The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

Sy Montgomery (Atria Books)

No one writes about animals like the naturalist Sy Montgomery. And in this gorgeous book, she takes us deep into the majesty and mysteries of one of God’s most amazing creatures. As we learn about and marvel at them, we end up learning about and marveling at their Creator.

All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings

Gayle Boss (Paraclete Press)

Boss offers 25 essays that allow us to linger with our animal friends amid the dark and cold of winter as we move toward the coming of Christ. In each stunning study on animal behavior, Boss reminds us that God’s plans for rest and restoration are not just for humanity but indeed for all creation.

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption

Jim Gorant (Gotham Books)

While this book isn’t about God per se, is it possible to tell a “tale of rescue and redemption” about lost creatures without it being about God? I’d argue no. On every page of Gorant’s masterful reporting of these dogs’ escape from abuse and dogfighting, we see part of God’s grand restoration plan at work.

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

W. Phillip Keller (Zondervan)

My first reading of this book, published in 1970, was more of a skim. I was just a child, after all. But even that skim showed me that people who know and love animals can have special insights into the Scriptures—and therefore into the heart of God. This book continues to feed our animal-loving souls more than 50 years after its publication.

Salvage the Bones

Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury)

Ward’s masterful novel follows a family living in coastal Mississippi before and after Hurricane Katrina. While religion is not a major factor in the book, I sensed God using the teenage character Skeetah—who fights his beloved pit bull, China, and risks much to save her and her puppies—to teach me about seeing goodness in enemies (like people who fight pit bulls!). At its essence, Salvage the Bones is a study in loving one another and the other—animals and people alike.

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