Books for Animal-Loving Tweens and Teens (A Gift Guide)

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I got the idea for this gift guide from reading and reviewing Seekers: The Quest Begins. There are a lot of great books about animals and our relationship with them for middle grade students and young adults, this really is just a small sampling. Many of these are series with multiple titles to explore, even better for thoughtful gifting. You’ll find a range of books appropriate for younger and older teens.

Books for Animal-Loving Tweens & Teens: A Gift Guide from The Library Adventure

White Fang and The Call of the Wild by Jack London:  These classic stories about the wolf who leaves the wild and the dog who returns to it are wonderful adventure stories. When I finally read White Fang for the first time a few years ago, I literally couldn’t put it down. A must-read for anyone interested in the natural world.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech: This lovable book explores the bond between a boy and his lost dog through poetry, which our narrator is learning about in school. It is a quick and adorable read.

Erin Hunter’s Warriors, Seekers, and Survivors series:  My middle school students loved Erin Hunter’s books, and I was pleasantly surprised by the anthropomorphic tales when I read the first book in her bears series. Her original (and very popular) Warriors series (there are many) are about cats, and she has a series about dogs as well.

Marguerite Henry’s horse classics: The classic tales beginning with Misty, a wild mare on Assateague Island. Sure to be a perfect fit for any horse-loving girl.

Julie of the Wolves, Julie, and Julie’s Wolf Pack by Jean Craighead GeorgeJulie of the Wolves was a favorite of mine when I was younger, so I was pleased to see it extended with Julie and Julie’s Wolves. Julie is an Eskimo girl that runs away from home but soon realizes that the Alaskan tundra is no place for a girl to be alone, and it is only through befriending a wolf pack and living by her people’s traditions that she can survive.

Watership Down by Richard Adams: Like Erin Hunter’s books, Watership Down tells the story of a group of animals on an adventure, searching for a new and safer home. The novel explores a rich culture (including a language) that Adams has created among the rabbits, and analogies between the characters’ search for freedom and the modern day human experience are easy to draw.

Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler: A delightful book about a teenage girl living outside Yellowstone National Park and the way the re-entry of wolves into the park affects not only her town but her personal life. It contains great information on the interaction between wolves and the human world. A very enjoyable read.

A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata: Set in South Vietnam in 1975, this is the story of 13-year-old Y’Tin and his struggles to save himself and the elephants he cares for and trains when the Vietcong attack his village. He and a friend flee to the jungle to find the elephants, but the anxieties caused by the war are not as easy to erase.

Trusting Calvin: How a Dog Helped Heal a Holocaust Survivor’s Heart by Sharon Peters: While this book isn’t specifically geared toward a young adult audience, I thought it would make a wonderful addition for any older teen studying the Holocaust in school. While Max Edelman was incarcerated in various concentration camps as a teenager during WWII, he was beaten blind by Nazi soldiers. After surviving the horrors of the camp, he is given a seeing-eye dog to help him. How his relationship with Calvin unfolds and helps him to heal is a wonderful story.

About Emily Falke

Emily is a wife, a mother, and a former middle school English teacher. She is a graduate of the Teachers Academy Summer Institute program at The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and believes that literature is for everyone. As well as reading and writing, she loves to knit, bake bread, practice yoga, and spend time with her family in the great outdoors. You can find out more about Emily by reading her blog or connecting with her on Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. I love to see book lists, and we do love animals at our house! There are some new ones here for me, and I’m going to have to see if my girls would like to read them. They both have birthdays coming up in March, so perhaps some of these will become gifts! We’re reading Watership Down this year, and they’ve really enjoyed it. Marguerite Henry’s books are also favorites, particularly with my older daughter.

    I don’t think anyone has read any Jack London yet – I shall have to remedy that!

    I read one of the “Warriors” books when my niece was reading that series, and it didn’t thrill me. I felt that it gave an anti spay/neuter message, which is counterproductive. That aspect turned me off that first book, and I didn’t continue with the series. There are better books out there. I might look at the one on bears, though. That sounds interesting. #BB100

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