2019 Revised Edition of Our 9 Great Books on Wolves List
by Roberta Kravette
Last week I finished rereading (for the 5th time) one of my favorite books on wolves. It’s more than just filled with fascinating wolf facts, it is also a stark reminder of our world’s fragile wild beauty. At that moment I realized that it was not included in our original 9 Great Books on Wolves - and neither were some of my other much-notated, dog-eared (wolf-eared?) volumes. How could we neglect to share these beloved and important wolf books with you? I got busy.
The 2019 Revised Great Books on Wolves includes first person accounts, a few perfect books for kids (from beginning readers to teens), two scientific volumes (one is the college level text book on the species), a coffee table book and a surprise. We invited a guest expert, our good friend, and passionate wolf advocate, Maggie Howell, executive director of The Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York, to share her best wolf book pick. She did, but as it turns out, Magee had a second favorite, too, a book that she has loved since she was a ‘tween herself.
A Confession - Yes, I Cheated
We had to move some of the original “9 Great” titles to make room for the new ones - but, yes, I cheated. They, plus Magee’s ‘tween favorite, can be found at the end of the article in the Honorable Mention section. I can’t wait to get (re)rereading!
Wolf Nation: The Life, Death and Return of America’s Wolves
Peterson blends current environmental science, political realities, and personal stories into an unforgettable journey. Fact and reality melts away fear-inducing myth to show the wolf as intelligent, loyal, and family oriented, team players under constant threat, from both nature and man – but ever ready for a game or a practical joke. Some data is startling, even horrifying. But there is good news too. Peterson finds people all over the country and from all walks of life doing their part to educate, protect and preserve the wolf. As my copy’s bent edges and scribbled margins attest, Wolf Nation kept me enthralled from beginning to end.
In an early chapter Peterson quotes a First Nation story from the Oneida tribe:
Tell Me Now My Brothers
Tell Me Now My Sisters
Who Speaks for Wolf?
Brenda Peterson speaks for Wolf.
Guest Expert, Magee Howell’s Great Wolf Book
Among Wolves: Gordon Haber's Insights into Alaska's Most Misunderstood Animal
Gordon Haber and Marybeth Holleman
From Magee Howell: [Among the Wolves] allows the reader a unique opportunity to learn from the late Dr. Gordon Haber and his fascinating 43 year study of Alaska’s wolves that resulted in an unwavering commitment to advocating for their preservation in the wild.
Although the crash of Dr. Haber’s research plane in Denali National Park in 2009 ended his life in an untimely manner, reading his field notes and journals, and hearing stories from friends, enables the reader to feel a powerful connection to his passion and dedication to this remarkable keystone species and to learn about some startling findings that can affect the future of wolves everywhere. — Magee Howell
First Person Wolf Experience Accounts
In the Temple of the Wolves: A Winter’s Immersion in Wild Yellowstone.
Personal, heartfelt and clear eyed, Rick Lamplugh’s story tells of the life-changing winter he spent as a volunteer living in Yellowstone National Park. He shares the full beauty and drama of the park’s unique ecosystem during its most challenging season.
Rich with facts on the Park and the wildlife that inhabit it, and deep with the feelings they inspire, this book is a must-read for wolf and wildlife lovers and anyone who has experienced or dreams of experiencing Yellowstone National Park. Be prepared to laugh and cry, and to long for a visit – or another visit – to Yellowstone.
Love wolves? Love to travel? If participating in wolf study citizen science during your vacation sounds interesting check out The Wildlife and Culture of Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
Books on Wolves for Children
Journey: Based on the True Story of OR-7, The Most Famous Wolf in the West
Emma Bland Smith
Recommended 1st to 3rd Grade. Told through the eyes of a young girl, a fictionalized account of the true story of the 2000-mile journey of the first wild grey wolf to cross over into California in more than 100 years. The girl decides to keep him safe by making him the most famous wolf in the world. The book teaches about the species, reintroduction efforts, and their relationship with humans.
Winner: 2017 Cook Prize for picture book teaching STEM principles to 3rd and 4th graders
Finalist: Washington State Book Award
National Geographic Kids Mission: Wolf Rescue: All About Wolves and How to Save Them
For 9-12-year old Readers. This National Geographic Kids selection is a well-designed book that covers the wolf’s physical features, social behaviors, pack structure, feeding habits, and habitats. Interviews with conservationists and field scientists, quality maps, cartoons, and exemplary photographs add to the engaging layout. There are “rescue” activities in each chapter that reinforce learning. The activities can be completed alone, in groups, or with an adult and vary in difficulty and complexity. What we like best about the book is the underlying lesson that everyone can make a difference and that science is something that one does, not something that you just read about. We recommend the library binding for its durability.
Face to Face with Wolves
Jim Brandenburg and Judy Brandenburg
Readers 7 -10 (younger children enjoy the images)
Remarkable images by an award-winning photographer.
Jim Brandenberg turned his boyhood dream of seeing a wild wolf into an adult quest to photograph and learn all he could about this mysterious threatened species. Join him his wolf adventure in the Arctic and even in his backyard in Minnesota. Filled with facts, information, and showing how it is possible for wolves and humans to live together.
The book is a paperback and only 32 pages, but no book we have seen better portrays arctic wolves in their natural habitat. Highly recommended.
Wolf Behavior, Biology, and Conservation
Wolf Almanac, New and Revised: A Celebration Of Wolves And Their World
In his preface, Robert Busch writes of his “...hope that the the book would serve to fill the gap between wolf myths and wolf reality with facts.” Written in an informative but accessible style, this widely respected book on wolves covers virtually all aspects of these magnificent creatures: their evolution, distribution, anatomy, behavior, and their impact on human culture. Busch then reviews the history of wolf-human interactions including the trapping for furs, hunting, conservation, and reintroduction programs. If you only own one book on wolves, Wolf Almanac should be it. Be sure to purchase the “new and revised” edition (2007); it includes new photographs, updated information on the wolves of Yellowstone, and a more recent survey of wolf status around the world.
Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation
L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani (Editors)
The definitive reference book on wolves at this time. The various chapter authors bring over 350 person-years of wolf research experience and knowledge to the book, and the editors are the preeminent wolf researchers in the world today. David Mech has been researching and writing about wolves for over 50 years. A bit like a dictionary, few readers will read the book from cover to cover, but anyone wanting comprehensive, accurate, and documented information on wolves needs this book. A more scholarly book than Wolf Almanac (above), Wolves consists of chapters written by experts on that subject. Of particular interest is the chapter on wolf behavior; much of what we thought we knew about pack dynamics turns out to be wrong. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to develop expertise about wolves.
A Wolf Book for the Coffee table
Wolf: Spirit of the Wild
Full of sublime photography, expressive illustrations, accurate descriptions, and first person accounts, Wolf: Spirit of the Wild gets our vote for best coffee table book on the wolf. The book is not a reference; rather it explores all things “wolf.” Stories and myths about these noble creatures from around the world, poetry, interviews with wolf biologists, and first person accounts of wolves all combined with art reproductions and photography by preeminent wildlife photographers. The perfect gift for the wolf lover, but be careful when you get it - you might want to keep it for yourself.
Honorable Mention Wolf Books
True Account - In Principle. Published in 1963, hilarious, widely-read account of a young game warden’s misadventures in the Canadian North, helped change the conversation on wolf conservation. Attacked for occasionally faulty science and anthropomorphizing wolves, Mowat often said that he did not want the facts to get in the way of the truth. I love this book.
For seven years, a large black male wolf, Romeo, interacted with residents, and their dogs, on the outskirts of Juneau, Alaska. Personal narrative and wolf science primer, a journey from fear to fascination to trust.
5- to 7-years Engaging pictures, text, quizzes, graphics, and fact sidebars. Accurate without being too simplified
Tweens - Teens Story of a 13-year-old Inuit girl, protected by a wolf family while lost on the arctic tundra. She’ll always be my favorite.
7 Days Photographing the Most Majestic Parks in America
Yellowstone and Grand Teton national Parks