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Laika is a Cold Dog, a stray pup fighting for her life on the streets of Moscow. Then, one winter night, she is plucked from her alley to become a starflyer, a dog trained to travel into space. Distrustful of people, Laika tries to do everything she can to escape. That is, until she meets Nina.

Nina is a Cold Girl, lonely and full of questions. Her best friend has moved to America in a rush, leaving Nina to face the school bullies all by herself. Plus, her father’s work as a scientist in the Soviet Space Program grows more secretive by the day.

When the two meet in her father’s laboratory, their growing bond slowly warms the chill that has settled in each other’s hearts. As the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union grows fierce, Laika and Nina uncover shocking secrets and hard truths that will test their friendship. How will they find the courage to chase their dreams all the way to the stars?

Based on an incredible true story, Carnegie Medal nominee and New York Times–bestselling author Megan Shepherd crafts a harrowing, propulsive girl-and-her-dog tale that will linger in your heart long after the last page.

What People Are Saying

"A poignant story that accessibly illuminates a milestone in space exploration history."

                                                                                       – Kirkus Reviews

"Recommended for its insight into a pivotal moment in history and the touching relationship between a girl and her dog."

                                                                                       – Booklist

"Sympathetic characters deliver a tense and compelling adventure that stays true to historical events."

                                                                                       – Publishers Weekly


  • A 2022 Notable Social Studies Trade Books List Selection, from the Children’s Book Council

Listen to me talk about DOG STAR!
Author Megan Shepherd on DOG STAR
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