This blog is created by Linda Williams at the Connecticut State Library. It’s purpose is to suggest books, by topic, to replace outdated books in the children’s/YA book collection. Tabs across the top categorize ongoing posts. Please feel free to suggest topics for future posts!

Booklist: Losing a Pet

September 29, 2017 Leave a comment


Balter, Lawrence. A Funeral for Whiskers: Understanding Death (Barron’s 1991)
Sandy is very sad and upset when her cat Whiskers dies, but her parents help her understand and accept the loss.

Garland, Michael. Angel Cat (Boyds Mills 1998)
This is a book for any child who has ever loved an animal–a book for those who will always remember the pet that brought them joy.

Graeber, Charlotte Towner. Mustard (Macmillan 1982)
Eight-year-old Alex and his family try to come to terms with the old age and death of their beloved cat.

Hill, Frances. The Bug Cemetery* (Henry Holt 2002)
Neighborhood children imaginatively stage funerals for dead bugs, but they experience real sadness following the death of a pet.

Himler, Ronald. Six is So Much Less Than Seven* (Star Bright 2002)
After the death of one of his seven cats, an old man finds how much he misses his cat as he goes about the activities of each day.

Newman, Leslea. The Best Cat in the World* (Eerdmans 2004)
A young boy deals with the loss of his beloved cat Charlie, eventually accepting the arrival of another, very different cat.

Partridge, Elizabeth. Big Cat Pepper* (Bloomsbury 2009)
Big Cat Pepper has always been part of the family, but after he grows very old and dies, the boy who loves him comes to understand his mother’s reassurance that “his spirit is forever and can fly, fly, fly.”

Rylant, Cynthia. Cat Heaven* (Scholastic 1997)
God created Cat Heaven, with fields of sweet grass where cats can play, kitty-toys for them to enjoy, and angels to rub their noses and ears.

Smith, Maggie. Desser the Best Ever Cat* (Knopf 2001)
A child describes how Dexter the cat had always been part of the family and how much he was loved even after he died.

Stewart, Elisabeth Jane. Bimmi Finds a Cat* (Clarion 1996)
An eight-year-old Creole boy on Galveston Island grieves the death of his cat Crabmeat, but when another lost cat leads him to a new friend he starts to heal.

Viorst, Judith. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney* (Atheneum 1971)
In an attempt to overcome his grief, a boy tries to think of the ten best things about his dead cat.

Wallace-Brodeur, Ruth. Goodbye, Mitch (A Whitman 1995)
A young boy describes how he feels when the family cat dies.

Yolen, Jane. The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye* (Random House 2011)
A cat whose kitten days are far behind her says goodbye to her human family, and the animals and places that have made her life special, before leaving this life behind.


Adoff, Arnold. Return of Rex and Ethel (Houghton 2000)
Two girls who share many wonderful times with their beloved dogs, Rex and Ethel, find a special way to remember them when they die.

Blumenthal, Deborah. The Blue House Dog* (Peachtree 2010)
A boy whose beloved dog has died, and a dog whose owner also died, find each other and slowly begin to trust one another.

Bostrom, Kathleen LongThe Day Scooter Died: A Book About the Death of a Pet (Zonderkidz 2005)
Mikey feels responsible for his dog Scooter’s accidental death, but his parents remind him that the dog loved him best of all and they can still love each other, although Scooter is now with God.

Burleigh, RobertGood-Bye, Sheepie* (Cavendish 2010)
A father teaches his young son about death and remembrance as he buries their beloved dog.

Carrick, Carol. The Accident* (Seabury Press 1976)
After his dog is hit by a truck and killed, Christopher must deal with his own feelings of depression and guilt.

Chichester Clark, Emma. Up in Heaven* (Random House 2004)
When Arthur’s dog, Daisy, goes to live in heaven, she is sad because she knows Arthur misses her so much. Then she thinks of a way to show him she’s thinking of him, and that lets him know she’s safe in heaven.

Cochran, Bill. The Forever Dog* (HarperCollins 2007)
Mike and his dog Corky plan to be best friends forever, so when Corky becomes sick and dies, Mike is angry about the broken promise.

Cohen, Miriam. Jim’s Dog Muffins (Greenwillow 1984)
When Jim’s dog is killed, the other first graders experience with him his natural reactions to death.

Demas, Corinne. Saying Goodbye to Lulu* (Little, Brown 2004)
When her dog Lulu dies, a girl grieves but then continues with her life.

DiSalvo-Ryan, DyAnne. A Dog Like Jack* (Holiday House 1999)
After a long life of chasing squirrels, licking ice cream cones, and loving his adoptive family, an old dog comes to the end of his days.

Ehrlich, Amy. Maggie and Silky and Joe (Viking 1994)
Joe, a young boy who grows up under the protection and companionship of his family’s cow dog, Maggie, and later with a stray puppy called Silky, must learn how to cope with loss when Maggie dies during a thunderstorm.

Howard, Ellen. Murphy and Kate (Simon & Schuster 1995)
Kate and her dog Murphy are best friends, and when Murphy dies Kate does not think she can ever be happy again.

Huneck, Stephen. Sally Goes to Heaven* (Abrams 2014)
A beloved dog dies and goes to Heaven where she lives happily and helps to find her family on earth a new pet.

Hurd, Edith Thacher. Black Dog Who Went Into the Woods (Harper & Row 1980)
The various members of a family react to the death of their dog.

Joosse, Barbara M. Better With Two (HarperCollins 1988)
Laura tries to make Mrs. Brady feel better when her dog Max dies.

Keller, Holly. Goodbye, Max (Greenwillow 1987)
Ben blames his parents for the death of his dog, Max, and does not want the new puppy they brought home.

Lyon, George Ella. Ada’s Pal (Orchard 1996)
A small dog suffers from a broken heart when her dog companion dies until a veterinarian advises the family that there is only one thing to do.

Marcero, Deborah. Rosie & Crayon (Peter Pauper 2017)
When Rosie’s dog Crayon dies all the color in her world seems to fade to grey, but after she helps a little boy find his cat she suddenly realizes her heart is open to love again, which helps bring the beautiful colors back into her life.

Parker, Marjorie Blain. Jasper’s Day* (Kids Can 2002)
This debut picture book deals with a subject fearful to every child’s heart–a beloved pet who is dying. This celebration of a dog’s last day speaks of acceptance, remembrance, and the importance of cherishing life’s every moment.

Rohmann, Eric. Bone Dog* (Roaring Brook 2011)
Although devastated when his pet dog dies, a young boy goes trick-or-treating and receives a timely visit from an old friend during a scary encounter with graveyard skeletons.

Rosen, Michael J. Bonesy and Isabel (Harcourt 1995)
Isabel, an adopted Salvadoran girl, adjusts to her new life in America by befriending the old dog Bonesy, but then she must deal with her grief when he dies.

Walsh, Barbara. Sammy in the Sky* (Candlewick 2011)
A little girl tells about her special pet, Sammy, “the best hound dog in the whole world,” and how, after he becomes sick and dies, she comes to know the truth of her mother’s words, that Sammy’s spirit is everywhere.

Wilhelm, Hans. I’ll Always Love You (Crown 1985)
A child’s sadness at the death of a beloved dog is tempered by the remembrance of saying to it every nignt, “I’ll always love you.”

Wild, Margaret. Harry & Hopper (Feiwel & Friends 2011)
Harry is devastated when he returns home from school to find that his beloved dog, Hopper, will no longer be there to greet him.

Wild, Margaret. Toby* (Ticknor & Fields 1994)
When Toby the dog gets old and sick and finally dies, the children who love him express their love in different ways.

Zolotow, Charlotte. The Old Dog* (HarperCollins 1995)
When a young boy finds his old dog dead one morning, he spends the rest of the day thinking about all the good times they had together.

Other Pets

Fox, Mem. Tough Boris* (Harcourt 1994)
Boris von der Borch is a tough pirate, but he cries when his parrot dies.

Schneider, Antonie. Good-Bye, Vivi! (North-South 1998)
When Granny’s beloved canary Vivi dies, the family comes to accept it, as well as the idea that some day they will lose Granny as well.

Harris, Robie. Goodbye Mousie* (McElderry 2001)
A boy grieves for his dead pet Mousie, helps to bury him, and begins to come to terms with his loss.

Kroll, Virginia L. Helen the Fish (A Whitman 1992)
When six-year-old Hannah’s beloved goldfish dies after a relatively long life, she seeks comfort from her older brother Seth.

Tobias, Tobi. Petey (Putnam 1978)
Emily has enjoyed her pet gerbil for five years, but one day after school she finds Petey huddled up in a corner of his cage.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Updated December 22, 2014

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September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Books about refugees:

Refugee Camps

Picture Books

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Pajama Press 2017)
Fleeing from a home destroyed in the Syrian Civil War, Sami worries about the pet pigeons he left behind and struggles to go through his days in a refugee camp, where he is consumed by thoughts of what he has lost before finding healing by caring for other birds in need of help.

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams (Eerdmans 2007)*
Two young Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan share a precious pair of sandals brought by relief workers. Includes author’s note about refugees.


Lost Girl Found by Leah Bassoff and Laura DeLuca (Grouncwood 2015) TEEN
When war comes to her village in southern Sudan, Poni is forced to flee, and join thousands of refugees travelling on foot and experiencing great hardship on their way to a refugee camp.

Mud City by Deborah Ellis (Doublas & McIntyre 2003)
Fourteen-year-old Shauzia, an Afghan refugee living in a camp in Pakistan, determines to find a way to fulfill her dreams of seeing the ocean and beginning a new life in France.

Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson (Clarion 2009)
In 1998 when the Kosovo hostilities escalate, thirteen-year-old Meli’s life as an ethnic Albanian, changes forever after her brother escapes his Serbian captors and the entire family flees from one refugee camp to another until they are able to immigrate to America.

Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go: A Novel of Haiti by Laura Rose Wagner (Amulet 2015) TEEN
In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Nadine goes to live with her father in Miami while her cousin Magdalie, raised as her sister, remains behind in a refugee camp, dreaming of joining Nadine but wondering if she must accept that her life and future are in Port-au-Prince.

*Books marked with an asterisk are available to Connecticut school and public libraries at the Middletown Library Service Center.

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Immigrant Experience – Picture Books

September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Picture books about the immigrant experience:

From Afghanistan to America

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams (Eerdmans 2007)*
Two young Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan share a precious pair of sandals brought by relief workers. Includes author’s note about refugees.

From Poland to America

An Ellis Island Christmas by Maxinne Rhea Leighton (Viking 1992)*
Having left Poland and braved ocean storms to join her father in America, Krysia arrives at Ellis Island on Christmas Eve.

From Sudan to America

My Name is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams (Eerdmans 2009)*
As a refugee from Sudan to the United States, Sangoel is frustrated that no one can pronounce his name correctly until he finds a clever way to solve the problem.

*Books marked with an asterisk are available to Connecticut school and public libraries at the Middletown Library Service Center.

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Africa – Nonfiction Picture Books

September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific African countries (see note):
Algeria ; Angola ; Benin ; Botswana ; Burkina Faso ; Burundi ; Cameroon ; Cape Verde ; Central African Republic ; Chad ; Comoros ; Democratic Republic of the Congo ; Republic of the Congo ; Cote D’Ivoire ; Djibouti ; Egypt ; Equatorial Guinea ; Eritrea ; Ethiopia ; Gabon ; The Gambia ; Ghana ; Guinea ; Guinea-Bissau ; Kenya ; Lesotho ; Liberia ; Libya ; Madagascar ; Malawi ; Mali ; Mauritania ; Mauritius ; Mayotte ; Morocco ; Mozambique ; Namibia ; Niger ; Nigeria ; Rwanda ; Saint Helena ; Sao Tome and Principe ; Senegal ; Saychelles ; Sierra Leone ; Somalia ; South Africa ; Sudan ; Swaziland ; Tanzania ; Togo ; Tunisia ; Uganda ; Western Sahara ; Zambia ; Zimbabwe

AFRICA (download .doc) or  AFRICA (download .pdf)






Elephant Quest by Ted Lewin (HarperCollins, 2000)
Recounts an expedition through the Moremi Wildlife Reserve in Botswana, describing the vegetation and wildlife, and culminating in the sighting of an African elephant herd. [591.968]








DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (formerly known as Zaire)














Only the Mountains Do Not Move: A Maasai Story of Culture and Conservation by Jan Reynolds (Lee & Low 2011)
A collection of photographs featuring the Maasai people in Kenya, traditionally nomadic herders, highlighting the challenges they currently face and the ways the people are adapting their practices and lifestyle due to these challenges.
























The Chimpanzee Children of Gombe:  50 Years With jane Goodall at Gombe National Park* by Jane Goodall (Minedition 2014)
Jane Goodall introduces young readers to some of her favorite chimpanzees living in Gombe National Park, describing their behavior and family life.










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Central America & Caribbean Area Countries – Nonfiction

September 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific Central American & Caribbean nations.
Anguilla ;  Antigua and Barbuda ; Aruba ; The Bahamas ; Barbados ; Belize ; British Virgin Islands ; Cayman Islands ; Costa Rica ; Cuba ; Curacao ; Dominica ; Dominican Republic ; El Salvador ; Grenada ; Guatemala ; Haiti ; Honduras ; Jamaica ; Montserrat ; Navassa Island ; Nicaragua ; Panama ; Puerto Rico (not a nation) ; Saint Barthlemy ; Saint Kitts and Nevis ; Saint Lucia 



Leeward Islands: Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Eustatius, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, and Montserrat by Lisa Kozleski (Mason Crest, 2015)
Contents: The land — The history of the Leeward Islands — The economy of the Leeward Islands — The culture and people of the Leeward Islands — The cities and communities — Festivals of the Leeward Islands — Recipes. (972.97)


This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability (Not Disability) by Aaron Philip with Tonya Bolden (Balzer + Bray, 2016)
Aaron Philip’s memoir chronicles his extraordinary journey from happy baby in Antigua to confident teen artist in New York City. His honest, often funny stories of triumph– despite physical difficulties, poverty, and other challenges– are as inspiring as they are eye-opening. (618.928)


The Bahamas by Martin Hintz (Children’s Press, 2013)
Contents: Good Day, Bahamas — Water, Water, Everywhere — All That Blooms, Walks and Wiggles — The Old Days — Running the Government — Making Money — A Rainbow People — Following An Almighty — Gettin’ on Down — Daily Doings — Timeline — Fast Facts. (972.96)

The Bahamas by Colleen Madonna Flood Williams (Mason Crest, 2015)
Contents: Islands and cays — Pirate’s paradise — A tourism-driven economy — Urban islanders and family islanders — Cities and districts –A calendar of Bahamian festivals — Recipes. (972.96)







Tortuga Squad: Kids Saving Sea Turtles in Costa Rica by Cathleen Burnham (Crickhollow, 2016)
An inspiring real-life story of a group of kids in Costa Rica helping to protect endangered sea turtles and their eggs, patrolling the beaches for poachers and protecting the eggs from animal predators.

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke (Margaret McElderry, 2013)*
Hang around just like a sloth and get to know the delightful residents of the Avarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, the world’s largest sloth orphanage. You’ll fall in love with bad-boy Mateo, ooh and ahh over baby Biscuit, and want to wrap your arms around champion cuddle buddy Ubu!

Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns (Millbrook, 2014)*
Introduces readers to a butterfly farm in Costa Rica.

When the Monkeys Came Back by Kristine L. Franklin (Atheneum 1994)
Always remembering how the monkeys in her Costa Rican valley disappeared when all the trees were cut down, Marta grows up, plants more trees, and sees the monkeys come back.



































Hands of the Rain Forest: The Emberá People of Panama by Rachel Crandell (Henry Holt, 2009)*
NONFICTION. An introduction to the lifestyle and traditions of the Emberá culture of Panama.













NOTE: Asterisked books can be borrowed from the Middletown Library Service Center by Connecticut libraries. Please email

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Reading Management Software

August 31, 2017 Leave a comment
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Kids of Color on Book Covers

August 10, 2017 Leave a comment

See a .pdf with 2017 picture books featuring kids of color on the cover here.

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