How to Steal a Dog

Barbara O'Connor

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Half of me was thinking, Georgina, don’t do this. Stealing a dog is just plain wrong. The other half of me was thinking, Georgina, you’re in a bad fix and you got to do whatever it takes to get yourself out of it.
Georgina Hayes is desperate. Ever since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment, her family has been living in their car. With her mama juggling two jobs and trying to make enough money to find a place to live, Georgina is stuck looking after her younger brother, Toby. And she has her heart set on improving their situation. When Georgina spots a missing-dog poster with a reward of five hundred dollars, the solution to all her problems suddenly seems within reach. All she has to do is “borrow” the right dog and its owners are sure to offer a reward. What happens next is the last thing she expected.
With unmistakable sympathy, Barbara O’Connor tells the story of a young girl struggling to see what’s right when everything else seems wrong.  How to Steal a Dog is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


Praise for How to Steal a Dog

"Will keep youngsters totally engaged.  This novel's gentle storytelling carries a theme of love and emphasizes what is really right in the world."  -- STARRED, School Library Journal
“This is truly Georgina’s story, and to O’Connor’s great credit, it’s Georgina herself who figures out what’s right and does it.  The myriad effects of homelessness and the realistic  picture of moral quandary will surely generate discussion.”  --Booklist
"Georgina's . . . how-to journal will have kids anticipating her misconceptions about the realities of theft and deception. A powerful portrayal from an innocently youthful perspective . . .A suspenseful and achingly realistic story."  --Kirkus Reviews
"O'Connor knows how to spin a touching story, and reading this novel is its own reward." --The Horn Book
"O'Connor once again smoothly balances challenging themes with her heroine's strength and sense of humor.”  --Publishers Weekly
“Will give a more privileged audience much to ponder.” --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A must-have for a classroom library." IRA

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Barbara O'Connor

  • Barbara O’Connor is the author of numerous acclaimed books for children, including Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia; Me and Rupert Goody; and Greetings from Nowhere. She has been awarded the Parents’ Choice Gold and Silver Awards, the Massachusetts Book Award, and the Dolly Gray Award, among many honors. As a child, she loved dogs, salamanders, tap dancing, school, and even homework. Her favorite days were when the bookmobile came to town. She was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and now lives in Duxbury, Massachusetts, a historic seaside village not far from Plymouth Rock.
  • Barbara O'Connor Photo by Bill O'Connor
    Barbara O'Connor




Available Formats and Book Details

How to Steal a Dog

Barbara O'Connor

IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI), Parents' Choice Award Winner, NCSS-CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, Booklinks Lasting Connection, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List, Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award Maser List, Rhode Island Children's Book Award Master List, South Carolina Children's Book Award Master List, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, Hawaii Nene Book Award Master List, Tennessee Intermediate Volunteer State Book Award Master Lis, Nebraska Golden Sower Award Master List, Kentucky Blue Grass Award Master List, Louisiana YR Choice Book Award Master List, South Carolina Children's Book Award, Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award Master List, Colorado Children's Book Award Master List, South Dakota Prairie Pasque Children's Book Award, Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award, Iowa Children's Choice Award Master List, Kansas William Allen White Award, Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Book Award Master List, Minnesota Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award Master List, Illinois Bluestem Book Award ML, Illinois Bluestem Book Award, OR Battle of the Books Master List, North Carolina Children's Book Award Master List, Texas Horn Toad Tales Book Award, Washington Sasquatch Reading Award Master List