Creech, S. (2001). Love that dog. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
Jack loves his dog, but he doesn't like poems. He says he doesn't like poems because boys don't write them. In his very matter-of-fact-like fashion, this story is told from his point of view... and through his style of poetry. And importantly, Jack learns to not only appreciate poetry, but live with the feelings he has for his beloved pet, Sky.
This touching story can be read at any level. Teachers can use this novel to teach theme, expose students to dealing with hardship and adversity, and allow students to explore the powerful plot of a story that blends the thoughts of a boy who thinks his thoughts are individual only to him. Students can learn to reinforce the learned skill of diction, connotation and denotation. This can also be used for daily writing activities in response to other texts.
Parents can use this short, but powerful read to help a child or loved one overcome grief through writing. It is encouraged for the child to discuss the plot and the inner conflict Jack is experiencing when he writes each poem. As the discussion progresses, it can be used as an avenue to discuss other issues the family could be facing. In a more academic setting, it can also be used to reinforce lessons in diction as well.