Great Books for Kids Who Love Animals

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Young readers between the ages of 3 and 7 will love this entertaining tale following Maestro Mouse as he travels the world and meets many unique animals along the way. Each animal has its own story or song to share. This book can be accompanied by its free interactive smartphone app that will play the songs that each animal plays. By simply scanning each page on the app, this book becomes a visual and aural experience that captivates kids as they see their favorite animals and hear fun music.

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This book is a fantastic choice for kids who want to learn more about wildlife and the many animals on our planet. There are 500 facts about many different types of animals: amphibians, mammals, insects, ocean creatures and more. Animals are categorized by type, which makes the content easy to navigate, and the vibrant photos give kids a helpful visual of every animal. Kids can learn about their favorite animals and explore new ones as they discover different environments and habitats. This book is over 200 pages long and is best for kids between the ages of 9 and 12.

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Jasmine, who goes by Jay, is an orphan in England who tries to escape her conniving uncle by leaving his home to work as a groomer at a racing stable. As an outcast, Jay quickly identifies with the spirited racehorse Manhattan, whose cantankerous ways have put the mare in danger. With themes of prejudice, bullying, bribery and family dysfunction, this story is best for readers ages 12 through 16. The story is also ideal for anyone who appreciates a gutsy heroine who has flaws and a passion for overcoming anything standing in her way.

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“Matylda, Bright and Tender” is a book that discusses loss and grief after one of the main characters, Guy, is killed in an accident. The story focuses on Guy’s best friend, Sussy, as she learns to grieve and live with loss. Though kids in fourth grade and up will connect with the authentic subjects addressed in this book, the story will be especially relatable for children who are dealing with loss. This beautifully written tale balances grief with humor and ultimately uncovers the triumph of friendship and love.

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“Moo: A Novel” is a heartwarming story told in a blend of poetry and prose. It reveals the bonds that can develop when we open our hearts to other people and animals. The narrative, told by 12-year-old Reena, who, alongside her brother is adjusting from urban to rural life in Maine, is heartfelt, engaging and fast-paced. The story is excellent for 8- to 10-year-olds who are learning to read chapter books.t It’s not overly challenging for this age group, making it an ideal classroom read. Children will be captivated by the humorous content and stunning imagery depicted in Sharon Creech’s writing. The book may also give kids a greater appreciation of animals and farms, regardless of where they live.

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The story is told from the point of view of Ivan, a captive gorilla who has long lived in a shopping mall. Ivan spends his days people-watching through a glass window, and he rarely thinks of the jungle he left long ago. But everything changes when a baby elephant who has been ripped from her family arrives on the scene. Late-elementary and middle-school readers will learn how to have greater compassion and empathy for animals as they get a glimpse of Ivan’s life in captivity. The illustrated book features stunning graphics that reflect the beautiful writing of Katherine Applegate, which is heartwarming without being overly sentimental.

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This fictional story set in central Europe after a war has ended includes an orphaned boy, a fortune-teller, a magician and an elephant. Peter, the young orphan, goes to the fortune-teller’s tent when it appears on the town square and learns an elephant can lead him to his missing sister. Then, when a magician conjures up an elephant that crashes through the roof of the opera house, Peter knows it’s somehow connected to his sister — but how? As the story progresses, the point of view shifts, making this an ideal book for guided reading. Black-and-white illustrations lend visuals to the magical plot, and the poetic writing in “The Magician’s Elephant” is ideal for readers age 8-12.

Expert Commentary 

“As a mother of three children who have grown up at the Columbus Zoo (home of Jack Hanna!), I have spent countless hours wandering through every exhibit and in zoo-sponsored programs with my little ones,” Melissa Spurling says. “My kids simply love conservation and animals. My goal is to find age-appropriate, animal-centric books for my daughter and sons.”