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Animal books as gifts of kindness

Dawn Armstrong
Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA

Kindness and compassion are not always natural virtues. For this reason when you think about gifts this holiday season, think about giving books which entertain while nurturing humane qualities in young readers. Here are suggestions from the National Humane Education Society, the Association of Professional Humane Educators, and others. Many of these titles are featured in the free Lake Tahoe Humane Society “My Reading Buddy’ practice reading program at the South Lake Tahoe public library and at Bona Fide Books.

“A Dog Isn’t Just for Christmas,” by Beth Peterson. A resource for explaining that having a pet is a lifelong commitment.

“A Home for Dakota,” by Jan Zita Grover. Describes the journey of a dog who was rescued from a puppy mill.

“A Home for Nathan,” by Claudia M. Roll. The true story of an unwanted cat cared for at an animal shelter and finally adopted into a loving home every cat deserves.

“A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose,” by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen. Amelia adopts an imaginary dog and when her make-believe dog runs away her parents are in for a surprise.  

“Are You Ready for Me?” By Claire Buchwald. Two dogs in an animal shelter ask children questions about what dogs need, covering the responsibilities of pet ownership.

“The Boy Who Loved All Living Things: The Imaginary Childhood Journal of Albert Schweitzer,” by Sheila Hamanaka. A fictional journal of a young Albert Schweitzer describing situations which could have led him to become concerned with animal welfare at a young age. 

“Buddy Unchained,” by Daisy Bix. Buddy transforms from being a neglected, outside dog to a loved, inside pet. .

“The Bravest Cat: The True Story of Scarlett,” by Laura Driscoll. A special cat saves her kittens from a fire and the community finds homes for all of them. 

“Dewey, There’s a Cat in the Library,” by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter. Dewey is found in the book drop of a public library as a kitten and becomes the library cat.

“The Dog Who Cried Wolf,” by Keiko Kasza. Moka the dog decides that he wants to be a wolf. Then he realizes he is content being a dog.

“It’s Raining Cats and Cats,” by Jeanne Prevost and Amelia Hanse. About what happens when you have a lot of cats that aren’t spayed and neutered. 

“Lucky: A Dog’s Best Friend,” by Gus Clarke. Lucky describes day-to-day life in an animal shelter waiting for a home.  

“Max Talks to Me,” by Claire Buckwald and Karen Ritz. Describes the bond between Alex and his dog Max and the ways dogs and humans communicate.

“My First Kitten,” by Karla Olson. Tips for children on how to raise a kitten. Information about grooming, litter-training, feeding, and communicating with cats.

“Pablo Puppy’s Search for the Perfect Person,” by Sheila Hamanaka. A puppy and an older dog living in a shelter educate children about their needs and the value of humane treatment toward animals.

“Tails Are Not for Pulling,” by Elizabeth Verdick. Children learn how to read pets’ body language and how to meet pets for the first time.

“Two Bobbies,” by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery. A dog and cat survive Hurricane Katrina by staying together.

“Widget,” by Lyn Rossiter McFarland. A stray dog finds his way to a warm home but has to convince the six resident felines in to accept him.

For additional suggestions for older age groups, including adults, call 542-2857.

Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help “Keep Tahoe Kind.” Dawn Armstrong is the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA.


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