Product Details

$16.99  $15.80
Shadow Mountain
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.4 X 0.9 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author

McCall Hoyle is an award-winning author and teacher librarian. When she grows up, she'd also like to be a professional dog trainer. She writes hopeful, heartfelt books for kids of all ages and believes one of the best ways to spread hope and share her heart is by writing about the special bond between dogs and their humans.

When McCall isn't writing or teaching, you will probably find her with one of her four-legged friends training for agility, obedience, or dock diving. If she's feeling spontaneous or needs a change of scenery, you might find her and a furry companion chasing make-believe bunnies at a lure coursing event or even hunting rats in a straw-filled barn in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains she calls home. You can learn more about her at


"A traumatized working dog has one last chance after the death of her handler.

Stella, a bomb-sniffing beagle, has been in three foster homes since the death of her handler, Connie, in an explosion. Now she's got PTSD, and she panics at loud noises, fire, or being left alone. Unable to do anything for her, the humans plan to euthanize Stella until she receives a last-minute reprieve. An old friend of Connie's, a world-class dog trainer, decides to take on Stella's rehabilitation as a favor to her old friend. Through Stella's doggy point of view (usually, though not entirely, limited to what a dog could theoretically comprehend), readers are introduced to dog training with Esperanza and her 11-year-old daughter, Cloe. Esperanza and Cloe, who come from a Spanish-speaking family background, live in the country with other working dogs, a cat, and sheep. Perhaps in this rural environment Stella can finally recover. As her bond with Cloe grows, Stella learns more about what Cloe's sometimes-strange smells mean when she first witnesses Cloe have an epileptic seizure. Stella's narration duly reports all the human conversations she doesn't understand; combined with Stella's somewhat anthropomorphized trauma recovery, Cloe's hopes and fears come through clearly. There's plenty of training process to please lovers of realistic dog books.

Dog training, trauma recovery, and just enough urgency to keep it moving: a quiet pleasure."

-- "Kirkus"
"This tender novel from a dog's perspective will help readers understand the importance of animals in their lives. This empathetic read is also full of important themes and lessons for young readers--bravery, how to overcome fears, and that mistakes don't have to define us. A heartfelt dog story that readers young and old will enjoy."-- "School Library Journal"
"Endearing. Tender exploration of human-animal bonding. The book's suspenseful final third focuses on Cloe's interactions with bullies, forcing Stella to relive her own traumatic memories, and to act brave despite them. This is a circular but satisfying means for Stella to resolve her fears. Stella realizes that it is okay to have made mistakes in the past, and that love doesn't require working for approval...In the memorable novel Stella, a dog looks to heal--and find a home."-- "Foreword Reviews"
2022-2023 master list nominee-- "Texas Bluebonnet Award"
2022-2023 nominee-- "New Mexico Land of Enchantment Book Award"
2022-2023 nomiee-- "Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award"
2022-2023 nominee-- "Kentucky Bluegrass Award"
2022-2023 nominee-- "Maine Student Book Award"
2023-2024 nomination for Grades 3-5-- "KS William Allen White Children's Book Award master list nomination"
2023-2024 for Grades 3-5-- "Louisiana Readers' Choice (LYRC/LTRC) Awards nominee"
2022-23 master list for Grades 4-5-- "AL Children's Choice Camellia Award nomination"
2022-2023 for Grades 3-5-- "FL Sunshine State Young Readers Award nominee"
2022-2023 master list-- "PA Young Readers Choice List nominee"
2023-24 State Award nominee
-- "South Carolina State Award"
"Heartwarming. It could quite possibly inspire us humans to be a little less judgmental, quicker to forgive, and more generous with our love. The author has done an incredible job giving us insight into the hear and mind of Stella. She's smart, kind, and loyal. Many excellent themes throughout this story. There are a few gripping and heart-pounding spots throughout the story, but the author, McCall Hoyle, has done a superior job keeping her young readers in mind as she describes these scenes. Fast-paced from the start, the author's ability to open the hearts of Stella and Chloe for the readers makes this story addicting and a thoroughly enjoyable read!"-- "Compass Book Rating"
2022-2023 Honor Book-- "Nebraska Golden Sower"
2022-2023 Winner-- "Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award"
2023-2024 MCBA nominee-- "Massachusetts State Award"