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Ten Amazing Animal Rescue Books for Children

By Laura Freeman

Animals share this world with us and learning to understand them is an important life skill for children. Owning a pet teaches children responsibility, empathy and kindness. Loving an animal can help children reduce stress, overcome shyness, enhance their social skills and lessen anxiety.
These stories about animal rescue are sometimes tough to read but incredibly uplifting. For children who love animals these make great gifts and a perfect addition for their bedtime reads. Take a look at these books listed here with their most compelling Amazon review

Amazing Animal Rescue Books

1-The Lighthouse Cats of Mazatlán (Tales of Mazatlán)

By Carolyn Watson-Dubisch

Sisters Ana and Luna live in Mazatlan, Mexico by the sea. Everyday, they climb the winding steps of the lighthouse. Most people travel there for the view, but the sisters have a different reason. They make the journey to feed and play with the numerous stray cats that inhabit the lighthouse and its surroundings.

One day, after a terrible storm, the town and its lighthouse are left flooded and without power. The disconcerted sisters cannot reach the closed lighthouse. They worry their cat friends will not survive.

When the lighthouse finally reopens, the girls cannot find one of their cats. Readers will be surprised to find out what surprise awaits these compassionate sisters.

This multicultural picture book is available in Spanish and English. It teaches primary grade readers about empathy, compassion, and the problem of animal homelessness.

Recommended for ages two through six.

2-Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs

By Jackie Davis

Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman and Jacky Davis, Ladybug Girl discovers a group of dogs while walking through the farmer’s market with her mom and trusty sidekick, Bingo. The dogs belong to a rescue group. They are all trying to find forever homes.

Ladybug Girl asks her mom if the dogs can come live with them. But her mom says that having eight dogs would upset Bingo. Wanting to help, Ladybug Girl decides to call upon her faithful Bug Squad! Will the gang be able to find homes for the dogs?

I absolutely love this book! Being an avid animal lover and proud fur mom to five rescue dogs, this story truly touches my heart. My husband never wants me to go into an animal shelter because he knows that I want to take them all home. Ladybug Girl and I definitely share a passion for animals!

I also love how Ladybug Girl looks for ways to help even after her mom tells her she can’t adopt the eight dogs. Many children would not be mature enough to get past the “no” and seek to find another solution other than adoption. Not only is Ladybug Girl resourceful, but she is also not afraid to ask for help from her friends.

Soman’s illustrations are gorgeous! Each dog has a very distinct personality that can easily be seen in their facial expressions. My favorite is Daisy the Dachshund. She acts just like my doxie, Hope! Children will definitely be drawn to this colorful cast of canine characters.

This is a wonderful story that highlights the importance of animal rescue groups and the adoption option. The book is perfect for animal lovers of all ages and would be a great addition to any humane education class.

3-Can I Be Your Dog?

By Troy Cummings

Arfy is a dog in need of a place to stay, so he emBARKS on a mission to find a forever home by writing letters to everyone who lives on Butternut Street; asking the question, one house, one fire station, one butcher shop at a time, “Can I be your dog?” He truly is one persistent pooch! Without much persuasion, I bet that Arfy would have you convinced that he’s the dog for you. Each letter will simply make your heart melt.

Can I be Your Dog? was a pure joy to read and it made me want to snuggle with my own fur-baby Schnoodle, Susie-Q, who my nephew used to call “Susie Cute.” She was given to us by my aunt and she has been the sweetest little addition to our family. She is often my reading buddy at night before I go to bed. We are her people as much as she is our dog and we love her to pieces. Much like what we have, Arfy just wanted a family that he could call his own and with each letter he writes, the reader likely will be vying for Arfy to send a letter to them, in which case he would have no problem finding a home because every child is going to want to take him in. When I introduce this book to my students this school year, they are sure to fall in love the same way I did. Something tells me that I’m going to need to get my hands on more than one copy for our library.


By Daniel Duncan

A touching story about friendship, and home. Duncan’s picture book debut has definitely made our favorite picture book list this year. We loved this book, and its beautiful illustrations. Not to mention the simplicity and beauty of both the story telling, and the message, that even young children will be able to comprehend/understand.

The friendship that forged between a lonely fisherman, and a lost & injured seagull, really pulled at our heartstrings. We loved the emotion that was felt through both the story, and the imagery. The journey at sea about finding home, and never forgetting those you met along the way, is priceless. This is one picture book that is definitely worth picking up.

5-The Fluffy Little Cat: The Story of a Rescue Cat

By Zoe Porter

The true story of Tangle, who is rescued by a local cat rescue charity and given a refuge to have her kittens safely, then rehomed. This is a beautifully written book for young children with superb illustrations. My Granddaughter loves it. The fact that all proceeds go to support the charity who rescued Tangle is wonderful too.

Not only do you follow Tangles ‘tail’ but you learn of the important work rescuers do everyday to give cats a second chance at happiness. A lot of work has clearly gone into this book which will educate children in a sensitive way. The illustrations are lovely.

6-Lola Gets a Cat (Lola Reads)

By Anna McQuinn,  illustrations by Rosalind Beardshaw

is a new addition to the delightful Lola series. Lola has been content with cat pictures and stuffed animals, but now she wants a real live cat to love. But, of course, there are obstacles to overcome. In this case, its Mommy who reminds Lola that a real cat is much more responsibility than the stuffed variety. Knowing Lola, she is up for the challenge. She begins by reading up on cat care, then she puts what she’s learned into use by charting the steps and practicing on one of her stuffed animals. Sure enough, her diligence wins over her mom. And best of all, when it’s time to get that pet, Lola adopts her cat from a shelter.

McQuinn’s and Beardshaw’s experience with their own cats are clearly in evidence. The simple language and straight forward writing style makes the story accessible and readers will enjoy following Lola’s progress – from learning how to persuade mom to successfully introducing the new cat into the family. The colorful illustrations and uncluttered pages are a lovely counterpoint to the appealing story.

Youngsters will enjoy the story and discover plenty of helpful tips for their own journey to bringing a cat into their family. I applaud the subtle message about the value of acquiring a new pet through adoption at a shelter.

7-Before You Were Mine

By Marybeth Boelts

It’s the story of a young boy who gets a new dog from the shelter and wonders what the dog’s life was like before he belonged with the boy and his family. Did the dog have another little boy? But maybe the boy’s family had to move and couldn’t take the dog. Or maybe the dog got out one day and the boy’s family didn’t look for him hard enough. Or maybe the dog had mean owners who called him a “bad dog” even when it wasn’t true. The boy knows the dog had a long time on his own before he was taken to the shelter, cleaned up and made ready to find a new forever home. Ultimately, the boy decides that what really matters now is that the dog is HOME, with him.

The story is at once heartbreaking and uplifting. The story rang so true to me, because I volunteer at a cat shelter and I often wonder what happened to the cats before they come to us (or, in some cases, I do know and it is heartbreaking!) I also know that animals have wonderfully loving and resilient natures and, even if they suffered from being given up or by abuse, most of them are so ready to find a new home, new people to love and who will love them in return. I appreciate that the author wanted to make a point that sometimes it is a good thing to adopt an adult dog, vs. a “cute little puppy”, and the reasons she gives are all true (and also apply with cats). So many wonderful, wonderful animals are passed over because they are not the cute little puppy/kitten, even if they are only a year old. I am glad this book speaks on their behalf.

This story brought tears to my eyes. I think it would do the same for many animal lovers, and many children. I feel that parental guidance should be exercised in deciding whether this is a story to share with your little ones. On the one hand, if children are already wondering about what their new pet’s life might have been like, the story could provide some answers.

8-How to Heal a Broken Wing

By Bob Graham

Have you ever seen a bird with a broken wing and wanted to help it? That is exactly what happens in the story How to Heal a Broken Wing written and illustrated by Bob Graham. In our opinion this book will make you happy.

In the story a boy named Will goes into the big city with his mom. They see a bird laying on the sidewalk with a broken wing. Will stops his mom from walking and together they gently pick up the bird and bring it home to heal its wing. You will have to read the book to find out what happens to the bird.

Our favorite parts of the book involve Will caring so much for this bird. Our least favorite part is near the beginning when the city people do not care for the bird. The people were busy and walked with their heads up. Nobody even noticed the poor bird with the broken wing, except for Will!

There are very few words in the book but the illustrations help tell the story. They are colorful and filled with details. The illustrations help reveal the true meaning of the book which is to show compassion to all living creatures.

This book is a must for every reader. We recommend this book for ages 7 and older! We rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!

9-Maverick and Me

By Katherine Schwarzenegger, Illustrated by Phyllis Harris

This delightful children’s picture book is definitely for those who love dogs and would-be dog lovers. Also, it focuses on the need to adopt a dog rather than shop for one. It weighs heavily on the appeal that little forlorn lost puppies who are neglected have on tender hearted individuals and the universal appeal of a child with a puppy.

Katherine Schwarzenegger has written a sweet story involving Maverick who is the forlorn lost and neglected puppy. Found by a caring lady who takes him to a pet store. The owner of the store encourages her to take the puppy home and clean him up a bit, returning soon to an “adopt a dog” event at the store.

After little Maverick gets a bit of tender care, he still doesn’t have a lot of appeal to some of the pet seekers. Finally a charming little girl adopts Maverick and they are forever in love in their “forever home.”

The illustrations by Phyllis Harris are sweet and charming and beautifully capture the emotions of seekers and doggies alike. The joy of being in a “forever home” is exuberantly displayed in the ending pages of the story.

A lovely book about a way to provide homes for dogs and have that sweet pet of your own without adding to the population of pets being sold in the market.

10-Raju the Elephant Who Cried: A True Story of Kindness and Compassion

By Shasta Rose, Illustrated by Helena Crevel

The true story of Raju, the elephant who cried tears of joy as he was being freed from a lifetime of captivity and hardship.

I volunteer for Wildlife SOS so I know Raju’s story well. Shasta Rose does a wonderful job of making a tough subject digestible for a young audience.

 I bought this book for my nephew and viewed it and the beautiful pictures before I gave it to him. It became one of his favorite books. I would recommend this book for any kids you know to help them understand that most majestic animal, the elephant, in such a fun and interesting way.

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