Do you like animals? Do you like books? How about animals and books together? I know it’s not a unique out-of-the-world thought but isn’t it amazing how two of our favorite things combine to make an even more amazing thing. Animals make up very good material for books. Doesn’t matter if you love a particular species of animals or the entire animal race, there is a book for every animal lover in this article you’re about to read. So let begin with 24 such books every animal lover must read.
I am an animal lover, alright but with a special bias towards dogs (guilty as charged). I would surely admit that I’m not a fan of all the animals existing out there. Some of them rather freaks me out but I don’t hate any of the animals out there, that’s for sure. I have read ample books about animals (dogs especially) so I think I’m more than eligible for recommending some to you for you to give a read.
From gorillas to elephants to dogs and cats, there are so many amazing books out there for every animal. From real-life incidents to fiction to fantasy, everything is available. Some of the books are so wholesome that animal lovers who aren’t into reading are giving them a read. On the other hand, people who aren’t animal lovers are converting into one after reading such books. This is the impact they have on each other. Isn’t it so amazing?
I have read ALL of the below-mentioned books, some of them even more than 2 times. Can’t help it, they’re just so amazing! If you love animals and books at the same time, these books are a must for you all. Let’s go through the books that’ll make you want to go and buy yourself a pet right now (if you don’t have one already)
24 Books You Must Read if You are an Animal Lover
Book lovers, read these books and start loving animals. Animal lovers, read these books and fall in love with reading. The ones who already love both, sit back, read these books, and enjoy!
1. The One and Only Ivan
Full Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
Genre: Children’s Literature
Publishing Date: 2012
It is a cute little story of Ivan, an easygoing gorilla, living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He always has humans around him, staring at him through the glass. He does not miss his life in the jungle; instead, what he thinks about is T.V. shows, his friends Stella (an elephant) and Bob (a strat dog), and art.
When he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, who brings several changes with her, it’s now up to our Ivan to make that change positive.
2. The Art of Racing in the Rain
Full Title: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Publishing Date: 2008
Have you ever encountered a book that makes you laugh deeply but aches your heart clench equally strongly? It is one of those. Enzo is different from other dogs, and he knows it. He is rather philosophical, has a nearly human soul, and has an obsession with opposable thumbs. He has educated himself through television and by listening to his master, Denny Swift’s, words closely and carefully.
Through what he has seen and heard, Enzo has very realistic thoughts about human life. Even as he is dying, he recalls everything that he went through with his family.
3. Random Acts of Kindness by Animals
Full Title: Random Acts of Kindness by Animals
Author: Stephanie Laland
Genre: Self-help book
Publishing Date: 1997
Pets are indeed affectionate and highly intelligent. The stories collected in this amazing book prove this point. There are so many beautiful and awesome stories in this book that demonstrate animals’ compassion, from which we humans can (and should) learn a lot.
This book demonstrates the sweet and unconditional love and bond that humans and animals share. After reading this book, you’re likely to think that animals are better than humans (at least that’s what happened with me).
4. Beyond Words
Full Title: Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
Author: Carl Safina
Publishing Date: 2015
This book puts forward a powerful insight into one the kind personalities of animals with amazing stories, where animals are shown feeling joy, sorrow, grief, anger, jealousy, fear, and love.
It offers a view on the behaviour of animals through travelling to various places like Amboseli National Park to witness elephant families’ struggle to survive poaching and drought, Yellowstone National Park to witness wolves sort out the pack’s issue, and then having a loot into the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest to observe the killer whales living there.
5. Careers for Animal Lovers
Full Title: Careers for Animal Lovers
Author: Louise Miller
Genre: Self-help book
Publishing Date: 1991
There is no doubt that your passion can become your profession in today’s times. No, I am not talking about reading (we’ll discuss that later). I’m talking about loving and caring for animals. Yes, you can earn money by doing so, and how to is mentioned in this book. You can work as an animal attendant, trainee, zoo curator, veterinarian, pet sitter, aquarist, and more, to even name.
Through this book, you’ll be able to gain perspective and information about your ideal job that involves you being around animals.
6. The Soul of an Octopus
Full Title: The Soul of an Octopus
Author: Sy Montgomery
Genre: Creative Nonfiction
Publishing Date: 2015
Octopus are rather complex, intelligent, and spirited creatures. This book explores the physical and emotional aspects of octopuses and their great connections with human beings in a fascinating, touching, informative, and entertaining way.
The author, a popular naturalist, has befriended several octopuses with different personalities from aquarium tanks in New England, Reefs of French Polynesia, and the Gulf of Mexico, namely gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. These days, scientists are interested in observing the intelligence and problem-solving ability of octopuses, and this book is an addition to the research.
7. The Wilderness Family
Full Title: The Wilderness Family: At Home With Africa’s Wildlife
Author: Kobie Kruger
Publishing Date: 2001
The scenarios and experiences mentioned in this book could be the comfort zone of animal lovers. What animal lover wouldn’t want to live in a remote station in the region of a National Park, surrounded by nature and animals? That’s exactly what the author did, along with her husband and three young daughters, when she moved to the Mahlangeni region of South Africa’s vast Kruger National Park, but not out of love for the wild.
After having several adventures and extraordinary experiences with animals there, they encountered an opportunity to raise a lion cub, who was on the verge of death when found by then. They raised him with love and named him Leo. Now, as he is all grown up, this book records their hilarious endeavours to teach him to be like a ‘real’ lion so that he can survive with his kind in the wild.
8. Love, Life, and Elephants
Full Title: Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
Author: Daphne Sheldrick
Publishing Date: 2012
You might have heard about many dogs’ and cats’ saviours who step out of their houses to rescue stray cats and dogs. But have you ever heard about such an elephant saviour? That’s what’s in this book. Daphne’s typical day includes rescuing baby elephants, helping find homes for orphaned elephants, and campaigning against poaching in the ivory trade.
In this book, Daphne writes about how she fell in love with Tsavo Game Park and David Sheldrick, and it’s the warden. Further, she tells how the both of them together devote their lives to saving elephants, mainly from poaching. At first, they lost every infant elephant until when Daphne devised a milk formula to help keep them alive.
9. Marley & Me
Full Title: Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog
Author: John Grogan
Publishing Date: 2005
No dog lover would ever regard any dog as ‘bad’ or ‘the worst’ dog. But here in this book, the author claims that he has experienced living with the world’s worst yet best dog. John and Jenny, a young couple in love beginning their life together, brought home a puppy, Marley.
Since then, there has been no peace in their lives. He would misbehave all the time by crashing through screen doors, drooling over guests, stealing women’s undergarments, etc. No one, not even obedience school, could discipline him. But that’s not what Marley was all about. He would love and care to the fullest.
He was with the couple through their thick and thin, experiencing every happiness and sorrow with them. He taught everyone that unconditional love comes in many forms.
10. Lily and the Octopus
Full Title: Lily and the Octopus
Author: Steven Rowley
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Publishing Date: 2016
You might have heard people saying, “love hurts”. Let me tell you this: nothing hurts more than living with a dog. It’s a bittersweet experience. A story with a similar experience has been narrated in this book.
Reading the title, you might have felt that this is a cute little story about some “Lily” and an Octopus. You’re not completely wrong, though, just a little different being that “octopus” here is a metaphor for something not-so-cute. It is about Ted and his 12-years-old dog, Lily, and is set in the last six months of Lily’s life before she completely succumbed to a brain tumour.
The brain tumour is the octopus here that, as described in the book, is like an eight-legged evil sea creature that grips and clings over her eye tightly. Funnily and ardently, the author forms this beautiful yet sorrowful story.
11. The Animal-Lover’s Book of Beastly Murder
Full Title: The Animal-Lover’s Book of Beastly Murder
Author: Patricia Highsmith
Publishing Date: 1975
Unlike other books on the list, this one is quite different. Oddly different, to be specific. It does not depict much love and affection between human beings and animals. Rather, it focuses more on the cruelty factor in the society between the two species.
This book is a collection of 13 such stories titled Chorus Girl’s Final Performance and Djemal’s Revenge. There I was, Stuck with Busy, King’s Biggest Prey, In the Dead of Truffle Season, The Bravest Rat in Venice, Engine Horse, The Day of Reckoning, Notes from a Respectable Cockroach, Eddie, and the Monkey Robberies, Hamsters vs Webster’s, Harry: A Ferret, and Goat Ride.
The cruelty in these stories is depicted from both sides towards each other and among themselves. This book clearly shows the author’s affinity toward the animals.
12. The Call of the Wild
Full Title: The Call of the Wild
Author: Jack London
Publishing Date: 1903
Another delightful book for dog lovers. It will invoke an even more sense of sympathy towards dogs. It is another example of how some humans can be so cruel to these creatures while remaining loyal to them.
The novel revolves around a dog named Buck, who is powerful. He is kidnapped and sold to dog traders. He is beaten and tortured in the name of teaching and is then shipped to Klondike, where dogs are needed to pull sledges of heavy gold. All the torture and beating around him turns him into a wild dog. Moving towards the brink of death, he is saved by a person named John Thorton, who becomes his new master.
Buck loves John a lot, but John is killed by Yeehat Indians, a killer tribe, one day. Buck returns to the wild, befriends wolves, becomes their leader, and causes terror among Yeehats to avenge John’s death.
Even though he is glorious in the wilderness now, he always returns to his master John’s place where he died, just like he used to do when he was still alive. A very heart-touching and heartwarming story sure to bring years to your eyes.
13. Old Yeller
Full Title: Old Yeller
Author: Freed Gipson
Publishing Date: 1942
This book is about the pure bond a dog shares with us humans. It revolves around a 14-year-old boy Travis who, with the help of a brave stray dog, takes care of his home, his mother, and his little brother in the absence of his father. The dog is named Old Yeller by Travis as he is yellow, and his bark sounds like the yelling noise of humans.
The dog is one-eared and sub-tailed and stole their bacon one morning, so Travis doesn’t approve of him at first but reluctantly agrees to keep him because his younger brother loves Yeller, and even his mother approves of him.
Eventually, their bond grows more and more strong. When the plague of hydrophobia spreads around and threatens the family, and Yeller is suspected of being infectious, he has no choice but to shoot him. He gets lost in despair from where he is brought back by his father, who tells him that what he did was right and that he is proud of him.
Travis then takes in the speckled puppy, Yeller and Lisbeth’s dog’s son, and teaches him to be strong, loyal, and brave, just like his father.
Full Title: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Author: Vicki Myron
Publishing Date: 2008
Enough about dogs and dog lovers. It is now time for cats to shine. Cats are often disliked and even hated by people here and there. They are also regarded as good-for-nothing and not as loyal as dogs.
Maybe this book will change the perspective of those people. A poor cat stuffed into a box, Dewey returned to Spencer Library. Vicki Myron, the library director, found him. Dewey won her heart along with all the other staff members. He pulled himself up and hobbled on his frostbitten feet, and nudged each of them to express a gesture of thanks and love. He would help the people there and be smart enough to figure out who needed him the most and when.
Vicki, a single mother, survived the loss of her family farm, had a breast cancer scare, and bore an alcoholic husband, found her comfort in Dewey. He stayed there for 19 long years and continued to charm the people there with his gestures filled with warmth, enthusiasm, humility, and sixth sense. Dewey, eventually, became the library’s pride as his fame grew from town to town, state to state, and finally worldwide.
15. White Fang
Full Title: White Fang
Author: Jack London
Genre: Adventure Fiction
Publishing Date: 1906
It’s quite a party for dog-lovers, I must say. This book is about White Fang, part dog and the part world and the lone survivor of his family. It is about how he is forced to follow the rule of the North, that is, to kill or be killed.
White Fang is born to a she-wolf, a half-dog, among several other pups who pass away due to famine. White Fang and her mother return to her master in India, Gray Beaver. Soon after, his mother is sold out to another Indian while White Fang stays with Great Beaver, who is terrorized by other village dogs, due to which he becomes more and more vicious, even more as his master encourages him to do it.
He starts killing other dogs around him and is passed on into the hands of a monstrous man, Beauty Smith, where he finally meets a bulldog of his match. White Fang is saved from there by a man named Scott, with whom he finally finds a true home, family, and a master’s love. That’s when he finally started having a happy life.
16. Animal Farm
Full Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Publishing Date: 1945
You might have heard and read about animals getting mistreated and ill-handled. But have you ever heard tales of animals taking revenge on such people? I’m sure not many are there. Well, this is just such a book.
This book is about how mistreated, frustrated, and over-worked animals finally decide to take things into their paws and take over the entire farm where they will create a paradise with justice, progress, and equality. A boar call an all-animal meeting. Old Major tells them his dream of having all the animals living together with no human to control them and even teaches them a song, “Beasts of England”, whose lyrics describe his dream. But unfortunately, the boar died within three days of the meeting.
Now, the formulation and execution are taken over by three pigs, namely Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer, who work on a philosophy called “Animalism”.
This book gives a loud message t stop animal cruelty, or else the day is not far when animals start revolting, just like in this novella.
17. Ape House
Full Title: Ape House
Author: Sara Gruen
Publishing Date: 2010
This novel opens up the world of animals in front of us in a way very few novels have done. Have you ever felt that you don’t belong to the place you’re in or, more like, don’t belong to the species you are a part of? Yes? No? Maybe? I don’t know about you, but I do know that our protagonist, Isabel Duncan, feels the same.
Isabel Duncan is much more comfortable among her apes inside the Great Ape Lab, where she works as a scientist than among humans. The apes in her lab, Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbingi, Jelani, and Makena, are bonobos, special apes. They can reason, but they also know the American sign language, unlike other bonobos. Due to a big blast in the lab, the apes get freed, and Isabel gets seriously injured.
The media takes special interest in those apes, and a show featuring the missing apes debuts under mysterious circumstances where the abilities of the apes are exploited to a great extent. To get her family of apes back, Isabel now needs to talk to and get help from creatures of her kind, fellow humans.
18. Esther the Wonder Pig
Full Title: Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time
Author: Caprice Crane, Derek Walter, and Steve Jenkins
Publishing Date: 2016
This is yet another cute, adorable, and heart-warming novel. We have a cute little pig, Esther, as the protagonist. It is a true story that the authors have experienced in their lives.
Steve Jenkins, the eternal animal lover, gets a call from his friend to adopt a micro piglet, to which he can’t say no, knowing that his partner, Derek, wouldn’t be so excited and thrilled about having another stray live with him them. But Esther changed their lives forever by turning them upside down.
The micro pig they adopted didn’t have anything micro in him anymore. She grew up to be a whole 270 kilograms of pig, and the problem she created were even larger and heavier. While they were getting used to handling this pig of a problem, they took another life-changing decision to buy a farm and found the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, where they would take care of Esther and other stray animals in need.
This book narrates the beautiful journey of Steve and Derek from being reluctant pig parents to becoming the world’s most loved and successful animal rights activists. Also, most animal lovers would relate to Steve a lot.
19. The Last Panther
Full Title: The Last Panther
Author: Todd Mitchell
Publishing Date: 2017
This book is specially made for animal lovers to read. Even if you’re not a reader, you need to read this one. It is about an 11-year-old animal lover named Kiri who always has had a special connection with the animals.
The wild and the wilderness call to her and attract her to themselves. But little did she know that the same wilderness she loves so much would make her stand at such a difficult point in her life where she might lose everything she holds dear.
She has an encounter with the Florida Panther, the last known of its kind. Her father, a conservationist, wants to send the Panther to a zoo, whereas the village poachers want to sell it to feel themselves and their families. Kiri, being an animal lover and a fan of the wild, wants to save the Panther, and for that, she must start a journey that might take her deep into the wilderness she loves so much.
She has to figure a way for her father and the villagers to understand each other because if she doesn’t, she might lose her only home. She has the only family she’s been left with, and most importantly, the Panther.
20. Dreaming the Bear
Full Title: Dreaming the Bear
Author: Mimi Thebo
Publishing Date: 2016
Every animal lover’s love for animals has some story that made them animal lovers. This book is about how a person comes to love animals, the wonderful creations of God.
On her dad’s decision, Darcy, her mom, and her younger brother move from England to the snowy wilderness of Yellowstone National Park with him. All of her family members are thrilled to be there. Everyone but her. She misses her friends, civilization, and WiFi. She feels weird there and even has strange dreams. She even got sick, which made her weaker and weaker over time.
She finds a mother bear lying injured one day while the hunters kill all her cubs. She makes it her job to take care of her, even though she isn’t well enough to care for herself. The mother bear makes Darcy feel accompanied and alive, and on the other hand, the bear needs her just as much. Darcy is brave, and the mother bear is affectionate, but is there a strong bond to stand through nature’s ultimate question: kill or be killed?
21. I, Cosmo
Full Title: I, Cosmo
Author: Carlie Sorosiak
Publishing Date: 2019
Here we have another book for dogs and dog lovers. This book is narrated from the dog Cosmo’s point of view. He’s been in the family since mom and dad got married, and it’s been ten years since he became a big brother to their kid, Max.
When Max was born, Cosmo knew nothing more than that he had to protect that boy from everything at all costs. Cosmo is a devoted dog, and unlike any other dog, he wouldn’t want anything to happen to his happy family. But there was an obvious problem in the house as dad was sleeping on the couch for some time, and loud arguments were taking place in the household, affecting both Cosmo and Max.
An idea suddenly popped in Max’s head that if he and Cosmo won a canine freestyle dance competition, it would again fill the family with ecstasy and stop the parents from separating. Despite his body getting aged and weak, Cosmo gives in his all for the contest.
22. All Creatures Great and Small
Full Title: All Creatures Great and Small/All Things Bright and Beautiful
Author: James Herriot
Publishing Date: 1972
This book is a memoir of the author himself. He recalls the time he was young as he took up the calling only to discover that the veterinary practise in rural Yorkshire was very different from the setting of veterinary school. In this book, James describes an unforgettable, magical, and surreal world where he is the world’s most loved veterinarian and his funny, heart-warming, and heart-wrenching experiences with his animal patients.
This book will make you laugh, smile, and even have tears in your eyes. Whatever the emotion you feel, this book will certainly entertain and delight you.
23. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Full Title: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Author: Kate Dicamillo
Genre: Children’s Literature
Publishing Date: 2006
This book will make you read in awe and make you feel jealous of a rabbit, our protagonist. A rabbit doll, to be exact.
This story is about a rabbit doll named Edward Tulane, happy and loved throughout the novel. He is owned by a little girl who loves and takes care of him very much. But one day, he is accidentally shipped to London, where he experiences being in all sorts of weird and unexpected places, starting from the ocean bed to a garbage dump but still manages to be loved and find happiness.
He loves and is loved throughout when one day after years have passed, and he is waiting on the shelf waiting for a new owner, he gets reunited with his first owner, the little girl, who has now all grown up and has her daughter.
24. Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
Full Title: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
Author: Frans de Waal
Publishing Date: 2016
If I ask you, “Who are the most intelligent species on Earth?” you’ll probably answer with “humans”. You would be right earlier in the time, but now with growing studies in animal cognition, this claim can easily be eroded.
Animals are pretty intelligent creatures, and they do certain things that not even humans could think of. For example, if we take Octopuses, they use coconut shells as tools, or Elephants can efficiently classify humans by age, gender, and language. We have a live example that demonstrates the intelligence of animals, that is, Ayumu, the chimpanzee at Kyoto, who demonstrates his species’ ability for exceptionally well photogenic memory.
Many other animals like parrots, dolphins, bats, whales, and so many more can outshine humans if given some more time to evolve.
Conclusion| 24 Books Every Animal Lover Must Read
Animals are the best and the most beautiful creations on this planet. They make me feel so calm and amazed at how life exists in so many different forms. Every animal has its way of viewing the world and reacting to it accordingly. If you are an animal lover, you HAVE to read these books, and if you’re not, you DEFINITELY have to read these to see what you’ve been missing out.
Also, do check out the following: