The Greatest YA Books Have Animals

peter rabbit
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Why are some of the greatest YA and children’s books about animals? Because we remember them the most and cherish them in our childhood. These stories have the ability to speak to our hearts and delight us with their passion. Though small and simple, they share the common theme of animals. They are all creative, imaginative, and sometimes heart-wrenching.


What’s most exciting is we remember them. For all time, from nursery till grad school, we’ll remember the Velveteen Rabbit for his bravery, or Peter Rabbit for his mischief, or even animals like Ralph, Whittington, and Winn-Dixie for their cunning, imagination, and smiles.


I hope to keep these animals in my heart for all time to come. Let these animals stay on the shelves for all time to come.


Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter: a story of a naughty rabbit who learns his lesson of obeying his mother by avoiding pies and angry gardeners


Whittington, by Louis Armstrong: the legend of an English cat who saves the Arabian king’s palace by killing all the kingdom’s rats, makes his poor English owner the wealthiest man in the country


The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Clearly: a playful mouse named Ralph rides a toy motorcycle, makes friends with a lonely boy in an old hotel, bringing imagination and fun

Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo: the story of an orphaned dog Winn-Dixie and a lonely girl Opal who make a ripple-effect of blessing and peace in their broken town


The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams: This story speaks true of the rabbit’s virtue and love toward his owner. Once burned by flames to avoid his owner’s disease, the toy rabbit becomes a real rabbit when fairies spring him to life, and he finds his owner in a garden, alive and well.


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