The stories that we read as kids can stay with us well into adulthood – so too can the beautiful lessons we learn from them. 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.
“The thought that all animals are individuals and want to live had a huge impact on me as a little kid.” — Lucy, Communications
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.
“This book taught me about kindness. Written from the horse’s perspective, it instilled the fact that all animals have feelings, emotions and personalities, just like humans.” — Tash, Executive Officer
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.
“It made me think ‘snakes are people too!’ and I became very protective of reptiles in my childhood.” –Lou/snake girl/bat lady, Supporter Services and Wildlife Carer
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!
“‘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.
Bonus: This beautiful story was also turned into a heart-warming film with a powerful message of kindness!
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.
“I’d never thought of a pig as a friend or someone you could love and who would love you back. This book completely reshaped the way I thought about all animals.” — Lisa, Communications Director
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 overall message is that all creatures are unique and all desire and deserve love and companionship no matter their species.” — Kat, Senior Graphic Designer
Little ones with big hearts
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, anything is possible.
Beyond books, there are plenty of other ways you can help to inspire a child’s love of nature:
- Try some of these fun and simple animal-friendly kid’s activities next weekend or over the holidays.
- Check out these nature-inspired activities for kids at home.
And for us – perhaps we can learn to see the world through a child’s eyes…