The most recommended sled dog books

Who picked these books? Meet our 12 experts.

12 authors created a book list connected to sled dogs, and here are their favorite sled dog books.
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Book cover of Diamond Willow

Natalie Rompella Author Of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

From my list on middle grade sled-dogs.

Who am I?

Sled dog racing? I knew nothing about it most of my life. I became interested after writing a nonfiction book on the history of sled dog racing. So interested, I wrote a novel on it—Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. I attended local sprint races and even traveled to Alaska to see the start of the Iditarod. I learned so much watching the mushers prepare and the excitement of the dogs. I still enjoy watching the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest, and local sprint races. I’m excited to share a list of great sled-dog books. What I like about my list is that all the books are so different! 

Natalie's book list on middle grade sled-dogs

Natalie Rompella Why did Natalie love this book?

This is my new favorite book. It takes place in a remote town in Alaska where residents must travel by dog sled. Each page has a poem written in a diamond shape that contains a hidden message. Not many books have such a unique format. But what really made the book exciting were the many twists and turns in the plot. (I also learned about diamond willow, but I won’t spoil it for you!)

By Helen Frost,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diamond Willow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

There's
more to me than
most people
see.

Twelve-year-old Willow would rather blend in than stick out. But she still wants to be seen for who she is. She wants her parents to notice that she is growing up. She wants her best friend to like her better than she likes a certain boy. She wants, more than anything, to mush the dogs out to her grandparents' house, by herself, with Roxy in the lead. But sometimes when it's just you, one mistake can have frightening consequences . . . And when Willow stumbles, it takes a surprising group of…


Book cover of The Call of the Wild

Anthony DeCapite Author Of Fireline

From my list on heart-pounding thrills.

Who am I?

I grew up reading stories of heroes, of adventures in fantastical worlds, and my time in the Marines expanded my sensibilities, adding grit and an understanding of real-world crises and conflicts. Give me compelling characters, unique worlds, and fast pacing, and I’ll be up until the wee hours glued to the page. Those are the kind of books I featured in this list, as well as what I try to write. 

Anthony's book list on heart-pounding thrills

Anthony DeCapite Why did Anthony love this book?

This is one of those books you’re supposed to have read growing up, but I never did. Instead, I read it during the pandemic—and I loved it. While it’s definitely a product of its time, it still holds up a hundred years later. It moves at such a fast clip, and the unsentimental, often brutal tribulations of the sled dog Buck kept me glued to the page. The quality of the writing and richness of the Yukon world adds to the intense ‘how’s he going to get through this’ tension. Plus, as a dog person, it’s always great reading a story about a dog or from a dog’s perspective. This is both.

By Jack London,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Call of the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics bring together the best-loved stories to a new generation.

In The Call of the Wild life is good for Buck in Santa Clara Valley, where he spends his days eating and sleeping in the golden sunshine. But one day a treacherous act of betrayal leads to his kidnap, and he is forced into a life of toil and danger. Dragged away to be a sledge dog in the harsh and freezing cold Yukon, Buck must fight for his survivial. Can he rise above his enemies and become the master of his realm once again?

Jack London (1876-1916) was…


Book cover of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North

Maggie Shipstead Author Of Great Circle

From my list on female adventurers.

Who am I?

In my third novel, Great Circle, a fictional aviator named Marian Graves disappears while trying to fly around the world north-south in 1950. While researching and writing, I became a travel journalist, partly so I could follow my character into far-flung, rugged corners of the world. Traveling, I encountered people who lead truly adventurous lives, and I started to seek out riskier experiences myself. I swam with humpback whales, tracked snow leopards in the Himalayas, and journeyed across huge seas to Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. I still don’t consider myself a full-fledged adventurer, but I love reading about women contending with the challenges of wild places and their own internal landscapes.

Maggie's book list on female adventurers

Maggie Shipstead Why did Maggie love this book?

I love cold, northern places and dogs, and, if you haven’t already noticed, warts-and-all stories about women finding strength they didn’t know they had in the wilderness. Blair Braverman’s memoir checks all these boxes. As a teenager, she goes to a folk school in the Norwegian Arctic and learns to work with sled dogs, something she later continues as a guide in Alaska. (Braverman is now a professional musher and has run the Iditarod.) The book’s subtitle is Chasing Fear and Finding Home In the Great White North, and Braverman is unsparing in her exploration of fear rooted in both the human and natural world. I read this book on a series of airplanes in one long travel day, and I’m still reminded of it every time I see Braverman’s delightful Twitter stories about her dogs.

By Blair Braverman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rich and revelatory memoir of a young woman reclaiming her courage in the stark landscapes of the north.

By the time Blair Braverman was eighteen, she had left her home in California, moved to arctic Norway to learn to drive sled dogs, and found work as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. Determined to carve out a life as a “tough girl”—a young woman who confronts danger without apology—she slowly developed the strength and resilience the landscape demanded of her. 

By turns funny and sobering, bold and tender, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube brilliantly recounts Braverman’s…


Book cover of Ice Dogs

Joni Sensel Author Of The Farwalker's Quest

From my list on girls on epic outdoor adventures.

Who am I?

I grew up playing in the woods near my home and as an adult I enjoy backpacking, scuba diving, biking, snow-shoeing, and solo travel. When I was young, most books with exciting adventure stories in nature were about boys, but I know from experience that girls can do all the same things. And whether it’s set in a fantasy world or our own, I think adventures in nature help us learn who we are and how we connect to all that’s around us. That’s why my Farwalker trilogy features a strong, resourceful girl on a walking adventure, and it’s why I love to find and share other outdoorsy heroines with young readers. 

Joni's book list on girls on epic outdoor adventures

Joni Sensel Why did Joni love this book?

I adore dogs and have always been interested in dog sledding, though I’ve never had a chance to do it. (But for a while I had two big dogs that I’d walk together with them pulling me along half the time, so my neighbors jokingly called us the Greenwater Dogsled Team after the name of my tiny mountain town.) This story about 14-year-old Victoria, who has her own dogsled team and tries to rescue the victim of a snowmobile accident, is gripping throughout. It just keeps getting more exciting, we care so much about her and her dogs, and the story even has a touch of romance along the trail. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

By Terry Lynn Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ice Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Victoria Secord, a fourteen-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods is entirely up to her.

The author Terry Lynn Johnson is a musher herself, and her crackling writing puts readers at the reins as Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure.


Book cover of Dog Driven

Natalie Rompella Author Of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

From my list on middle grade sled-dogs.

Who am I?

Sled dog racing? I knew nothing about it most of my life. I became interested after writing a nonfiction book on the history of sled dog racing. So interested, I wrote a novel on it—Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. I attended local sprint races and even traveled to Alaska to see the start of the Iditarod. I learned so much watching the mushers prepare and the excitement of the dogs. I still enjoy watching the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest, and local sprint races. I’m excited to share a list of great sled-dog books. What I like about my list is that all the books are so different! 

Natalie's book list on middle grade sled-dogs

Natalie Rompella Why did Natalie love this book?

Terry Lynn Johnson has written many books on sled dogs. Dog Driven does a great job of sharing what a junior race is like: the competitiveness, the setbacks, and the thrill of the sport. It also addresses facing an issue head-on. In this book, the main character is struggling with worsening eyesight. I think middle grade readers will relate to feeling apprehensive when facing something difficult. 

By Terry Lynn Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dog Driven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of Ice Dogs comes a riveting adventure about a musher who sets out to prove her impaired vision won't hold her back from competing in a rigorous sled race through the Canadian wilderness. Perfect for fans of Gary Paulsen. McKenna Barney is trying to hide her worsening eyesight and has been isolating herself for the last year. But at the request of her little sister, she signs up for a commemorative mail run race in the Canadian wilderness - a race she doesn't know if she can even see to run. Winning would mean getting her disease…


Book cover of Animal Assisted Interventions: Professionals Embrace the Power of the Dog

Elsa Blomster Author Of Retrieving for All Occasions

From my list on fun and effective dog training.

Who am I?

I’m a Swedish dog trainer and author who love training dogs in a fun, positive, and force-free way. I got my first Golden retriever in 2005 and learnt a lot about dog training and especially clicker training. When a friend gave me a dummy I really started to enjoy gun dog training and realized that there weren’t many people who trained gun dogs in a force-free way so I took all my knowledge from my reward-based obedience training and translated it into gun dog training, discussed training methods with a lot of people, held classes in force-free gun dog training and eventually collected all my thoughts and training advice into a book together with my friend Lena Gunnarsson.

Elsa's book list on fun and effective dog training

Elsa Blomster Why did Elsa love this book?

This book moved me to tears after just reading a couple of pages. The authors describe lots of cases where dogs (and their handlers) have helped people in their lives – calming students, giving elderly people hope, and making them want to do things again. If you want to work together with your dog and help other people in f ex schools, old age care centers, etc. this is a great book. It takes you through the basics of what the dog needs to know, how to teach it, and lots of things to think about when you choose a dog trainer to help you educate your dog.

By Sara Karlberg, Helena Eriksson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Animal Assisted Interventions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a book for anyone who wants to learn more about what a social working dog is. Maybe
you’re curious about what it might be like to work in a school or some form of health care together
with your best friend? Maybe you’ve already done an assessment test and are looking for or have
already started the course that best suits you? Or maybe you have a family member who you think
would benefit from sessions with a dog team but want to know a little more before you propose it?
The authors have based the contents of…


Book cover of Sled Dog School

Natalie Rompella Author Of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

From my list on middle grade sled-dogs.

Who am I?

Sled dog racing? I knew nothing about it most of my life. I became interested after writing a nonfiction book on the history of sled dog racing. So interested, I wrote a novel on it—Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. I attended local sprint races and even traveled to Alaska to see the start of the Iditarod. I learned so much watching the mushers prepare and the excitement of the dogs. I still enjoy watching the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest, and local sprint races. I’m excited to share a list of great sled-dog books. What I like about my list is that all the books are so different! 

Natalie's book list on middle grade sled-dogs

Natalie Rompella Why did Natalie love this book?

Yes, I chose a second book by Terry Lynn Johnson. The two books I chose are quite different in both subject matter and tone though. This book is a light-hearted story about eleven-year-old Matt who starts his own business for his school project. He chooses sled-dog training. I’ve always loved books about kid-run businesses, and this one has a great cast of characters.

By Terry Lynn Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sled Dog School as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Eleven-year-old Matt is struggling in school and he has to set up his own business to save his failing math grade. But what is he even good at? The only thing he truly loves is his team of dogs, and so Matt's Sled Dog School is born. Teaching dogsledding should be easy, right? But people, just like dogs, can be unpredictable. And sometimes the bravest thing a person can do is admit they need help. Like Terry Lynn Johnson's popular Ice Dogs, Sled Dog School is about overcoming adversity, finding your strengths, and your friends, and following your passions. AGES:…