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Celebrate National Children's Book Week - Read An Animal Book to Your Kids (or by yourself)

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05/01/2011 - by Gayle Irwin

National Children's Book Week is May 2 to 8 and Be Kind to Animals Week is May 1 to 7. Mix them both together and you have the perfect recipe – sharing animal books with children! Whether you're a parent, grandparent, guardian, teacher, librarian or just an enjoyer of great animal stories, there is a potpourri of wonderful animal books to read.

From the classics such as "Old Yeller" and "Black Beauty" to the more contemporary like "A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray", "Before You Were Mine", and "The Two Bobbies: Hurricane Katrina, Survival and Friendship", stories about animals inspire and delight children. Even for adults there is a wonderful world of great pet stories, including "Marley & Me", "Dewey, the Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World", and the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series of pet books: "For the Pet Lover's Soul", "For the Dog Lovers' Soul", and, just released this spring "My Dog's Life" and "My Cat's Life". Of course, there are many, many more great animal stories for children and adults.

The ASPCA provides a great listing of animal books, stories about both domesticated and wild. Visit their website for ideas: http://www.aspcaonlinestore.com/categories/11261-children-s-books?page=1

Look for great animal stories at the library or one of our local bookstores to share with children you know or simply to enjoy a good read for yourself!

In addition to reading about dogs and other animals, children can read TO the dog in many libraries across the country. Certified therapy dogs are welcome in some libraries and schools. Called Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.), these special canines help children overcome their reluctance to read. Although not a prominent program in smaller communities, some towns in the west, such as Bozeman and Billings, Montana, offer "Read to the Dog" programs at the library. These types of reading programs provide a nurturing, non-judgmental environment for children, especially those who struggle with reading. Children are more apt to be comfortable reading to a dog than to a human because they enjoy being with pets and because the children perceive the animals as non-critical of their reading skills (or lack of skill).

To learn more about the impact of this incredibly special program, read this article from American Libraries Magazine:


You can also visit the Library Dogs website at http://www.librarydogs.com/ or the Intermountain Therapy Animals website at http://www.therapyanimals.org/R.E.A.D.html

So, during this special month of children's books and kindness to animals, gather up the kids, Fido and Fluffy, and share a great story together!

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