A Dog Named Haku

A Holiday Story from Nepal

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten - Grade 3
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

It’s the Festival of Lights in Nepal, and today is the day to honor dogs! Brothers Alu and Bhalu wander the streets of Kathmandu, passing by twirling kites and bamboo swings, looking for a dog to feed. But as night falls, their task begins to feel hopeless, until they spot a small black dog who is in need of a friend. This sweet story presents an important Hindu holiday through the eyes of two young boys, making it relatable for both those familiar with the holiday and those reading about it for the first time.

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Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Category Diverse Books: #OwnVoices, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diversity, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2018
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2018-09-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV002070, JUV017170, JUV030020
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.75 x 9.75
Lexile 1250
Guided Reading Level M
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Maps, Original artwork, and Reviewed

Author: Margarita Engle

Margarita Engle is the national Young People's Poet Laureate, an Astrid Lindgren Award nominee, and the Cuban-American author of verse novels, memoirs, and picture books. Awards include a Newbery Honor for The Surrender Tree, and a Charlotte Zolotow Award for Drum Dream Girl.

Author: Amish Karanjit

Amish Karanjit was born and raised in Nepal and now lives in San Francisco. When he was little, his nickname was Alu. Together with his older brother, whose nickname was Bhalu, he fed their mother's festival feast to a stray dog called Haku. They really do have a little sister whose nickname is Dalli. Their family survived Nepal's devastating 2015 earthquakes.

Author: Nicole Karanjit

Nicole Karanjit has degrees in cultural anthropology and applied linguistics, has taught English to adult international students, and is currently a full-time mom and mixed media artist. She, her husband, Amish, and their daughter, Maya, enjoy frequent visits with Nicole's parents, Curtis and Margarita Engle.

Illustrator: Ruth Jeyaveeran

Ruth Jeyaveeran is an Assistant Professor of textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and a freelance illustrator. In her first book, The Road to Mumbai, she explored her South Asian heritage. She was very excited to revisit that part of the world in her illustrations for A Dog Named Haku. Her other books include The Spectacular Adventures of Sophie and Sebastian and The Happiest Tree. She lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.



“A happy ending will have readers cheering for the brothers and probably begging for a puppy of their own.”—Booklist

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“[A]n engaging introduction to a tradition that a lot of kids would like to join in celebrating . . .”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Kirkus Reviews

“A sweet sojourn in Nepal . . . an important contribution.”—Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

“[S]trikes just the right balance between warm family and holiday tradition, perseverance in the face of tragedy, cultural exploration, and animal rescue.”—School Library Journal