Missing Mike cover

By Shari Green

Missing Mike

From the award-winning author of Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, a timely middle-grade story about the devastation of wildfires and the resilience of the human spirit

He’s a rescue, a mutt. Maybe there’s a little golden retriever in him, although he’s not exactly pretty. He’s had a run-in with coyotes and he’s missing an eye. But Mike is eleven-year-old Cara Donovan’s dog, and they love each other absolutely. Usually her pet follows Cara everywhere, but on the day the family first smells smoke in the air, Mike becomes anxious. Pine Grove is in the path of a wildfire, and the family is ordered to evacuate. In the ensuing chaos, Mike runs off. And then the unthinkable happens; there is no time to search for Mike. They are forced to leave him behind.

Shocked and devastated, Cara watches helplessly as the family drives through a nightmare, with burning debris falling from the sky and wild animals fleeing for their lives. Once in the city far from the burn zone, the Donovans are housed with a volunteer host family. Jewel, the hosts’ daughter, is nice, but Cara can only think about what she may have lost. What will happen if nothing is left? But as she reflects on what “home” means to her, Cara knows only one thing. She is not going to lose Mike. She will do what it takes to find him, even if it means going back to Pine Grove on her own.

With her signature style combining simplicity and lyricism, the author of Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles and Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess tells an uplifting story of love and loss. And she shows how one girl’s stressful journey eventually leads her to an unexpected place, and a new definition of home.

Available In


Ages 8-12
ISBN: 978-1-77278-045-1
List Price: $19.95 CAD / $17.95 USD
Hardback with reinforced binding & with printed dust jacket
Trim Size: 5.75 x 8.00 inches / 14.605 x 20.32cm
Pages: 248

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 40

Paperback / softback

Ages 8-12
ISBN: 978-1-77278-326-1
List Price: $16.95 CAD / $13.95 USD
Paperback / softback
Trim Size: 5.50 x 8.00 inches / 13.97 x 20.32cm
Pages: 248

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 1

Currently Unavailable

About this book

Awards and Honours

  • 2022 Chocolate Lily Award (Winner) (Canada)
  • 2022 Lectio Book Awards (Short-listed) (United States)
  • 2021 Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Short-listed) (United States)
  • 2021 IASL Iowa Teen Award (Short-listed) (United States)
  • 2020 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award (Short-listed) (United States)
  • 2019 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award nominee (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2020 Hackmatack Childrens' Choice Award (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2020 Rocky Mountain Book Award (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2020 MYRCA Sundogs Award (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2020 SYRCA Diamond Willow Award (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2019 NCTE Notable Poetry Books selection (Commended) (United States)
  • 2019 USBBY Outstanding International Books List selection (Commended) (United States)
  • 2018 Resource Links "The Year's Best" selection (Commended) (Canada)
  • 2018 OLA Best Bets selection (Commended) (Canada)
  • 2018 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection (Commended) (Canada)
  • 2018 OLA Forest of Reading Kid Committee Summer Reading List selection (Commended) (Canada)


Praise for Missing Mike

2022 Chocolate Lily Award Winner

2022 Lectio Book Awards nominee

2021 Kentucky Bluegrass Award shortlist

2021 IASL Iowa Teen Award nominee

2020 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award shortlist

2020 Hackmatack Childrens’ Choice Award shortlist

2020 Rocky Mountain Book Award shortlist

2020 MYRCA Sundogs shortlist

2020 SYRCA Diamond Willow Award finalist

2019 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award nominee

2019 NCTE Notable Poetry Books selection

2019 USBBY Outstanding International Books List selection

2018 Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection

2018 OLA Best Bets selection

2018 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection

2018 OLA Forest of Reading Kid Committee Summer Reading List selection

“Cara is an appealing, believable narrator whose story unfolds through succinct and vivid descriptions, interactions and vignettes with family and friends, and self-reflection. Her mix of fears, insecurities, optimism, and penchant for crossword puzzles will resonate….VERDICT Cara provides a dramatic and youthful eyewitness perspective on wildfires, evacuation operations, the kindness and generosity of strangers, and the traumatic uncertainty of loss. A timely addition to middle grade collections.”—School Library Journal

“Green’s free verse novel fairly brims with gripping descriptions of both the fire and Cara’s taut emotional state, allowing readers a front-row seat to the devastation and fear that the fire generates….A fast-paced, compelling, and timely read.”—Booklist

“Green does a marvelous job of using backstory to deepen the commitment and love between dog and girl…Tense, heartwarming, and masterful.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Written in flowing prose, Missing Mike explores the meaning of home….The emotional intensity of the story never falters. It is full of the longing, loss, and desperation of losing everything. Through that sadness and desolation, the book teaches an amazing lesson about hope, kindness, and the importance of family.”—Foreword Reviews

“The verse novel format lends itself well to the frantic and emotional nature of a natural disaster and Shari Green’s writing is carefully crafted. This is a timely book, as wildfires have become a more common occurrence in western Canada and the United States….Dog lovers will also be waiting on the edge of their seats…Cara’s search for her dog and for a feeling of home will resonate with readers of all ages, and this book would make an excellent addition to a classroom or school library.”—Resource Links

“Green ends Missing Mike…with a number of unknowns regarding the family’s future because of the fire’s larger, long term impact on the community of Pine Grove and its inhabitants. Green’s choosing to tell this story via free verse was the correct stylistic decision. Her descriptions, particularly those dealing with the evacuation, are absolutely gripping. There’s much to like in Missing Mike….Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine

“Cara’s sadness is palpable, and her descriptions of the setting are moving….a story about the meaning of home…”—ILA Literacy Daily, “Celebrating Poetry”

“Award-winning author Shari Green has crafted an emotional and lyrically gripping tale capturing readers by the heart strings from page one with the unmistakable voice and keen observations of a young girl wise beyond her years….Missing Mike is a life-affirming, soul-soaring journey of love, loss, family, hope and the true definition of home. A standout book in the collection of any middle-grade reader, it will resonate particularly with those who love stories about the resiliency of the human spirit and the unbreakable bond between animals and their human families.”—Canadian Children’s Book News

“We rated this book: [5/5]…I LOVED reading Missing Mike….I have known families who have had to evacuate from hurricanes and forest fires. Missing Mike is a good book for kids wondering how it would feel like to evacuate. One thing I really liked about this book, is sometimes Cara says a word and then defines it. I would love if Missing Mike were turned into a movie.”—Kids’ BookBuzz

“Middle school readers will enjoy the accessible, lyrical text of this poignant story about human-animal bonds, family dynamics, and strength in the face of adversity, and will appreciate being left with an optimistic ending and a new definition of ‘home.'”—ASLC Lit Picks

“Showcasing author Shari Green’s genuine flair for originality and narrative driven storytelling, Missing Mike will prove to be of extraordinary interest for children ages 9 to 12, making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections for young readers.”—Midwest Book Review

“Rating: 5/5…Reading a book like this makes me SO GLAD I just made a dedicated #novelsinverse section in my library! I loved this book, especially Cara and Mike’s devotion to each other and the lyrical language throughout.”—Youth Services Book Review

“The recognition of grey areas in life – and the attempts we make to classify and resolve them – is a theme well suited to upper-middle-grade readers; many will identify with Cara’s desire to have a solution for everything….[Green’s] ability to convey complex emotions is on point: uncertainty, regret, nostalgia, loyalty, love, and friendship are palpable. Missing Mike is a novel that subtly shifts from being about a missing dog to become an exploration of the emotional journey of losing home and finding it once again.”—Quill & Quire

“Green’s novel, written in blank verse, is full of dramatic images of the fire that engulfs the town, and helps emphasize the trauma wildfires can have not only on buildings but on the people who live in them.”—Winnipeg Free Press

Missing Mike was…a heartbreaking story to read. Cara’s love for Mike is so deep that her anguish at being separated from him is palpable….But more than the story about a missing dog, Missing Mike is about home and the different configurations it might take….Shari Green, who has impressed all readers with her exceptional novels in verse does not disappoint with this latest middle grade novel in free verse. The genre is a tough one to write but Shari Green has perfected it. She gets the voices dead on with a limited vocabulary and still tells an honest story about a family’s response to disaster and specifically a young girl’s determination to be reunited with the dog she loves and finding home whatever and wherever it may be.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Having just spent the summer breathing in the smoke blanketing the entire province of BC…this story really resonated. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down…Missing Mike is filled with the kindness of strangers which gives the book hope….I loved this book because it placed my fears into a story of survival and resilience where the main character discovers what home really means.”—Yolanda Ridge

“[T]his book is an excellent way to get kids thinking about the dire consequences of such events in peoples’ lives. It is a moving account of the terror and anguish felt by those who live where those fires rage….The tense telling will keep readers intent on reading (or hearing) more.”—Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Overall, Missing Mike is a touching, lyrical story with the beautiful, boundless relationship of Cara and Mike as its core and anchor. Shari Green’s writing style is effortless and candid, a perfect match for Cara’s natural and appropriately trusting, childlike narrative. Readers who love stories about human-animal bonds, children’s novels told in free verse, or middle grade titles that explore family dynamics and strength in facing adversity might find much to love about Missing Mike. Those who enjoy the writing of authors such as K.A. Holt, Katherine Applegate, Barbara O’Connor, Beth Vrabel or Alison Hughes might also want to check this moving middle grade novel out.”—Fab Book Reviews

Missing Mike is a fabulous novel in verse…While reading this story you will feel the fear, anxiety, and desperation Cara feels. Shari Green’s writing is so powerful you become a player in the story….Missing Mike is such a timely and beautiful novel and deserves a space on your library/classroom/home bookshelves.”—Storytime with Stephanie

“The book is written in free verse, which adds an interesting flow to the story….A book that will get the reader thinking.”—Canadian Bookworm

“[A]nother great read by Shari Green….Missing Mike is a quick read and full of heartache, but also kindness and we discover, along with Cara, what home means.”—Book Time

“In light of the many wildfires in the past few years, especially in British Columbia, Alberta and northern Ontario, Green’s book is very timely. Missing Mike will help young readers understand just how devastating disasters like wildfires can be for those who experience them….Overall, Missing Mike is a well written, touching short novel in free verse by Canadian author Sheri Green. Younger readers who love dogs and animal stories in general will enjoy Missing Mike.”—Libris Notes

“A lovely and emotional story about a missing dog, told in verse….There’s such lovely imagery and language in this novel!…A great example of a novel in verse that creates strong emotions for the reader.”—That’s Another Story

“So much to love about this book. A novel in verse about those hard, hard, coming of age years….I can’t wait to recommend this to readers who love dogs, or words, or Ann Martin’s Reign Rain.”—Carol’s Corner

“I can’t say enough good things about Shari Green’s verse novels. She chooses words carefully to make an emotional connection and teach you a valuable lesson….Most people identify with the strong urge to save a pet. That, combined with the recent wildfire disasters, make this a book kids will thoroughly enjoy.”—Kiss the Book Jr.

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