Nonfiction Children’s Books About Dogs

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Dogs are always popular, but we have even more reason to celebrate because 2018 is the Year of the Dog. It is a great time to share some nonfiction children’s books about our furry friends, dogs.

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Beginning Readers

Capstone’s Dogs, Dogs, Dogs series features a number of beginning reader titles about common dog breeds, like:

All about German Shepherds by Erika L. Shores

Featuring short sentences and controlled vocabulary, these informational books help young children learn about dogs while learning to read.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1429687258
ISBN-13: 978-1429687256

Picture Books

It’s a Puppy’s Life by Photographer Seth Casteel

As we would expect from National Geographic, the photographs are fantastic, funny and cute. The author/photographer of the wildly popular Underwater Dogs (see below), Seth Casteel obviously has a passion for his subjects. We see puppies playing, sniffing, making a mess, and sleeping.

Where’s the science? In the back matter are 32 thumbnails of the photographs used in the book with captions that identify each by breed. The puppies range from basset hounds to Yorkshire terriers, allowing readers to explore the concept of inheritance and variation of traits, a Next Generation Science standardOpens in a new window.

Even the most reluctant reader is going to enjoy It’s a Puppy’s Life. It is an obvious choice for anyone who is a dog enthusiast, plus would be a great choice to share for National Puppy Day, March 23.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (March 20, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426330693
ISBN-13: 978-1426330698

Underwater Dogs by Photographer Seth Casteel

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (October 23, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0316227706
ISBN-13: 978-0316227704

Middle Grade

Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities To Do With Your Canine Companion by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen and with photographs by Matthew Rakola

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen has come up with over 20 fun and appropriate hands-on science activities for kids to discover more about dog biology and behavior. For example, they can learn more about what colors dogs see by hiding different colored balls in a grassy lawn and watching how easy it is for the dog to find them.

Safety is first with all these activities. The author remind kids to watch for signs the dog is upset or uncomfortable, and to quit the activity if the dog is unhappy. Also, make sure the dog has access to water and plan lots of breaks even if the dog is enjoying himself.

The bottom line is that Dog Science Unleashed is a great choice for dog lovers, as well as budding zoologists and veterinarians.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (August 7, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426331533
ISBN-13: 978-1426331534

Inside of a Dog — Young Readers Edition: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz and illustrated by Sean Vidal Edgerton

A guide to how dogs perceive the world written by an animal behaviorist and dog lover. Get to know how dogs’ unique sense of smell changes their world.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 21, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1481450948
ISBN-13: 978-1481450942


Dog Days of History: The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends (Animals) by Sarah Albee

Albee starts with a discussion of where dogs might have come from. Progressing in chronological order, the following chapters explore the relations of people and dogs in the ancient world, middle ages, etc., through modern times. Albee features famous dogs through history, like Lewis and Clark’s dog, Seaman. The final chapter wraps up with the role of dogs in modern culture and a glimpse of the future of dogs.

The back matter is extensive, including “A Note About the Research,” which explains that many stories about dogs seen on the Internet may be exaggerated or fabricated. She includes a fun list of the words used in various languages to represent the sounds dogs make, from “arf-arf” or “bow-wow” in English to “wff-wff” in Welsh. As appropriate for a history book, there is an extensive three-page “Bibliodography” (too cute), plus references for all the quotes.

Dog Days of History will thrill both dog lovers and history buffs. It is a handy reference young readers are likely to return to again and again.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (March 27, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426329717
ISBN-13: 978-1426329715

How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language by Aline Alexander Newman and‎ Gary Weitzman

With the lively photographs we have come to expect from National Geographic, this books helps kids understand their dog’s behaviors, both sound communication and body language. Cool!

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (September 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 142631373X
ISBN-13: 978-1426313738

Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World by Nancy Castaldo

With their great noses, dogs have been trained to help with everything from alerting people to medical issues to helping scientists find rare animals. Shows where dog lovers and science intersect.

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (July 11, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0544932595
ISBN-13: 978-0544932593

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