From silly to sweet and raucous to heartbreaking, perhaps no other animal has been honored in kid lit the way that dogs have. From simple concept books to classic novels and everything in between, here are our 29 of our favorite dog books for kids.
Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!
1. Dogs by Emily Gravett (PreK–1)
From Great Danes to Chihuahuas and boxers to dalmatians, dogs provide the perfect context for an opposite book—with a surprise narrator revealed at the end.
2. Old Dog Baby Baby by Julie Fogliano (PreK–2)
An old dog snoozes comfortably on the kitchen floor—until the baby crawls over to play! Students will love visualizing the pair’s drool-soaked antics.
3. The Great Puppy Invasion by Alastair Heim (PreK–2)
Who’s cuddly, cute, and really bad at following rules? A puppy, that’s who! When hundreds of puppies descend on Strictville, they cause an uproar in the rule-following community.
4. Floaty by John Himmelman (PreK–2)
Caring for a dog who floats in the sky presents some unique challenges. Young listeners will love this new twist on a lost dog story.
5. Fred Stays With Me by Nancy Coffelt (PreK–2)
A young girl has to travel between Mom’s house and Dad’s, but one thing stays with her: her dog, Fred.
6. Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari (PreK–2)
This story tells how a pet’s faithfulness to his owner, a young girl who uses a wheelchair, proves extremely beneficial. This is a lovely introduction to the topic of service dogs.
7. The Great Gracie Chase: Stop That Dog! by Cynthia Rylant (K–2)
It’s hard to choose our favorite Cynthia Rylant dog, but Gracie is irresistible. All she wants is a little peace and quiet, but when she decides to take a stroll to find it, chaos follows.
8. Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp (K–2)
Dogs are wonderful at giving reassurance and comfort—even better than people sometimes! This story of how a hesitant reader found her confidence is a sweet testament to the growing trend of library dogs.
9. Henry and Mudge: The First Book by Cynthia Rylant (K–2)
Of course we can’t talk about dog books without mentioning this iconic pair. Henry and Mudge show us time and again what devotion is.
10. Amazing Dogs by Laura Buller (K–2)
This nonfiction title has just as much pull for new readers as a narrative book, with details about real-life brave, smart, and lovable canines.
11. Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan (K–3)
We’re always glad to find a fresh and fun new series for early chapter book readers. Enjoy this introduction to the adventures of a young girl and her lovable dog, and then check out the second installment, Barkus Dog Dreams.
12. Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes (K–3)
This moving story of companionship and resilience is told from the alternating points of view of a young girl, who is a recent amputee, and a service dog. It was inspired by the authors’ experiences after the Boston Marathon bombing.
13. The Other Dog by Madeleine L’Engle (K–3)
Readers will smile at this account of the arrival of Madeleine L’Engle’s daughter—as told by L’Engle’s beloved poodle.
14. Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings (K–3)
Arfy just wants to find an owner to love him. Being a resourceful pup, he launches a letter-writing campaign on Butternut Street. The feel-good ending highlights the magic of the right dog-owner match—plus, this is a great title to teach friendly letter writing.
15. “Let’s Get a Pup!” Said Kate by Bob Graham (K–3)
This uplifting title is perfect for teaching comprehension strategies and works well as a writing mentor text. Kate convinces her family to go to the animal shelter to rescue a dog, but it turns out there are two pups that capture their hearts.
16. Good Rosie by Kate DiCamillo (K–3)
Making friends can be hard, whether you’re a human or a dog. This comic-book-style offering from one of our favorite authors is a treat for young readers.
17. My Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom (K–4)
If you’re on the lookout for a pet-themed mentor text for personal narrative writing, consider this one. It captures with exquisite detail the simple event of a young girl’s walk with her neighbor’s dog.
18. A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker (K–4)
For many children, the passing of a beloved dog is their first experience with grief. This poignant wordless tale captures just how much losing a pet can hurt and offers a hopeful look at moving forward without forgetting.
19. The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan (2–5)
Teddy, a dog who has recently lost his elderly owner, narrates this tender tale. Now alone in his owner’s cabin, he rescues two children caught in a winter storm and experiences the healing power of companionship.
20. Hero Dogs by Mary Quattlebaum (2–5)
These three true stories of courageous pups, along with great photos and facts, will hook animal-loving kids.
21. Lulu Walks the Dogs by Judith Viorst (3–5)
Feisty Lulu sets out to earn money by walking neighborhood dogs in this witty illustrated chapter book. Of course, it’s a bigger job than she expected.
22. Wish by Barbara O’Connor (4–6)
Charlie wishes every day for her family to be whole again. When she moves to South Carolina to live with her aunt and uncle and takes in a stray dog named Wishbone, she finally realizes how it feels to belong.
23. Love That Dog by Sharon Creech (3–7)
This title endures as a kid lit treasure. Encouraged by his teacher, Jack learns to appreciate poetry—and finds an outlet for his grief about the loss of his dog.
24. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (3–7)
Keep the tissues nearby. At some point in their reading lives, every child deserves to experience this account of the bond between dogs and their owner.
25. Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (4–6)
Animals can be especially important to kids who struggle to connect with others. When Rose’s dog, Rain, goes missing during a storm, she searches desperately for her beloved companion.
26. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (4–7)
In this classic, Opal is lonely in her new home until she adopts a stray dog she finds at the grocery store.
27. The Last Dogs: The Vanishing by Christopher Holt (4–7)
Max, a devoted yellow Lab, and friends Rocky and Gizmo search for his family. They encounter plenty of obstacles in this quick-moving dystopian tale, the first installment of a series.
28. Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen (5–8)
Short but with plenty of heart, this is a great title to hook reluctant readers. Alternating chapters feature angry teenager Ben and wise collie Atticus as they head out on a road trip to rescue a puppy.
29. Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart (5–8)
In a unique twist on a typical dog story, this one provides a dog’s-eye view from the afterlife. Faithful pooch Brodie knows his owner Aiden still needs him. He races to find him again as tension builds.
It was almost impossible for us to pick our favorite dog books for kids from all the amazing choices. Did we list yours? Share your thoughts in our WeAreTeachers Helpline group on Facebook.
Plus, check out 15 life-changing middle grade books.