Recommended Summer Reads (and Listens)!

Hello teachers!

With summer around the corner, you might be looking for some interesting books that you will finally have time to read or audio for the car, on a walk, or just relaxing at home. Here are a few suggestions that will challenge your understanding and thinking about animals, people and the environment, and our connection to them.

Below features recent books we have read and podcasts we have tuned in to. We also included some courses/webinars if you are feeling extra keen. We hope you find something you enjoy and can learn from!

Have a book or podcast you would like to share, please leave it in the comments!

Note: Views expressed in recommended content do not necessarily reflect the views of the Alberta SPCA


This book takes a fascinating look at the ethics and philosophical ideas about animals and our relationship to them. It questions what “wildness” really is, and what duty we have to the animals of whom our lives are intertwined with. The stories of animals and the ideas in this book will stay with you – and change the way you think about the “natural” world.

Robin Wall Kimmerer is an Indigenous woman and botanist and her background and experiences provides her with a unique lens with which to view the natural world and our connection to it. The book provides stories, teachings and insights that will inform and challenge your ideas about how we interact with the environment.

Full disclosure, I have not read this book –  it just came out (June 20th) and I can’t wait to dive in. Ed Yong is a Pulitzer Prize winning science writer who can disseminate technical information in a very palatable and often humourous way. According to the book’s website, An Immense World “coaxes us beyond the confines of our own senses” to consider how other animals experience this planet, and explores some of the mysteries that we have yet to solve. I suspect readers will gain an appreciation for the ways that other creatures are intelligent and sentient in ways we humans are not.

A follow up to Wag: The Science of Making your Dog Happy, Zazzie Todd, an animal behaviour expert, explores the ways in which we can help cats thrive in our homes. The book is loaded with evidence-based advise from veterinarians, researches and animal trainers, and good for people who just got a new cat, to those sharing their homes with senior felines. Learning what is important to your cat supports not only their well-being but nurtures the bond you have with your pet.


  • Off Leash with Alexandra Horowitz
    • Join Alexandra Horowitz, dog cognition expert, as she goes on a dog walk with interesting dogs and their people. A great way to learn more about dogs and how to think differently about animals in general.
  • Anthropomania
    • This science-based podcasts examines the relationship we humans have with the natural world. Each episode features experts, scientists, and people who are passionate about all creatures big and small. Another great podcast to encourage a different way of thinking about our impact on the planet.
  • Food Focus
    • Food focus is a podcast that creates opportunities to discuss, challenge and learn about interesting and topical issues central to our food system. Lots of great topics from understanding the welfare of laying hens to reducing emissions from crop production.

Courses, Sessions and Conferences:

  • Natural Geographic
    • National Geographic’s free online courses equip teachers with the knowledge and tools to positively impact their classroom. The courses assist educators in building their own skills and knowledge to foster curiosity of the natural world in their students. Courses are both self-paces and cohort-bases and cover topics such as the importance of storytelling and teaching global climate change in your classroom.
  • Summer Institute for Climate Change Education
    • A global conference on climate change built by educators and climate change professionals. Gain knowledge, skills, tools and resources to teach about climate change in all subject areas. This three-day conference includes sessions, networking and one full day dedicated to planning with regional cohorts. Registration is $250, however there is scholarship opportunities available.

  • Learn more about animals, their welfare and behaviour, through the University of Edinburgh’s free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course). Enrollment is free and courses take approximately 10-15 hours to complete.

We look forward to connecting with you again in the fall. Have a wonderful summer!

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