kind and magical dog who reads, writes, and gives wonderful wisdom about life and writing. His guidance helps both Lily and Grace grow in confidence, inspiration, and love. Absolutely charming!
Dog Days by Karen English, illustrated by Laura Freeman
It’s tough being the new kid at Carver Elementary. Gavin had lots of friends at his old school, but the kids here don’t even know that he’s pretty good at skateboarding, or how awesome he is at soccer. And when his classmate Richard comes over and the boys end up in trouble, not only does Gavin risk losing his one new friend, he has to take care of his great aunt Myrtle’s horrible little dog as punishment.
Dog Man by Dav Pinkey
Weird. Quirky. Funny. I think all three describe this new graphic novel from the creator of Captain Underpants. In the first story, a police officer and a dog are joined together — the top from the dog, the bottom from the officer to make: Dog Man. Dog Man solves crimes and has adventures, the likes of which will entertain 2nd-grade readers for hours. ALSO READ: Books Like Dog Man
White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan
Zoe’s family rescues dogs in need. A new family has moved in across the street and Phillip, the boy, has stopped speaking. He doesn’t even want to try. But Zoe’s new rescue dog might just help the boy heal and speak.
Buddy (The Puppy Place) by Ellen Miles Charles and Lizzie
Peterson is very good with puppies. They want one of their own, but their mom has never been ready for them to have one full-time. For now, they help take care of puppies that need to find a new home.
Hound Heroes: Beware the Claw by Todd H. Doodler, illustrated by Todd Goldman
Get ready for a new SILLY graphic novel for your beginning readers…When a spaceship crash lands, it gives a group of dog friends superpowers…and superhero outfits. Each dog in the group has a unique personality but none of the dogs take their powers seriously at first because they’re too busy wreaking havoc and goofing around. Until…the evil kitties TAKE OVER THE CITY!! Can the Hound Heroes save the day?
Vet Volunteers by Laurie Halse Anderson
Vet Volunteers is a great series of mystery and animal-care books and the friends who volunteer at Dr. Mac’s.
Woof (Bowser and Birdie) by Spencer Quinn
There is trouble brewing in the Louisiana swamp — Bowser can smell it. Bowser is a very handsome and only slightly slobbery dog, and he can smell lots of things. Like bacon. And rawhide chews! And the sweat on humans when they’re lying.
Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
From his beginnings as a maltreated German police dog to subsequent adoption and new life as a beloved movie star, this suspenseful story is filled with both love and hope, along with false accusations and jail time. (Sensitive readers might not like these parts!) Readers will zip through this heart-warming story with fascination; dog lovers will be extra impressed with this German Shepard’s incredible story.
Pug Pals Two’s a Crowd by Flora Ahn
Sunny’s whole life is turned upside down when her owner brings home a new sister, Rosy. It’s hard to share her owner’s time, and especially hard to share her toys. Adorable illustrations show these personality-filled pugs who eventually develop a solid sister bond while looking for Sunny’s lost Mr. Bunny toy. The text is quite simple.
Middle Grade Dog Books (Ages 8 – 12)
When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin
Tear alert! Ben has been through so many challenges– a foster family, adoption by an amazing woman who dies after a few years, and now a bad new situation with his adopted mother’s sister. But, he has two things that are good, really good — his rescued dog, Flip, and his favorite librarian’s daughter as a good friend. Until his friend’s cancer gets worse . . . and his uncle punches him in the face . . .The story is gripping, the ending bittersweet, and the writing amazing.
Wild & Chance by Alan Zadoff
Creative and well-written, you are going to love this action-packed sci-fi adventure. A female dog can can’t remember her past but she knows that she’s intelligent, more than other dogs. When she meets boy named Chance in a group home, strange events start to happen — she is chased by military-like Animal Control soldiers. Then, she and Chance discover a collar that allows her to talk to Chance. With more questions than answers, the action and mystery zip along hooking you on every word.\
One-Third Nerd by Gennifer Choldenko, illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans
Liam is a responsible, kind big brother in fifth grade. His mom and dad have recently divorced and now their grumpy landlord has given them an ultimatum — they’ll have to give away their German Shepard dog named Cupcake unless her peeing problem gets resolved. This is a beautiful, warm-hearted story that celebrates family, unique personalities, and the richness of having a dog. If you like the Penderwicks or the VanderBeekers, you will love this book, too.
Hero Rescue Mission by Jennifer Li ShotzIn this Hero story, Ben’s dad is captured by escaped convicts. Ben and Hero set off to find Ben’s dad. Ben’s already injured and Hero’s too emotional to track the scent so they’re going to need help if they’re going to find his dad. Action from the first page to the last. Kids who love adventure and animals will love this book and series.
Ellie’s Story by W. Bruce Cameron
Ellie is a very special dog with a very important purpose. From puppyhood, Ellie has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog. She can track down a lost child in a forest or an injured victim under a fallen building. She finds people. She saves them. It’s what she was meant to do.
Almost Home by Joan Bauer
A great teacher, a rescue dog, and a love of poetry help Sugar face the challenges of homelessness.
How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor
Georgina thinks that she can help get them out of living in their car if she can get the reward money for a lost dog. Now she just has to steal a dog. . .
A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean Cally
Fisher knows she can see her dead mother, but the only other living soul who does is a mysterious wolfhound who always seems to be there when her mom appears. How can Cally convince anyone that her mom is still with the family, or persuade her dad that the huge silver-gray dog belongs with them?
Smells Like Dog by Suzanne Selfors
Meet Homer Pudding, an ordinary farm boy who’s got big dreams to follow in the footsteps of his famous treasure-hunting uncle. But when Uncle Drake mysteriously disappears, Homer inherits two things: a lazy, droopy dog with no sense of smell, and a mystery.
The Good Dog by Avi
McKinley, a malamute, is a good dog — he’s reliable and trustworthy. Whether it’s watching over the other dogs of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, or taking care of his human pup, Jack, McKinley never even thinks of letting anyone down — until he meets Lupin.
Dog Driven by Terry Lynn Johnson
A story about finding your strength even if it looks like a weakness…McKenna enters a long dog sled race in order to bring awareness to her sister’s degenerative eye disease. (Which McKenna is positive that she has, too because her eyesight is worse every day.) During the race, she relies on her lead dog to guide the sled. Another racer, a boy with a blind dog, shows her that his blind dog is a powerful leader. The challenges of the race and her new friendship help McKenna realize that just like Zesty the blind dog, she is not disabled and that her differences make her better.
Checked by Cynthia Kadohata, illustrated by Maurizio Zorat
Checked is a slice-of-life story about a boy who lives for hockey but worries about his sick dog, his policeman single dad, and money. While it did surprise me that there wasn’t a major conflict, the atmospheric snapshot of the boy’s life felt authentic and held my interest.
The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan
Short but filled with tenderness! When a grief-stricken dog rescues two lost children in a terrible snowstorm, he takes them to the cabin of his deceased poet friend. Told from the dog’s perspective we watch the kids and dog bond while they try to survive without any adults.
Ice Dogs by Terry Lynne Johnson Victoria
Secord, a fourteen-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods is entirely up to her.
Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow
In post-WWII Russia, one boy dares to save an entire race of outlawed dogs — the German shepherd!
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Rose is on the autism spectrum. She lives with her father and a new dog who Rose names with two homonyms (Reign, Rein). When her dog runs away during the storm, Rose sets off to find her.
Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac
At her grandparents on the Wabanaki reservation, Malin feels protection and love when a rez dog named Malsum adopts them and becomes her ally and friend. For example, when a government worker arrives to check on her, Malsum scares her off. That’s when her grandparents teach Malin about the history of Native kids who were taken away by the government. Her grandparents share many other stories of their beliefs and history which help Malin connect to her heritage and feel her less sad about missing her parents.
Girl’s Best Friend by Leslie Margolis
Dogs are disappearing in her neighborhood, and Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair knows all about it. After all, she has a semi-secret after-school gig as a professional (okay, amateur) dog walker.
The Dogs of Winter by Bobbie Pyron
Abandoned at age five, Ivan’s forced to live on the Russian streets. He lives with a pack of dogs, becoming almost as feral as his pack. The story is pretty sad to imagine but very worth reading.
Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Aleksey & Olga Ivanov
When Tony’s mother is sent to jail, he is sent to stay with a great uncle he has never met in Sierra Nevada. With his Tió and a search-and-rescue dog named Gabe by his side, he learns how to track wild animals, is welcomed to the Cowboy Church, and makes new friends at the Mountain School. Most importantly though, it is through Gabe that Tony discovers unconditional love for the first time.
Survivors by Erin Hunter
Lucky has always been a Lone Dog—until the Big Growl, a devastating earthquake that changes his world forever. Now he needs a Pack, and it will take all of their skill and cunning just to stay alive.
The PS Brothers by Maribeth Boelts
Russell and Shawn call themselves the PS Brothers: P is for poop, S is for scoop, and Brothers is because they’re best friends. Scooping poop is the fastest way to earn money to buy a puppy. Unfortunately, getting a puppy is not that easy. Russell and Shawn don’t count on uncovering a dog-fighting ring—and that can bust apart a dream faster than a dog can sniff out a bone.
Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata
Cracker is a bomb-sniffing dog. The fate of entire platoons rests on her keen sense of smell. She’s a Big Deal, and she likes it that way. Sometimes Cracker remembers when she was younger, and her previous owner would feed her hot dogs and let her sleep in his bed.
Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe
Fenway is an excitable and endlessly energetic Jack Russell terrier. He lives in the city with Food Lady, Fetch Man, and—of course—his beloved short human and best friend-in-the-world, Hattie. But when his family moves to the suburbs, Fenway faces a world of changes.
Max: Best Friend. Hero. Marine. by Jennifer Li Shotz
Max is a highly trained military canine who has always protected his fellow soldiers. But when he loses his handler and best friend, Kyle, Max is traumatized and unable to remain in the service. He is sent home to America, where the only human he connects with is his handler’s brother, Justin.
My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen
Paulsen’s stories about his dogs show his deep respect and enduring love for each animal starting with Snowball in the Philippines and later, back in the United States with Ike, a hunting dog.
Note: Sensitive readers may not like the hunting stories in this book.
The Last Dogs: The Vanishing by Christopher Holt
Holt is an amazing writer and the story is a fast-paced, unique dystopian adventure that your kids will thoroughly enjoy. All the humans are gone. Max, a yellow Lab, knows that he must find and save his human family. From the moment he escapes the kennel at the vet’s, Max and his friends, Rocky and Gizmo, face huge obstacles in his quest to find his humans — starving wolves, no food, a gang of subway rats, a house of cats, and the controlling Corporation, a “perfect” society for dogs where everyone works and no one can leave.
The Rescue (Dog Whisperer #1) by Nicholas Edwards
On the rocky shore outside her house, Emily finds a large dog. He’s barely alive, but she’s determined to save him. She can feel his pain―and his determination to live.
Nonfiction Children’s Books About Dogs
The Dog Encyclopedia by DK
With an extensive photographic catalog of more than 400 dog breeds, organized by to FCI groupings, each profile describes the breed’s uses and character, lists compatible owner traits, and shares fascinating facts about the breed’s origins.
Our Wild Tails: The Adventures of Henry & Baloo by Cynthia Bennett
You’ll love this amazing story. Bennett’s family adopts Henry and he starts out as a mountain dog who loves to hike and camp. But, he had severe separation anxiety — hyperventilating and refusing water and food. After three years, the family decides to give Henry a companion, a kitten named Baloo. The two become the best of friends, hiking together, sleeping together, and playing together. Baloo often rides on Henry’s back — which is adorable! Primarily filled with gorgeous photographs as well as some quotes and narration, you can’t read this without wanting to adopt a dog and kitten together and hope they become friends like Henry and Baloo.
Fetch! National Geographic Kids
We love this book because we have two rescue dogs who we’re in the process of training. Three levels of training, beginning, advanced, and expert share step-by-step instructions for teaching dogs everything from shake to fetch to ring the bell. Also learn how to problem-solve issues like jumping up, peeing in the house, and chewing. Impressive information in an eye-catching layout! This is a must-own for every dog owner.
How to Speak Dog by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman
How to Speak Dog is a fun, informative, and photographically driven book that helps kids understand what their dog is trying to tell them through body language and behavior.
The Joy of Dog Training by Kyra Sundance
Excellent step-by-step directions with photographs make this instructional book easy to follow. There are many tricks as well as the training basics to give you a variety of both fun and necessary training choices.
Learn to Draw Dogs & Puppies by Robbin Cuddy
With this fun and educational drawing book, budding artists will discover just how easy it is to draw more than two-dozen breeds of dogs, ranging from small and sassy to big and burly.
Paws of Courage: True Tales of Heroic Dogs That Protect and Serve by Nancy Furstinger, illustrated by Ronald L. Aiello
The hero dogs featured in this collection are profiled with stunning photos and inspiring tales of bravery, friendship, heroism, and devotion.
Good Books for 1st Graders (age 6)
Good Books for 2nd Graders (age 7)
Good Books for 3rd Graders (age 8)
How about Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann? The kids at my school love the story and it won the Caldecott Medal.
For young readers, we love the Danny series by author Mia Coulton. I know many children who learned to read using those books. Much better than the Dick and Jane books they had when I was in school.