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Tween

8 Middle Grade Books for Animal Lovers

by Kari Ness Riedel

middle-grade-books-animal-lovers

Kids light up when they talk about animals. Whether they’re raving about how adorable their pet cat is or why dolphins are incredible creatures, many young people show deep tenderness and care through their relationships with animals.

It’s no wonder that books about animals are an excellent choice for these young readers. Check out the eight favorites listed below. Some are told from the animal’s point of view, which offers a unique perspective on humans, while others highlight the emotional connection between humans and animals. I highly recommend these titles for tween animal lovers.

  • Clarice the Brave

    by Lisa McMann

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    Unlikely friendships and family love are central themes in this tender, adventure-filled survival story. A young mouse, Clarice, gets separated from her brother Charles when the crew of the ship they live on declares mutiny. Clarice finds herself on a lifeboat with a small group, including the ship’s captain and his pet cat, Special Lady, while Charles remains on the boat. As Clarice and Charles struggle to find each other again, they form new alliances and learn the true meaning of bravery.

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  • The Unicorn Rescue Society Series

    by Adam Gidwitz and Hatem Aly

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    Beware: these books will make your kids (and you) laugh out loud. This cleverly written series centers on Uchenna and Elliot, two kids who help the wacky Dr. Fauna discover mythological creatures in the wild. While Dr. Fauna’s primary goal is to find unicorns, he and the kids embark on several page-turning adventures as they find other mysterious beasts. This series is perfect for chapter book readers who like fantasy.

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  • Fenway and Hattie Series

    by Victoria J. Coe

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    Change is hard for Fenway, a high-energy Jack Russell with a big personality. When his family moves from the city to the suburbs, he must adjust to life with Evil Squirrels, the Big Park, and sadly, less time with his favorite human, Hattie. This funny and charming story about friendship is told from a “dog’s eye view” and has quick pacing befitting an impulsive puppy, like Fenway.

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  • Appleblossom the Possum

    by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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    Before Mama Possum leaves her babies, she tells them about the monsters they might encounter, like dogs, cars, and humans. One day, the runt of the litter, Appleblossom, gets found by a young girl, Iris, who loves to pamper her new pet. This is a disaster to Appleblossom’s brothers, so they set out on a mission to rescue her from the human monster. This warm-hearted story is full of mischief, humor, and a peek into the relationships between pets and their owners.

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  • The Tale of Despereaux

    by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering

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    Despereaux is not an ordinary mouse. This modern classic and Newbery Medal-winning book shares the madcap adventures of a mouse, a rat, and a servant girl who find themselves on a treacherous journey that requires bravery, creativity, and loyalty. This book makes a fantastic family or class read-aloud.

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  • Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

    by Kelly Jones and Katie Kath

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    Moving from the big city to her great-uncle's farm is hard for 12-year-old Sophie. But when she discovers the chickens have superpowers like telekinesis and invisibility, things get interesting. Chaos and calamity ensue as Sophie must protect her new chicken friends from the local poultry thief. Told through a series of Sophie’s letters, this quirky story provides humor, heart, and many facts about chickens!

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  • Song for a Whale

    by Lynne Kelly

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    Twelve-year-old Iris feels tired of being misunderstood and treated like she's not intelligent. She might be deaf, but what other kids her age spend their time repairing old radios? So when Iris learns about Blue 55, a whale who cannot communicate with his peers, she feels instantly connected to him. Iris has an idea for how to help him, and nothing will stop her from traveling 3,000 miles to find him. Bravery and empathy abound in this meaningful story about relationships with animals, family, friends, and ourselves.

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  • Redwall Series

    by Brian Jacques

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    This series is perfect for fans of epic animal adventure stories. Matthias the mouse and his friends must battle Cluny, a one-eyed rat, and his massive army to save their families and the whole mouse world. Fast-paced action, vivid descriptions, and compelling characters keep kids returning to this classic series year after year.

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