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Tween

A Kid’s Best Friend: 10 Awesome Dog Books for Tweens

by the Brightly Editors

dog-books-tweens
Background credit: llustrator096/Shutterstock

Is there anything better than a dog? Whether they’re staring at you with their big puppy eyes or getting into some trouble, we know that our lives wouldn’t be the same without them. These loyal companions genuinely are man’s best friends, so it’s no wonder the bond between dogs and their owners is the inspiration for so many wonderful kids’ novels.

From silly to sweet and humorous to heartbreaking, here are a few of our favorite middle grade books starring these loveable creatures.

  • Awesome Dog 5000

    by Justin Dean

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    Just because Awesome Dog 5000 is technically a robot doesn’t mean he’s any less of a dog! When best friends Marty, Ralph, and Skyler discover this majorly cool robo-dog, they quickly realize that life is about to get way more interesting. Middle grade readers will love this zany romp of a series.

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  • Banjo

    by Graham Salisbury

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    Danny Mack loves his border collie, Banjo, and he’ll do anything to protect him when his family’s rural-Oregon neighbors claim Banjo’s been harming their livestock and insist he be put down. But Danny’s plan goes awry, and it’s Meg who finds a lost and wounded Banjo and takes him in. Narrated by both Danny and Meg, this historical novel is sure to stir up heaps of emotions.

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  • I, Cosmo

    by Carlie Sorosiak

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    I, Cosmo is narrated by an aging golden retriever who’s devoted to his family — especially his younger human brother, Max. When their parents’ marriage falls on the rocks, Cosmo and Max learn to rely on each other more than ever before.

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  • Maxi's Secrets

    by Lynn Plourde

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    Timminy is the new kid at middle school, and he’s unsurprised to find himself facing bullies at this school, too. His parents try to console him by adopting Maxi, a headstrong, loveable dog who's deaf. It turns out the two have a lot to teach each other (though Maxi might have the most wisdom!).

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  • The Call of the Wild

    by Jack London

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    This classic novel by Jack London follows Buck on an unforgettable and oft-treacherous journey as he’s forced into a life as a sledge dog in the harsh and unforgiving Yukon. Fans of the film adaptation will certainly appreciate the original, as well as London’s other canine-based classic, White Fang.

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  • Because of Winn-Dixie

    by Kate DiCamillo

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    Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni was sent to the local supermarket to pick up groceries but instead came back with a dog. So begins Kate DiCamillo’s classic novel about a girl and her best friend, Winn-Dixie. Over the course of the summer, Opal develops confidence in herself, and amazing things start to happen. She might even admit that everything that happened that summer happened because of Winn-Dixie.

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  • Rez Dogs

    by Joseph Bruchac

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    Rez Dogs is a beautiful story about all the ways that we protect the ones we love. Malian is visiting her grandparents on the Wabanaki reservation when the COVID-19 pandemic hits, and she has to stay to make sure her grandparents are safe. When Malsum — one of the dogs living on the rez — shows up at her door, Malian knows that he will help protect them too. This book helps frame the experiences we all went through over the past year, which can be helpful for young readers, while also showcasing the importance of community.

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  • Dog Squad

    by Chris Grabenstein

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    Meet Duke, the crime-fighting hero who helps dogs in trouble on the new hit TV series — Dog Squad! When Duke needs a stand-in, Fred, the loveable pup-next-door is a perfect choice. But Fred soon realizes that the action doesn’t end when the cameras stop rolling. Can Fred find the courage needed to save the day off-screen? Your kids will love this hilarious, action-packed new series!

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  • The Incredible Journey

    by Sheila Burnford

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    The Incredible Journey is the adventurous and heartwarming story that inspired the movie Homeward Bound. When two dogs and a cat get separated from their owner, they go to great lengths to get back home. Together these three house pets make their way through the wilderness as they face hunger, the elements, and wild animals. This classic novel has something for everyone and is much loved by kids and parents alike.

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  • Where the Red Fern Grows

    by Wilson Rawls

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    No list would be complete without this beloved classic. After years of dreaming of owning a dog, Billy has finally saved up enough money to buy two puppies. Together Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann form an inseparable bond and become the best hunting team in the Ozarks. Their adventures together teach readers about the bittersweet joy of loving another living creature. A beautiful and touching story, read with a box of tissues handy.

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