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Children's Fiction Dogs

Harvey Holds His Own

by (author) Colleen Nelson

illustrated by Tara Anderson

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Dogs, Post-Confederation (1867-), Adolescence, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7


Governor General’s Award finalist Harvey Holds His Own delivers another satisfying story of heart, perseverance, and one incredible little dog, now in a new paperback format.

Harvey, the West Highland Terrier hero of Harvey Comes Home, is back with his beloved Maggie. He is also back at Brayside retirement home, where he and Maggie now volunteer along with their friend Austin. There Maggie is drawn to a new resident, Mrs. Fradette, who tells stories of learning to fix cars as a twelve-year-old during the flood of 1950. Mrs. Fradette, with her bold fashion and love of poker, doesn’t fit in among the beige cardigan- wearing, bridge-playing ladies of Brayside, but she doesn’t seem to care. Maybe that’s why Maggie likes her so much. Since seventh grade began, Maggie hasn’t been fitting in well with her friends, either.

Always alert for anything new—and with a nose that never misses a new scent—Harvey follows his instincts on a walk with Austin and discovers an abandoned newborn puppy in a pile of trash. Austin’s heart almost breaks over the little puppy’s plight, so he takes her to safety. Maggie and the Brayside residents and staff praise Harvey’s heroic efforts, wishing that Austin could have his own dog. But the little puppy will need time to recover from her trauma before she can be adopted, and then there’s another, even bigger obstacle: Austin’s mom, who says no to pets.

As fall edges toward winter, Harvey picks up an unfriendly scent in his backyard, and he will stop at nothing to keep Maggie and the others safe. But sometimes the little Westie is just too brave for his own good.


About the authors

An author and junior high school teacher who also enjoyed many years of teaching kindergarten, Colleen Nelson earned her Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in her hometown of Winnipeg. Her previous works include the critically-acclaimed middle-grade novels Harvey Comes Home and Harvey Holds His Own; Sadia, which won the 2019 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award; and Blood Brothers, which was selected as the 2018 McNally Robinson Book of the Year for Young People. Colleen writes daily in between appearances at hockey rinks and soccer fields in support of her two sports-loving sons. The family’s West Highland Terrier Rosie adds an extra-loveable dose of liveliness, squirrel-chasing, and shoe-chewing to their lives.


Colleen Nelson's profile page

A folk artist and award-winning illustrator who trained at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Tara Anderson is known for her lively and humorous animal illustrations. Her most recent work includes spot illustrations of a quirky little hamster in Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life, and beautiful coloured-pencil illustrations of a boisterous family of rhinos in Rhino Rumpus. Her debut That Stripy Cat was followed with Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That, which won the 2014 Preschool Reads Award and was nominated for the 2015 SYRCA Shining Willow Award. The antics of Nat and his kitten friend are inspired by the cats who roam her farmhouse in Tweed, Ontario, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

Tara Anderson's profile page


  • Nominated, OLA Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award nominee
  • Short-listed, High Plains Book Awards
  • Short-listed, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Selection
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award: Young People's Literature - Text
  • Winner, Northern Lights Book Award: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction Category

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Harvey Holds His Own

2020 Governor General’s Literary Award: Young People’s Literature – Text Finalist

2022 OLA Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award nominee

2020 Northern Lights Book Award: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction Category Winner

2021 High Plains Book Award Finalist

2021 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Selection

“With the winning combination of a relatable main character and an adorable dog, this book should find a home with readers seeking a warmhearted tale of growth and connection.”—School Library Journal

“Not a common story but eminently believable. Characters...are lovingly developed, resulting in deeply engaging coming-of-age story.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Heartwarming...Harvey Holds His Own is a charming novel whose important life lessons are bettered by the love of a good dog.”—Foreword Reviews

“With fantastic characters and unique perspectives, Harvey Holds His Own is a middle grade contemporary that will appeal to the preteen audience well. Great for animal lovers and middle schoolers dealing with evolving friendships.”—YA Books Central

“Both Harvey Comes Home and Harvey Holds His Own are heartwarming tales that will be much loved by anyone who has ever owned a dog or wanted one….The chapters are also kept short so that even reluctant readers will not find these stories too challenging to read….I highly encourage parents, teachers and librarians to add these two titles to their shelves and hope there will be another story coming soon.”—Canadian Children’s Book News

“In a gently paced and heartfelt way, Nelson juggles three separate but intersecting story trajectories... Fans of the original and newcomers alike will relish the riveting friendship story contained within the pages of Harvey Holds His Own. Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine

“Harvey is the star: a lovable, brave and resourceful little dog.”—Winnipeg Free Press

“Colleen Nelson, with her compassionate heart and love for us a story of a girl, a boy and a dog (or two) that will make readers happy, both entertaining and reassuring them that things can work out well in the end. And while many will be drawn to this middle-grade novel because it is an animal story at its core, there are important messages about courage and perseverance, friendships new and old, and even love.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Colleen Nelson’s touching and wonderfully layered sequel, Harvey Holds His Own, tells a story of change, connection, and courage....Along with delightful, expertly shaded illustrations by Tara Anderson, Harvey Holds His Own is a heartfelt and wholly enjoyable read that will leave you with the warmest of feelings.”—Band of MG Books

“Harvey is a great dog, and his interactions with the residents is very touching. Maggie’s friendship with Mrs. Fradette (and Mrs. Fradette’s vintage car!) really shine.”—Ms. Yingling Reads

“I love how Colleen Nelson tells this story in three different voices....There is such a wonderful cast of characters in this book, especially all of the seniors at Brayside. Colleen Nelson has captured so many different personalities among the residents and has painted seniors in a way to inform young readers about all the knowledge, wisdom and life that can be learned from the older generation....This story will leave the reader feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and secretly hoping for another Harvey tale.”—Storytime with Stephanie

“I really enjoyed this book, as we see Maggie grow and venture into new experiences. She shows good character, and we learn a little about Winnipeg history as well.”—Canadian Bookworm

“Rating: ★★★★★...[A] great story! [Harvey Holds His Own] could be read as a stand-alone or as a sequel to Harvey Comes Home.”—Jill’s Book Blog


Other titles by Colleen Nelson

Other titles by Tara Anderson