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5 Gorgeous Animal Adventure Novels For Kids

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The Children’s Book Review

There is no denying that children are naturally drawn to animals from a young age, which is likely why animal adventure novels have such high-appeal. Almost always more than just a joyful escape, more often than not, animal adventures offer heartfelt lessons in compassion and empathy and can help young readers make sense of their ever-expanding world. If you know an animal lover, this list of middle-grade novels includes five gorgeous tales that will pull on heartstrings, inspire, encourage, and most certainly entertain.

A Whale of the Wild

Written by Rosanne Parry

Illustrated by Lindsay Moore    

A Whale of the Wild is New York Timesbestselling author Rosanne Parry’s stand-alone companion to A Wolf Called Wander. Fans of unforgettable animal adventure novels such as The One and Only Ivan and Charlotte’s Web will be swept up in this illustrated tale that explores the pull of family, togetherness, finding one’s way, and the effects of global warming. It is a poignant animal adventure that demonstrates the importance of coming together in a crisis. Readers will readily journey with two orca siblings as they find their place among their kin and persevere through loss and devastation. The environmental elements of wildlife and watershed restoration are impactful and are bound to inspire young people to take care of the world’s oceans.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | September 1, 2020| ISBN-13: 978-0062995926

The One and Only Ivan By Katherine ApplegateThe One and Only Ivan

Written by Katherine Applegate

Illustrated by Patricia Castelao

The One and Only Ivan is a bestselling novel about hope and friendship, inspired by a real silverback gorilla named Ivan, who was held captive for 27 years. Narrated by Ivan himself, a beautiful story of friendship unfolds between Ivan, an elephant named Stella, and a stray dog named Bob. Katherine Applegate’s writing is superb, subtle, and incredibly expressive. At the end of the book, the author’s note is a beautiful addition; Applegate talks about the differences between the real events and her story.  The One and Only Ivan won the Newbery Medal in 2013 and has consistently been a bestselling novel.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | January 17, 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-0061992254

Stay

Written by Bobbie Pyron

Due to life circumstances, Piper’s family finds themselves homeless. After moving into a shelter, Piper is struggling with being labeled as homeless. Through new friendships and the goal to reconnect a street dog with his elderly owner, Piper discovers the true meaning of home. Stay is a heartwarming tale packed with mystery, suspense, and hope.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | August 13, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062839220

Charlotte's WebCharlotte’s Web

Written by E.B. White

Illustrated by Garth Williams

Charlotte’s Web is one of the best-selling children’s books of all time. It has sold more than 45 million copies and has been translated into 23 languages. It is about a barnyard pig named Wilbur that can talk, a barn spider named Charlotte that can write, and a young girl named Fern that stands up for her beliefs. Born the runt of his litter, energetic Wilbur risks losing his life at the farmer’s mercy, Mr. Zuckerman. Charlotte comes up with a great plan to save Wilbur’s life: she writes powerful messages in her web to convince the farmer that Wilbur should live. Readers will learn what it means to be friends in this beautiful and powerful story about friendship, life and death, love, and new beginnings.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | January 17, 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-0061992254

A Wolf Called Wander

Written by Rosanne Parry

A Wolf Called Wander is a New York Timesbestselling novel from author Rosanne Parry. This middle grade novel of survival and family is based on a true story about one wolf’s journey to find a home. Separated from his family, Wander must travel one thousand perilous miles across the Pacific Northwest to find safety. It is an extraordinarily beautifully gripping novel.

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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | May 7, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062895936

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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