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Children's Fiction Dogs

For Laika

The Dog Who Learned the Names of the Stars

text by Kai Cheng Thom

illustrated by Kai Yun Ching

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2021
Dogs, Death & Dying, Aeronautics & Astronautics, Exploration & Discovery
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3


The heart-rending story of Laika, the brave canine space traveller.

By two of the co-creators of the acclaimed children's book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea: the moving and beautifully told story of Laika, the dog who learned the names of the stars. Laika is an orphaned stray dog who lives in the streets of Moscow in the 1950s in the then Soviet Union. Although she is loved by her pack, Laika longs to one day learn the names of the stars, since she knows that all dogs become stars when they die - including her parents. One day, a Russian scientist named Vlad offers Laika the chance to travel to the stars by helping him with an important experiment, an event that will change the entire world.

Part fable, part dog story, part history lesson, the story of Laika's brave and loving heart will captivate young and older readers alike, offering important lessons about world peace, science, and the deep bonds between humans and every other creature with whom we share the planet.

About the authors

Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performance artist, and community healer in Toronto. She is the author of the novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir Metonymy Press), the poetry collection a place called No Homeland (an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in 2018), and the children's picture book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, illustrated by Kai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li. Her latest book is the essay collection I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes at the End of the World (an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in 2020). Kai Cheng won the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers in 2017.

Kai Cheng Thom's profile page

Kai Yun Ching is a community-based organizer, educator, and illustrator. They are the co-illustrator of the children's picture book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, and they edited and published Children's Stories, a collection of tales written by children, with the publishing collective Quilted Creatures in 2016.

Kai Yun Ching's profile page

Editorial Reviews

The story provides a unique way to have discussions with children about sensitive topics like different types of family loss, and it also opens their minds up to science. There is a discussion guide at the end for teachers, parents and guardians to get even deeper into the themes of the book. The illustrations provide a rich way for children to engage. -Bee Quammie, CBC's "The Next Chapter"

Other titles by Kai Cheng Thom

Other titles by Kai Yun Ching