Archive for February, 2022

Talking to kids about animal needs

February 21, 2022

What Animals Want is my new nonfiction book for kids ages 9-12 in the Orca “Think” series. The book uses the internationally recognized “Five Freedoms” checklist for animal welfare as a framework for looking at the basic needs that all animals have:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom from distress
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom to express behaviors that promote well-being

Yes, these sound a lot like the needs people have, which is a good starting point for helping kids imagine and think about what different animals experience in different situations. The checklist is also tied to what the latest animal science tells us about the physical, psychological and social needs of specific animals (a dog’s needs and responses are different from a cats, or a lizard’s or cow’s, for example).

What Animals Want was written in consultation with the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA). To help get the book into the hands of kids and teachers, the BCSPCA humane education program sent copies to schools and libraries across the province! The book was really interesting to research and write, and it was especially exciting to see how the text came together with photographs and the fun illustrations by Julie McLaughlin (my cat, Curious, and dog, Dylan, even make an appearance).

To find out a bit more about my book and another in the Orca Think series, check out these two videos in which I talk with author Lois Peterson about her new book Shelter: Homelessness in our community, and she asks me questions about mine:

What Animals Want and Shelter interview, part one

What Animals Want and Shelter interview, part two