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A Mighty Girl's top picks of books about girls and their love of animals!
For many Mighty Girls, a beloved animal provides a treasured relationship. And whether an animal is large or small, wild or domesticated or maybe even imaginary, sometimes it’s a Mighty Girl who cares for them or even comes to their rescue! If your Mighty Girl is an animal lover, she’ll love these stories about fictional Mighty Girls who take care of the other creatures around them.
For stories of Mighty Girls and women — both fictional and real — who study wildlife, check out our blog post I Want To Be A Wildlife Biologist!.
The irrepressible little girl from Please, Baby, Please is back, a little older and with a new responsibility — a puppy! But as anyone who’s added a young puppy to their family knows, an undisciplined pup is hard to manage for an adult, let alone a pair of preschoolers. Adults will smile and young readers will laugh at this very loving and true-to-life depiction of the excitement of caring for a puppy.
In a magical forest lives a unicorn just like any other — except that Uni believes that little girls are real. Uni's friends laugh, and her parents smile knowingly, but she's sure that somewhere out there is a little girl just waiting to be her friend. Little does Uni know, but not too far away, there's a little girl dreaming of a unicorn... And while the story ends before they meet, the complementary dreams of these two "mythical" creatures prove they will be the best of friends! This charming and beautifully illustrated story will appeal to anyone who's waited to spot their own imaginary friend.
In Paris, a city full of things to explore and do, Madame Martine sticks to her daily routine and never deviates. She hasn't even seen the Eiffel Tower — "just for tourists," she sniffs. But when Madame Martine takes in a stray dog, her schedule is in for some changes! The puppy isn't content to follow along, and leads her on a wild chase — which ends at the top of the tower, with Madame Martine realizing how much beauty surrounds her. Before long, the new friends have a new routine: trying something different every week. This funny story about how pets can enrich (and shake up!) your life is sure to be a favorite.
Princess Pinecone wants to be a warrior princess, but every birthday, all she gets are fuzzy sweaters. So this year, she's completely clear about what she wants: a horse. A big, strong, ferocious war horse! Instead, she gets... a roly-poly pony that's more than a little smelly. While she's disappointed, there's one thing Pinecone knows — a true warrior can take advantage of any opportunity! This silly story from the author of Hark, A Vagrant! is not only fun but also sends the important message that gentleness can often have a greater impact than force.
A little girl finds a mysterious egg on her Sunday walk — and hatches a dragon! Her new dragon, who she names Hank, needs lots of tender loving care if he’s going to get big and strong, and training to be useful on her parents’ farm. When Hank starts attracting a little too much attention, the little girl decides to return him to Dragon Island...but comes home with a wheelbarrow full of eggs to raise and train. This charming blend of realism and fantasy is sure to be a hit with your animal — or dragon — loving Mighty Girl.
Lula Mae wants a puppy, but hard times mean that's out of the question. So, instead, she decides to make a pet out of one of her family's chickens! As far as Lula Mae is concerned, Pookie is very dog-like: she can be a show dog, a shepherd dog, even a guard dog. And when Lula Mae's baby brother wanders away, Pookie proves she can be a hero... even if she is a chicken. Kids will giggle at Lula Mae's optimism, her parents' confusion, and the inadvertent way that Pookie saves the day.
One day, a fuzzy grey cat walks out of the woods and makes himself at home at Elizabeth and Sarah’s house! Charlie stays all night, every night... but in the daytime, he disappears. When Charlie fails to show up the night after a storm, the worried girls go looking for him — and discover that Charlie has a second home. Just like Elizabeth and Sarah, Charlie has two houses, two beds, and two families that love him very much. This sweet story about life with a wandering pet is also a great conversation starter for discussing separation, divorce, and custody arrangements.
Sonya's father gives her three little chicks and tells her that taking care of them is her responsibility. And Sonya does her job well: soon, they're full-grown hens and she even finds an egg hiding in the straw! But one night, after she hears tremendous noise from the hen house, one of her chickens is gone, stolen by a fox. Fortunately, her caring father is there to show her how her own loss means growth and renewal for the fox and her kits. This thoughtful and gentle story teaches an important lesson about the interconnectedness of all living things.
In this Caldecott Medal-winning book, a young Native American girl has a special connection to horses. She speaks softly to the horses of her village and leads them all to the water to drink every morning. When a great thunderstorm causes the horses to stampede — with the girl still on one's back — she has confidence that her beloved horses will lead her down the right path. And when she meets a brave, beautiful stallion in a new land, her connection with the horses finally allows her to truly join them. This lovely story shows the joys of following your passion — and of communities that understand the special gifts of their members.
In Beatrice’s Ugandan village, few families have the money to send their children to school — until the day twelve donated goats arrive. Beatrice names her goat Mugisa, which means “lucky gift”, and thanks to Beatrice’s scrupulous care, Mugisa is soon giving enough milk that Beatrice can afford the school uniform she’s been dreaming of. Based on a real story of a family helped by Heifer Project International, and with a portion of proceeds going to support the work of the charity, this book is also a great way to show your children the impact of charitable giving.
When this little girl's mother says she can only have a pet "that doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed," she takes that as a challenge! After a little research, the girl settles on a sloth — after all, they sleep sixteen hours a day and they barely eat and drink. But when Sparky the sloth arrives, he doesn't do all the things she was imagining in a pet: no playing catch, no tricks, just sitting around and sleeping. But maybe the most important thing isn't what your pet can do; maybe it's just appreciating them for who they are. This quirky and funny story with an important message will delight all those who feel just a little bit different.
Viv has just moved to a new town by the sea, and she's still struggling to feel at home — "I always need help finding my way, especially in a new place," she thinks. On her first day at school, her teacher tells her that they're looking for a community action project to do, and urges Viv and her classmates to think of ideas. It's not until Viv learns about the sea turtle hatcheries nearby — and the way the hatchlings can get lost when they mistake artificial lights for the moon that normally guides their way — that the class finds the perfect project. This newly released picture book based on the real kids who helped save the South Carolina sea turtles is sure to inspire young animal lovers!
In this wordless picture book, a little girl, lost and alone, follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, where she finds a strange and beautiful world. But after she enjoys the wonders and companionship that the animals of this new world have to offer her, she realizes that home and family are far away. How can she find her way back? This debut book, which is laid out in a hybrid of picture book and graphic novel, features elegant and expressive black and white pencil illustrations that will have kids returning to this story over and over.
Halva, a young girl from Finnmark, finds a little white bear cub in the woods, and when she brings the cub home, Sister Bear soon becomes one of the family, hunting for them, protecting Halva, and even dancing while Halva plays the flute. Halva is so proud of Sister Bear that she takes her to the King of Denmark but on the way, an encounter with some big, ugly trolls will show Halva just how wonderful it is to have such a special sister! Based on a Norse folktale, and accompanied by beautiful, detailed illustrations, this exciting and sweet story is sure to be a favorite.
An old woman has outlived all of her friends, so to help herself feel less lonely, she names inanimate objects — but only the things that she knows will outlive her. Then a stray puppy makes his way into her life. She feeds the stray, but still refuses to name him. When the dog she still won’t acknowledge as hers doesn’t show up one day, she has a choice to make: let this new friendship disappear, or welcome a new friend into her life and finally give him a name. This touching story captures the value of animal friendship — in all stages of life.
It’s the winter of 1984-1985, and the cold is so bitter that the Senyavina Strait ices over — trapping thousands of beluga whales near Glashka’s village. A Russian icebreaker comes to help provide assistance but the terrified whales flee the noisy ship, instead of following to freedom. Even the whale calls the ship broadcasts don’t reassure the frightened animals. Fortunately, young Glashka’s connection to the whales gives her the solution: if whale song doesn’t help, perhaps human music will. This fictionalization of a real whale rescue will remind your children of the importance of caring for wild animals and the world around us.
Stubborn Lulu from Lulu and the Brontosaurus is back, this time looking to make a little extra cash by walking the neighborhood dogs. But Brutus, Cordelia, and Pookie don’t make the walk a very easy one! Lulu’s do-gooding neighbor Fleischman offers some help, which she reluctantly accepts but can two totally opposite personalities, and three not-very-cooperative dogs, ever work together? With a sarcastic, witty tone, Viorst’s story captures how animals — even undisciplined ones — can bring people together.
Ivy the girl and Scout the Korgi travel to Korgi Hollow, a world full of fairies, spiders, dinosaurs, and even a giant troll. The Mollies, little woodfolk, rely on the Korgis for protection from all of the dangers in their world. When Ivy and Scout find the Mollies’ gathering, there’s sure to be adventure ahead! A true graphic novel, with no text other than the brief introduction to the setting at the beginning, your Mighty Girl will love telling this story over and over... and maybe, if she has her own canine friend, a little of their partnership will sneak into this woodland fantasy.
Ten-year-old Tua lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and desperately wants a sister. Instead, she meets Pohn-Pohn, an elephant living in abusive captivity. Tua realizes that she is the only one who can help Pohn-Pohn — and smuggles her to freedom! Keeping Pohn-Pohn in her Auntie’s backyard isn’t a permanent solution, though, so when Tua hears about an elephant sanctuary close to Chiang Mai, it will be a race to see if Tua and Pohn-Pohn can make it there before Pohn-Pohn’s owners show up to take her back. Full of fun adventures and touches of Thai language and culture, this book is sure to have your Mighty Girl imagining her own elephant sister.
Cassie has a yen for detective work, passed down from her police chief mother and coroner father. Dodge, a police dog forced to retire after an accident leaves him deaf in one ear, adores her. And when the richest man in town goes missing, Cassie and Dodge are on the case! Sections from Dodge’s perspective, plus scenes where Cassie volunteers at an animal shelter helping an abused dog, convey a powerful message of empathy and compassion towards animals, while Cassie and Dodge’s adventures together celebrate the special relationship of a girl and her dog.
The death of Maya’s controlling grandmother reveals a family she never knew, a horse-loving great-aunt and great-uncle living in Wyoming. Although she’s hesitant at first, Maya’s love of horses helps her find her place with her new kin. She also discovers the local wild mustangs, and when one mare, Artemisia, escapes a “gathering” with her colt — leaving them without the herd’s protection against predators — Maya becomes determined to rescue them. Maya and Artemisia will have to learn to trust one another if either of them is going to make it safely home. With beautiful description and a vivid depiction of life through a horse’s eyes, horse-loving kids will love this title.
Emmeline lives in the perfect, tidy town of Neatasapin, but Emmeline likes to hop and jump and yell and she desperately wants a bunny for a pet. Orson Oliphant, the town mayor, has outlawed all animals, including bunnies. But Emmeline finds a special place where wild things still live, including a wild rabbit. Can Emmeline finally have her bunny? And if she manages, will the other people in town realize that there should always be space for a little mess and noise? With lots of wordplay and Hannigan’s own watercolor illustrations, this book is great for reading alone or aloud.
Lidie lives in Brazil but dreams of joining her father and brother in New York City, where her father runs a stable at a race track. At twelve, Lidie finally begins her long journey, while simultaneously, a young filly named Wild Girl starts traveling towards the stable. The journey — and fitting in afterwards — isn’t easy for either, and no one thinks that someone as young as Lidie can handle the challenging Wild Girl. But when Lidie finally gets to ride her, all the difficulties seem to fade away for both of them. With a nuanced story about family dynamics, immigration, and animal cruelty, your Mighty Girl will be rooting for both Lidie and Wild Girl to find their places — together.
Rose Howard's Asperger's syndrome manifests in a love of homonyms and anxiety about changes to routine. When her struggling single father brings home a dog, though, it's a change Rose adores, and she quickly chooses the name Rain — which, since it has two homonyms (reign, rein) is one of the most special names of all. But when Rain goes missing in a storm, Rose has to break all of her familiar patterns to find her beloved pet...and when she learns that Rain may already have a home, Rose will face a very difficult decision. This heartfelt novel about justice, courage, and love is sure to touch your Mighty Girl's heart.
Opal comes home from her local Winn-Dixie supermarket with something entirely unexpected — a stray dog! Soon she and the dog are best friends, and she’s named him after the place where they met. Winn-Dixie’s goofy, warm attitude become the conversation starter Opal needs to meet a wide variety of unexpected characters in her new town...and even prompts her sad, introverted father to open up about why Opal’s mother left the family. This Newbery Honor book, which was also adapted into a live-action film, is a lovely story of friendship, acceptance, and love.
When Julie flees her traditional Alaskan village to avoid an arranged marriage, she has to imitate a local pack of wolves if she’s going to survive her journey through the wilderness. Over the course of the journey, Julie learns new respect for the creatures she previously feared. However, Julie’s father’s newly modern lifestyle, tending a herd of musk oxen, threatens her beloved wolves, who he shoots on sight. Julie must find ways to balance old with new, and the safety of the wolves with the well-being of her human community. This pair of critically acclaimed novels provides a touching glimpse into the challenges of finding a balance with nature.
Jane adores horseback riding, but her family doesn’t have nearly the resources necessary for her to buy her own horse. For years, she’s ridden Beau, a school horse, and ignored the jibes of the wealthy girls who ride with her. But when Beau is sold to another owner, Jane is heartbroken. Her trainer asks her to help with a new horse to the barn: Lancelot is beautiful and talented but unpredictable, even dangerous. If they can learn to trust one another, though, Jane can ride at the end-of-summer competition and maybe even finally have a horse of her own. With a beautiful depiction of the emotional connection between horse and rider, this is sure to be a favorite with equestrian Mighty Girls.
Sophie wasn’t crazy about joining her mother’s work for a bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo — until she met Otto, a young bonobo that she rescues. Sophie and Otto’s bond is almost like that of parent and child, and when a civil war breaks out, the pair have to flee into the jungle and find a way to survive both the vicious revolutionaries and the difficulties of finding food and shelter in their environment. This thrilling adventure and survival story that tackles some difficult ethical questions is anchored by the deep, authentic relationship Sophie and Otto share and they seek a way to remain safe and together.
A relationship with an animal can be a very special one for any Mighty Girl! We hope these books will inspire your Mighty Girls — and encourage them to give some extra affection to their animal friends.
Help keep A Mighty Girl growing in the years ahead!
If you discover any books or other resources via this post that you would like to purchase, please use the "Buy at Amazon" link on every A Mighty Girl product page. By doing so, at no added cost to you, you help to support the site and allow us to continue providing you with wonderful girl-empowering resources. Thanks for your support!