Four picture books (2 fiction and 2 nonfiction) about animals and compassion — should not be missed

Summer is a wonderful time to spend outdoors with children, showing them the beauty of nature and the beauty of the animals in nature. It’s a wonderful time to play with dogs and visit forest preserves. At night, reading books about nature and about animals is an excellent way to drive home lessons about respecting nature and treating animals — whether pets or wild animals — with love and compassion.

Two of these books are new releases, and two are simply picture books that deserve to be shared and widely read. Two are about domestic animals, dogs, and the two nonfiction picture books are about wild animals and how two brave, resourceful people became determined to help them. All are fabulous choices for every home and school library.

Two nonfiction picture books that should become classics are “Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears” by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff and the semi-autobiographical “A Boy and a Jaguar” by Alan Rabinowitz. Both books are about brave people dedicating their lives to helping animals, and both are fascinating to children of all ages. I’ve read these books with first graders and fourth graders, and each child appreciated each book on a different level.

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‘The Yankee Widow’ by Linda Lael Miller is a fabulous historical fiction novel filled with ordinary people who do extraordinary things

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“The Yankee Widow” by Linda Lael Miller takes place during the Civil War and takes readers right through the Battle of Gettysburg in all its horror and death. Caroline Hammond, the main character, becomes a widow at the start of the story when her husband, young Jacob, dies after becoming grievously injured at the Battle of Chancellorsville. She travels to Washington City, as it was known then, and finds him at the point of death.

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‘Our Symphony with Animals: On health, empathy and our shared destinies’ by Aysha Akhtar is filled with science and affirmations about the importance of animals in our lives

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First posted in Bookreporter.com.

“Our Symphony with Animals: On health, empathy, and our shared destinies” by Aysha Akhtar, M.D., is a memoir, an informational text, and a paean to the joys of sharing our lives with animals. Akhtar shares that she was abused as a child. She writes about her childhood dog, Sylvester, whom she loved with all her heart. She also shares that it wasn’t until she finally stood up to a family member who was abusing Sylvester that she was able to stand up to her abuser, as well.

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What does a wonderful shelter director look like? Memphis Animal Services knows.

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Three years ago, the Memphis Animal Services was known as one of the worst city shelters in the country. Now, three years later, things are very different thanks to Alexis Pugh. In three years, she has turned the shelter around. Do they still have to euthanize dogs for space? Yes, but only after a concerted effort has been made to publicize the dogs in danger and try every avenue to save them. Here is what she just posted on Facebook:

Pugh statement on FB copy

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‘Endling: The First’ is the second book in the heartwarming and thoughtful Endling series

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Don’t miss Katherine Applegate’s newest series, “Endling,” consisting of the first book, “Endling: The Last” and this book, “Endling: The First.” Applegate’s genius is her ability to write a book filled with adventure and endearing characters, and at the same time use the beliefs and lessons learned in the stories to teach readers about kindness, compassion, and above all, justice.

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Devastated adopter after shelter allowed his dog to die, “They take dogs away from people for being treated like that and then they do it themselves right here.”

What happens when a shelter allows a dog to suffer in agony for days before the staff veterinarian bothers to check on the dog, then finding that his intestines had perforated, and he had to be euthanized? What happens when after surgery, another dog is allowed to bleed to death, found two days later dead in her kennel? If the shelter is in Tampa, Florida, namely the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center (PRC), and the director is Scott Trebatoski, nothing happens. And according to the latest Target 8 report by Steve Andrews, “Shelter woes blamed on county commissioners’ refusal to listen,” the county board doesn’t care, either.

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‘Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too’ by Carol Novello could just change your life (and the life of a rescue animal)

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Many Americans love their dogs and cats, but almost three million companion animals are killed in shelters every year. If more people adopted cats and dogs, that number would be smaller, just as it would if more people spayed and neutered their dogs and cats. Perhaps if people knew the benefits they would get by saving the life of a shelter animal, more would do so.

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‘Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible’ is a primer on making your dog happy

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“Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible” by Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce is a primer for dog owners who love their dogs but aren’t sure that their dogs are living the best life possible. Why should people care about their dogs having the best life possible? Those of us who have dogs and love them as parts of our family know the answer: By making our dogs as happy as possible, we in turn will be as happy as we can possibly be with them.

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