13 Must-Read Animal Rights Books for Teens
If you’re a teen who wants to make the world a better place for animals, you won’t be able to put these books down. Their inspiring stories will set off your moral compass and prepare you to be the compassionate leader animals need.
Our fave animal rights books for teens prove the sky’s the limit, so read up to learn how you can make the biggest impact. (These books also make great presents!)
Catherine Kelaher’s exciting novel follows a 13-year-old named Amanda Cotter, who has to leave her best friend and her beloved dog behind when she moves to Australia. She’s unhappy with her new life until one day she forms a connection with a hen imprisoned on an egg farm, sparking her activist journey to improve life for the hens there. Will she be able to make a difference, or will she get herself and the hens into even more trouble?
Jane Goodall, one of the most famous animal experts in the world, raved about this book. It’s easy to see why—this story about teen Justin Barker’s real-life quest to help two black bears suffering at a roadside zoo is gripping for both teens and adults. Barker finds a sanctuary willing to take the bears, but how can a high schooler come up with the quarter-million dollars needed to make it happen?
This activism guide—another Catherine Kelaher top pick—will help you discover your greatest strengths and show you how to use them to help animals. Interviews and stories of more than 20 young activists will help you figure out which kind of activism fits you best. No matter your age, skills, or personality, there’s a role for you in improving animals’ well-being.
Did you know that geese fall in love and mate for life and that fish “sing” underwater? 😍 Find out more about these and other fascinating animal abilities in this bestseller by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk and accomplished author Gene Stone. You’ll learn just how smart, emotional, and empathetic our fellow animals are and what you can do to help protect them.
Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation Now is the new, updated edition of his 1975 masterpiece that has been awakening people to the existence of speciesism—the belief that humans’ interests matter more than those of other species—for nearly 50 years. Singer’s work helped launch the modern animal rights movement and led to the foundation of PETA. If you’re into philosophical arguments for animal rights, this book will be your bread and vegan butter. 😏
First published in 1992, Ingrid Newkirk’s thrilling book details the true story of how “Valerie,” a 23-year-old police officer, came to dedicate herself to saving animals. You’ll feel like you’re right there as she organizes the Animal Liberation Front in North America and rescues animals from laboratories in daring adventures. This book races from one heart-stopping incident to the next and explores the shocking differences between what’s legal and what’s morally right.
A blend of animal rights and sci-fi set in a dystopian future? Yes, please! Peter Dickinson introduces us to 13-year-old Eva, who wakes up in the hospital with memory problems. Her mom says a car accident put her in a long coma, but Eva feels as though there’s something else she’s not being told. How did she end up in the center of an animal experiment, and how will this drive her to do all she can to ensure a better future for chimpanzees?
If children living on farms have ever thrown slices of bologna at you while you were dressed as a carrot, you’ve got something in common with former PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews. In Committed: A Rabble-Rouser’s Memoir, Mathews shares his wacky adventures as a diehard animal rights activist. This hilarious and heartwarming book proves that someone who has been bullied and oppressed can persuade the biggest companies in the world to make huge changes that improve animals’ lives.
This tragic tale of two elephants, Stoney and Big Mary, who were forced to perform in shows, spans the 20th century. The first half focuses on Stoney, who was dragged around and exploited at circuses, fairs, and hotels, and the people who tried to save him. The second half details Big Mary’s life and exposes the horrific consequences of abusing animals. You’ll never look at the entertainment industry the same way again.
10. The Chain
The Chain is the first book in The Kinship Series trilogy by award-winning novelist Robin Lamont and has everything from high-stakes mystery to forbidden romance. It also gives us a glimpse into two secretive and seemingly opposing worlds—that of Jude Brannock, an undercover animal rights investigator, and that of slaughterhouse workers and their families. The Chain will keep you on the edge of your seat from cover to cover.
11. The Trap
In The Trap, Robin Lamont’s second book in The Kinship Series, Jude Brannock investigates the suspicious death of a federal wildlife trapper in his own trap. 😶 She soon learns that the prime suspect is a man she once loved and still cares deeply about. To prove his innocence, she goes undercover in a world that blames animal activists like her for the trapper’s death. This novel traps readers in the twists and turns of its intricate storytelling.
12. The Experiment
In the final novel of The Kinship Series by Robin Lamont, The Experiment, Jude Brannock’s young investigator suddenly vanishes during an undercover assignment. She risks blowing her agency’s cover to look for him. But is he really in danger, or was his disappearance part of a con job to help Brannock’s target, a biopharmaceutical company that tests on animals?
Dancing squirrels, shy gorillas, and spiteful orcas are just some of this book’s remarkable examples of sentient beings. Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy’s New York Times bestseller explores the full range of animal emotions on a scale matched only in the work of biologists like Charles Darwin. Through chapters on love, fear, and loneliness, you’ll be swept up in the inner lives of animals and understand more than ever why speciesism must be defeated.
These inspiring books prove that anyone can be an animal advocate. We all have unique skills and interests that we can use to help give animals the fulfilling lives they deserve.
Want to channel your love of literature, art, or music into advancing animal rights? Learn all about helping animas through artivism: