Using AWI Children’s Books to Teach Animal Care and Compassion

Stories can be a powerful way to share lessons with children about kindness and proper companion animal care. They provide children with an opportunity to consider new concepts and practice perspective-taking in a way that is fun and engaging. The SPCA Serving Erie County (a Buffalo metro area nonprofit that is the second-oldest humane society in the country) has been using AWI’s books, Pablo Puppy’s Search for the Perfect Person and Kamie Cat’s Terrible Night, for their in-school programs since spring 2021. Humane educator Katherine Gillette-Cockerill notes that the books help teach the role of shelters in the community while also representing diverse voices. “Teachers and families really love the resources,” she says.

AWI recently elected to increase the number of free copies of our children’s books available to humane societies and teachers. By providing larger quantities at no cost, AWI is helping to support humane education programs such as the Johnnycake Corners Kind Kids program, developed jointly by Ohio Animal Advocates (OAA) and elementary teacher Krista Hyme. The program combines service-learning projects, reading, and age-appropriate discussion of animal welfare issues. In January, OAA’s executive director, Vicki Deisner, read Kamie Cat’s Terrible Night aloud to students in the program. “The book truly expressed the feelings Kamie had being lost, and showed compassion through the kind people that helped Kamie find her way home,” she explained. Each student then received their own copy of the book to keep.

AWI also continues to support literacy programs across the United States by providing shipments of books to national organizations such as Lisa Libraries and Kids Need to Read. Since 2020, AWI has donated over 60,000 books to literacy groups and humane education programs, reaching children throughout the country.

If your school, shelter, or literacy organization would like to receive AWI’s children’s books, please email us at [email protected] and describe your need and intended use. English and Spanish versions are available, and PDFs of the books (as well as accompanying lesson plans) can be downloaded from our website at no cost.