Picture this: it’s a lovely summer day, and you’re sitting in your backyard in a comfy chair with your pet relaxing by your side. Sounds delightful, right? Well, we want to help you achieve this summertime bliss with our annual Summer Reading List for Dog Lovers. Check out this year’s picks below and share your favorite dog-themed books in the comments and on Facebook!
A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron
Best-selling author W. Bruce Cameron is back with another dog-themed novel, recently released in paperback in time for summer. His heartwarming 2010 novel, A Dog’s Purpose, was made into a movie in 2017, and this newest novel is also destined for the big screen. Like A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Way Home is told from the perspective of a dog, this time a Pit Bull named Bella. Bella is a stray puppy who one day jumps into the life of a young man named Lucas. The two form a strong bond but are forced to separate due to the fact that Pit Bulls are banned in Lucas’ hometown of Denver, CO. Bella moves away to a foster home, but soon escapes and begins a long journey back home to find her best friend. Will she make it? You’ll have to read it to find out!
Tomorrow by Damian Dibben
Bella is not the only dog narrator on our list. Tomorrow, a new novel from historical fiction author Damian Dibben, is narrated by a 217 year-old dog named Tomorrow. The remarkably ageless dog is on a mission to find his lost master, a journey that takes him through the court of King Charles I in England and the golden age of Amsterdam in the 17th century, the Wars of Spanish Succession and France’s famed palace of Versailles in the 18th century, and to Venice in the early 19th century. Learn more about this time-traveling journey in the video below:
You Lucky Dog by Debra Finerman
A love story with one BIG twist, You Lucky Dog is a great pick for dog lovers looking for a hilarious, romantic and heartwarming beach read. Jake and Emma are in love, but when Jake dies in an accident, it seems like they have lost each other forever. Not so fast! Jake soon returns to life, stuck in the body of the couple’s dog. Will Jake escape his predicament? Pick up a copy of You Lucky Dog to find out!
Tuesday’s Promise: One Veteran, One Dog, and Their Bold Quest to Change Lives by Luis Carlos Montavlán and Ellis Henican
A beautiful tribute to a hero and his devoted service dog, Tuesday’s Promise is a book that you will never forget. In his first book Until Tuesday, Iraq War veteran Luis Carlos Montalván tells the story of a dog that changed his life – a Golden Retriever named Tuesday. Tuesday helped Montalván manage his post-traumatic stress disorder and other physical injuries, while Montalván taught Tuesday, who struggled with connecting to humans, how to trust him. Tuesday’s Promisecontinues their shared journey, showing how animals like Tuesday can assist soldiers, Veterans, teachers, and many others with mental and physical disabilities. Montalván and Tuesday’s successes are told side by side with the ongoing story of Montalván’s continuing physical and emotional challenges. Their story is inspiring, difficult, heartwarming and heartbreaking, and will leave a lasting impact on all who read it.
Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey by Stephen Kuusisto
Have Dog, Will Travel is another remarkable service dog story that reveals the remarkable impact these highly trained dogs can have on the lives of the humans they assist. Poet Stephen Kuusisto was born legally blind, and began working with a guide dog for the first time at age 38 when his work situation changed and required him to travel beyond his familiar small town. Kuusisto was paired with a Labrador named Corky, a dog that would change his life and guide him throughout their many adventures. Kuusisto’s writing is beautiful, moving and informative. Fellow poet Billy Collins writes of Have Dog, Will Travel: “Never before has the subtle relationship of a blind person to a guide dog been clarified in such an entertaining way. That Stephen Kuusisto enables us to see the world through his blind eyes as well as through the ‘seeing eyes’ of his dog is this book’s amazing, paradoxical achievement.”
For Young Adults
Your Robot Dog Will Die by Arin Greenwood
There are a lot of cool new dystopian YA novels to choose from this summer, but only one tackles our favorite subject of all: dogs. Your Robot Dog Will Die is set in a world where robot dogs have replaced the real thing – or so it seems. When 17 year-old protagonist and animal lover Nano Miller stumbles upon a real-life puppy with a wagging tail, she knows she must protect it at all costs. Greenwood’s thoughtful, engaging and fun book is the perfect summer read for dog-obsessed teens (and maybe their parents, too)!
For the Kids
Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog by Ann Bausum
Kids and adults alike will enjoy the unforgettable story of Sgt. Stubby, a bull terrier mix whose bravery made him the most famous canine hero of WWI. Stubby served in 17 battles in France alongside his best friend Private J. Robert Conroy and the 102nd Infantry, 27th Yankee Division. He alerted troops to incoming gas attacks, caught German spies, located missing soldiers in between the trenches and boosted morale among the troops. Bausum’s book is perfect for kids 10 and up who like their history with a bit a canine flair.
MVP: Most Valuable Puppy by Mike Greenberg and Stacey Steponate Greenberg
For younger readers, consider this sweet tale of a pink-tailed pup named Phoebe from ESPN host Mike Greenberg and Stacey Steponate Greenberg. Phoebe and her human sister have a special bond, and the spunky pup helps her “big sister” tackle new challenges with gusto. Be prepared to fall in love with Phoebe!
Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes
Rescue and Jessica is a story of friendship, determination, hope and love. The book, for kids aged 5-9, tells the story of a black Lab service dog named Rescue and Jessica, the young woman he is paired with. Rescue worries he won’t be able to do his job, but soon discovers the impact he has on Jessica and the bond that develops between them. Authors Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes are survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and Rescue is based on Kensky’s real-life service dog. Beautifully written and illustrated, Rescue and Jessica shows young readers the purpose and power of service dogs, and all the important work they do to help others.
And One for Cat Lovers, Too
They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Don’t worry, cat fans, we didn’t forget you! The best-seller They All Saw a Cat is perfect for preschoolers who can’t get enough of all things feline. Author and illustrator Brendan Wenzel’s delightful book asks the question “what do you see when you see a cat?” What follows are fantastic illustrations of one cat from the perspective of the people and animals it encounters, from a little boy to a scared puppy to a buzzing bee. Your little one will love to see what’s next in this journey of curiosity and imagination.