The best animal stories for love of our planet

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a teacher, sailor, kayaker, and environmental-vegan animal lover. I live by the sea among marine wildlife. I grew up sailing, then sailed the Pacific on the tiny wooden boat that was my first marital home. We had no engine, no modern technology. Like the sea beings, we had a wing in the wind and a fin in the sea so we lived in their world, on their terms. Alone, helming under the stars, I dreamed of dolphin culture and mentally made lists of possible dolphin vocations. This helped me create fiction from the dolphin viewpoint. Input from scientists brought authenticity to my marine environmental fantasies and messages. 


I wrote...

Ripple: A Dolphin Love Story

By Tui Allen,

Book cover of Ripple: A Dolphin Love Story

What is my book about?

Ripple is the twenty million-year-old story of how love inspired one dolphin to an intellectual achievement that changed the universe.

Recently, forces from the universe decided that time was running out for humans to hear the defining story of their planet. This book is that story. Are humans the last intelligent beings in the developed universe to hear it? Have you ever wondered what goes on in the great marine intellects which evolved millions of years before humans came down from the trees? Find out by following Ripple as she negotiates the beauties and horrors of the ancient oceans and falls in love with the fighter Cosmo in the wild surf of Point Savage.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Tui Allen Why did I love this book?

This long narrative poem has the most lyrical descriptions of sailing I’ve ever read, so back in my teens, I memorized it. It takes 30 minutes to recite. While voyaging under sail in the Pacific, reciting it twice would get me though the first lonely hour of my long night watch. Even today, reciting the poem sends my spirit back to the open sea.

The first turning point of the story is when the charismatic albatross is shot for no reason. The second turning point is when the mariner breaks the curse by overcoming his revulsion for the ocean’s non-charismatic “slimy things that crawl” and he blesses them. So we learn to value all life, charismatic or not.

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rime of the Ancient Mariner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Great title poem plus "Kubla Khan," "Christabel," 20 other sonnets, lyrics, odes: "Frost at Midnight," "The Nightingale," "The Pains of Sleep," "To William Wordsworth," "Youth and Age," more. All reprinted from authoritative edition.


Book cover of Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Tui Allen Why did I love this book?

This book is about taking the physical path to spiritual freedom, without the need for any religion. It inspired me to cross oceans under sail, to complete ultra-distance multi-disciplinary sports events, and to build my own faith in the divineness of the natural world. Would you believe it helped me win bike races?

And I love that it does all this through the lens of a beautiful feathered sea being. This non-human viewpoint released the author from the prison of human arrogance. Glorious. And it inspired some wonderful music. 

By Richard Bach,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Jonathan Livingston Seagull as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic work is now available for the first time in paperback. Since 1951, when the last of the Witchcraft Acts was repealed, many books have been written about the reappearance of witchcraft and the development of a pagan theology. Churchmen have denounced it. Sociologists have wondered at it. Journalists have penned sensational stories about it. But until the publication of this book, no one had told the real story of it from the inside as frankly as it is told here.

Doreen Valiente, one of witchcraft's most widely known figures, was a close friend of the late Gerald Gardner,…


Book cover of Black Beauty

Tui Allen Why did I love this book?

It’s not so much the book itself as what it achieved. Hundreds of books were previously written about horses, especially how best to exploit them, but this was the first to let readers experience the human/horse relationship from the viewpoint of the horse. Previously, humans saw horses as a resource to be used up for human convenience like machines. Black Beauty showed us what that was like for the horse. It broke the hearts of readers and changed their attitudes. It broke my own childish heart and taught me to always try to see things from the angle of the animal, whether that animal was a dolphin, a seagull, a cat, or a horse.

By Anna Sewell, Kristen Guest (editor),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Black Beauty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Continuously in print and translated into multiple languages since it was first published, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty is a classic work of children's literature and an important text in the fields of Victorian studies and animal studies. Writing to ""induce kindness, sympathy and an understanding treatment"", Sewell realistically documents the working conditions of Black Beauty, who moves down the social scale from a rural carriage horse to a delivery horse in London. Sewell makes visible and tangible the experience of animals who were often treated as if they were machines. Though she died shortly after it was published, Sewell's book…


Book cover of Life of Pi

Tui Allen Why did I love this book?

This book is about the power of story. The protagonist believed three different religions at once because he saw power in all their stories. All of us are free to choose the stories we live by, in mind, body, and spirit.
The story features animals and makes some incredible animal/human interactions believable. It promoted respect for animals, while making me question if it should make any ethical difference anyway, whether the animals adrift on the ocean with Pi were really humans or not. Humans are animals too, aren’t we? Life deserves the same respect whatever species we happen to be. And of course, I loved the open-sea setting.

By Yann Martel,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked Life of Pi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger.

Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi Patel, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with the tiger, Richard Parker, for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his…


Book cover of The Plague Dogs

Tui Allen Why did I love this book?

Richard Adams himself signed my copy of this book when he visited New Zealand long ago. If he hadn’t looked deep into my eyes at the time and promised me it had a happy ending I might never have made it to the end, so harrowing was the story. But I finished it and he was right. The story questions the ethics of human exploitation of animals. To me, Plague Dogs was his greatest work, far more important than Watership Down, and certainly no children’s book. Adams is a true master at presenting the animal's point of view. This book hit me like a sledgehammer and like Watership Down, it beautifully evoked the natural world of its setting.

By Richard Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Plague Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, escape from a research laboratory in the Lake District where it is wrongly supposed they have been purposely infected with a deadly virus and now pose a dangerous threat to the human population. As the authorities give chase, the two friends make their way through the hills and across the moors, along the way learning to survive on their wits and finding friendship and help from a fox they encounter. They dream of finding their original owners and a safe haven - but the hunt is on.

A lyrical and engrossing tale, The Plague Dogs…


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The Blue Prussian

By Eve Penrose,

Book cover of The Blue Prussian

Eve Penrose

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The Blue Prussian is a spellbinding story told by Blake O’Brien, a beautiful, young executive with a globetrotting career. Blake returns to her native Manhattan from San Francisco after escaping—or so she thinks—her marriage to a dashing man who turned out to be a prince of darkness. She had been hoping for a fresh start but learns that she has been poisoned with thallium—a deadly neurotoxin referred to as the poisoner’s poison.

Blake is treated with the only known antidote—Prussian blue—the same synthetic pigment with the deeply saturated hue used in dazzling masterpieces like The Starry Night and The Great Wave. Almost unfathomably, the alchemist who invented Prussian blue was the rumored inspiration for Mary Shelley’s character, Dr. Frankenstein. The similarities to Blake’s financier ex are striking as his true nature is revealed—including the discovery of a secret room in the brooding Victorian home where they lived their married life together.

The stylish enclaves of Beekman Place in New York City, Nob Hill in San Francisco, and the Mayfair neighborhood in London provide the backdrop as this chilling tale of treachery and betrayal unfolds. Blake’s resolve triumphs, and the camaraderie of her loyal and charismatic friends fortifies her as she takes the reader on a tantalizing international pursuit to try to catch her poisoner, who is known to the FBI as The Blue Prussian.

The Blue Prussian

By Eve Penrose,

What is this book about?

"A modern-day Gaslight"

The Blue Prussian is a spellbinding story told by Blake O'Brien, a beautiful, young executive with a globetrotting career. Blake returns to her native Manhattan from San Francisco after escaping—or so she thinks—her marriage to a dashing man who turned out to be a prince of darkness. She had been hoping for a fresh start but learns that she has been poisoned with thallium—a deadly neurotoxin referred to as the poisoner's poison.

Blake is treated with the only known antidote—Prussian blue—the same synthetic pigment with the deeply saturated hue used in dazzling masterpieces like The Starry Night…


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