“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it." — Oscar Wilde
Is there any more perfect gift than a great book? And the stories that we read as kids can stay with us well into adulthood. Here are 12 of our favourite children’s books. We know the young animal lover in your life will adore them.
Charlotte’s Web — E. B. White
Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider are unlikely friends. But when Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered for meat, clever little Charlotte makes it her mission to convince the farmer to let him live.
Bonus: It’s also a movie!
Black Beauty — Anna Sewell
A story of a horse told from the horse’s perspective. He goes through the hands of a number of different ‘owners’. Some are kind, some are cruel.
Lizard Gully — Warwick Tennant
The smartly dressed individuals of Lizard Gully have a very important responsibility — making rainbows for the sky. The community of Australian animals must work together to stop criminals from stealing all the petals that make the rainbows.
Grandad’s Gifts — Paul Jennings
This is a spooky and touching story about a boy who is able to bring a fox who had been killed for its fur back to life — with a little help from his recently deceased grandfather.
Troggle the Troll — Nick Falk and Tony Lowe
Troggle is a small troll who doesn’t want to eat people for dinner. Can he convince his family that vegetables are yummy?
The Velveteen Rabbit — Margery Williams
An oldie but a goodie! The Velveteen Rabbit is about a boy who gets sick and is made to burn all his toys that might carry the infection – including the little bunny that he loves the most. Later, he sees the bunny brought to life!
[PLUGIN type="quotation" quote="‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'"]
The Story of Ferdinand — Munro Leaf
Ferdinand isn’t like other bulls. While the others want to charge around and butt heads, Ferdinand is happiest sitting quietly under his favourite tree and smelling the flowers.
A Day No Pigs Would Die — Robert Newton Peck (Young adult fiction)
A dark story about a boy who bonds with a pig named Pinky. But when his family is going through tough times, Pinky’s fate takes a sad turn.
WANTED: The Perfect Pet — Fiona Robertson
This is a story of a boy who wants a dog more than anything in the world so he places an ad in the newspaper. A lonely duck desperate for a friend disguises himself as a dog and goes to meet the boy.
The Very Best of Friends — Margaret Wild
When Jesse is forced to cope with the sudden loss of her partner James, she shuts out his beloved cat William. But she soon learns that sometimes we need animals just as much as they need us.
Born Free — Joy Adamson (suitable for young adults)
Born Free is the story of Elsa the lion cub who was orphaned and raised by Joy and George Adamson and later released back in the wild. Though not technically a children’s story, it was much loved by a number of our staff when they were young.
The Incredible Journey — Sheila Burnford
Three family pets go an adventure to find their humans that have gone on holiday.
The bond felt between animals and children is undeniable. And the children of today are the world leaders of tomorrow. When children grow up with hearts and minds full of kindness, compassion, hope and belief in a better world … well … anything is possible.
Do you know some future world leaders? We hope that you will share stories about love and compassion with the children in your life.
See the world through a child’s eyes …