Summer or winter, there’s always a good time to read a book, whether it’s on the beach or cuddled up on your sofa. A little light-hearted reading is always good for the soul! If you’ve been looking for a few good titles to add to your reading list, try out these dog-themed books!
1. Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin
Oogy is the story of how one family came to adopt the “ugliest dog they had ever seen.” Larry Levin and his twin sons went to the veterinarian in 2002 to put their cat down – only to leave that very same day with a new best friend. Oogy, the dog, had been used as bait in dog fighting and was left for dead when he was just a puppy. The police came to his rescue, the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life, and the Levin’s family gave him a fresh start. This New York Times bestseller is as heartwarming as it is inspiring. For any dog lover who understands the meaning of “who rescued who?” the story of Oogy is sure to hit home.
2. Following Atticus: Forty-eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan
Like many beautiful and heartwarming stories, this one starts with a deep tragedy. Tom Ryan’s friend dies of cancer, so he decides to dedicate his time to her in a unique way. He decides he will hike all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. And he’ll do it while accompanied by his little canine friend, Atticus M. Finch. Following Atticus is not just a story about conquering the peaks, but a tale of the journey Ryan and Atticus have along the way. The friendship and the bond which man and dog share is unique and inspiring. The lessons that one little dog can teach a grown man are extraordinary. And if you can’t get enough of the saga or Ryan and his dog, check out Ryan’s blog.
3. Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
If you’re reading list is already pretty full this summer, consider at least adding this sweet picture book by Cynthia Rylant. Dog Heaven is the book that answers all the questions we have after reading stories like Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller. Newbery Medalist Rylant offers comfort to anyone who has ever lost a dog. Through paintings done by Rylant herself, we see grand fields for running and tasty dog biscuits for feasting upon, all in dog heaven. Still popular since its first publication, this book is sure to bring tears of joy to the eyes of dog lovers everywhere.
4. The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel by Garth Stein
A book that stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 150 weeks, this novel should be considered a must-read for all dog lovers. Told from the perspective of a dog named Enzo, this story tells the tale of a family that must learn to navigate a series of tragic ups and downs. Enzo’s master Denny is a race-car driver who suffers several family tragedies. And by his side is Enzo, a mutt who is simply trying to make sense of it all. The story is told with the kind of honesty and heart all dog lovers seek.
A children’s version of the story was also published called Racing in the Rain, also by Garth Stein. This condensed version of the story is great for younger readers or older readers who are looking for a quick story to read.
5. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
This Newbery Honor book has become a classic with children and adults alike. The story is about a young girl named Opal who finds a stray mutt at the Winn-Dixie supermarket – and decides to keep the dog and name it after the store. Winn-Dixie might be ugly but is as charming as they come. He even can smile with his teeth! That summer, 10-year-old Opal will make new friends, strange connections, and even grow closer with her family. And it’s all because of her dog, Winn-Dixie. This book is an easy read, being aimed at grades 4 through 7. But if you’re looking for something full of heart and hope, look no further.
There are many, many, many more dog books worth reading that go beyond the five we listed here. What’s on your reading list right now?