Elephants In Children’s Literature

Footwear Salescat one of many characters from Rogue's Gallery, 1969 written and illustrated by Edgar Parker
Footwear Salescat one of many characters from Rogue’s Gallery, 1969 written and illustrated by Edgar Parker

It’s been almost a year since Sila’s mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.

The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places.

A moving story of family separation and the importance of the connection between animals and humans

"Successful Hunt" Illustrator Aminadav Kanevsky, 1960s
“Successful Hunt” Illustrator Aminadav Kanevsky, 1960s
Billy Fishbone And Other Sea Stories Martin Waddell, Illustrated By Reg Cartwright, Addison Wesley Longman Limited, 1994
Billy Fishbone And Other Sea Stories Martin Waddell, Illustrated By Reg Cartwright, Addison Wesley Longman Limited, 1994
Chaya, a no-nonsense, outspoken hero, leads her friends and a gorgeous elephant on a noisy, fraught, joyous adventure through the jungle where revolution is stirring and leeches lurk. Will stealing the queen’s jewels be the beginning or the end of everything for the intrepid gang?
Chaya, a no-nonsense, outspoken hero, leads her friends and a gorgeous elephant on a noisy, fraught, joyous adventure through the jungle where revolution is stirring and leeches lurk. Will stealing the queen’s jewels be the beginning or the end of everything for the intrepid gang?
João da Câmara Leme, Girl and Elephant
João da Câmara Leme, Girl and Elephant

An elephant never forgets…but Lexington Willow can’t remember her past. When she was a toddler, a tornado swept her away from everyone and everything she knew and landed her near an enclosure in a Nebraska zoo, where an elephant named Nyah protected her from the storm. With no trace of her family, Lex grew up at the zoo with her foster father, Roger; her best friend, Fisher; and the wind whispering in her ear.

Now that she’s twelve, Lex is finally old enough to help with the elephants. But during their first training session, Nyah sends her a telepathic image of the woods outside the zoo. Despite the wind’s protests, Lex decides to investigate Nyah’s message and gets wrapped up in an adventure involving ghosts, lost treasure, and a puzzle that might be the key to finding her family. Can Lex summon the courage to hunt for who she really is–and why the tornado brought her here all those years ago?

Orlando’s Evening Out by Kathleen Hale
Orlando’s Evening Out by Kathleen Hale
from 'Goliath II' by Bill Peet (1915-2002) elephant
from ‘Goliath II’ by Bill Peet (1915-2002)
Blackie's Boys' Annual 1938 opposite p197 The leader of the herd by Raymond Sheppard elephant
Blackie’s Boys’ Annual 1938 opposite p197 The leader of the herd by Raymond Sheppard
Three Tall Tales (1947) Helen Sewell and Eleska elephant
Three Tall Tales (1947) Helen Sewell and Eleska elephant
Transformation booklets were issued from the Kellogg Company given in the store when one bought a Kellogg cereal box elephant
Transformation booklets were issued from the Kellogg Company given in the store when one bought a Kellogg cereal box elephant
from a French book called Les péripéties de l’aviation (Adventures in Aviation) from 1911 and by the Spanish artist J. Xaudaró (in full Joaquín Xaudaró y Echau)
from a French book called Les péripéties de l’aviation (Adventures in Aviation) from 1911 and by the Spanish artist J. Xaudaró (in full Joaquín Xaudaró y Echau)
OLLI, DER KLEINE ELEFANT (1989) Hans de Beer
OLLI, DER KLEINE ELEFANT (1989) Hans de Beer
from What Do Say Dear A Book of Manners for All Occasions, by Sesyle Jolson, Illustrated by Maurice Sendak, 1958
from What Do Say Dear A Book of Manners for All Occasions, by Sesyle Jolson, Illustrated by Maurice Sendak, 1958
JUFFROUW SPITS OP REIS [c. 1948] Piet Broos elephant mouse goodbye
JUFFROUW SPITS OP REIS [c. 1948] Piet Broos
TONY SARG'S BOOK OF ANIMALS (1925) Tony Sarg elephant
TONY SARG’S BOOK OF ANIMALS (1925) Tony Sarg
The 1975 Childcraft Annual elephant
The 1975 Childcraft Annual
Jiří Trnka, 1962 elephants
Jiří Trnka, 1962
Otto Nielsen elephant
Otto Nielsen
Peter Newell, 1902 edition of Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll elephant
Peter Newell, 1902 edition of Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll. Alice sees some unusual pollinators:
“..poking its proboscis into them, `just as if it was a regular bee,’ thought Alice.”
Gustaf Tenggren (1896-1970) The Saggy Baggy Elephant
Gustaf Tenggren (1896-1970) The Saggy Baggy Elephant
Edward Julius Detmold (British painter) 1883 - 1957, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad The Sailor
Edward Julius Detmold (British painter) 1883 – 1957, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad The Sailor
Aesop illustrated by Arthur Rackham elephant
Aesop illustrated by Arthur Rackham
Kodomo no kuni (“Children’s Land”), 1922–30 riding elephant giraffe
Kodomo no kuni (“Children’s Land”), 1922–30
Art by Anne Anderson (1930's) elephant
Art by Anne Anderson (1930’s) elephant
J.P. Miller (1951) elephant
J.P. Miller (1951)
John Dukes McKee, The Big Show, 1933
John Dukes McKee, The Big Show, 1933
Franklin Booth (1874-1948) elephant
Franklin Booth (1874-1948)
Edward Detmold (1883 - 1957) 1924 illustration The Roc which fed its young on elephants for Arabian Nights
Edward Detmold (1883 – 1957) 1924 illustration The Roc which fed its young on elephants for Arabian Nights
Smallness by Matthew Burgess, illustration by Kris Di Giacomo
Smallness by Matthew Burgess, illustration by Kris Di Giacomo
The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff, publ. 1933. Babar marries Celeste
The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff, publ. 1933. Babar marries Celeste
From Brunhoff, Jean, BABAR and his Children, 1953
From Brunhoff, Jean, BABAR and his Children, 1953
Little Dumbo seizes the opportunity to visit his mum, whilst a far-from-perceptive guard snoozes... Rare concept art by Mary Blair. 1941
Little Dumbo seizes the opportunity to visit his mum, whilst a far-from-perceptive guard snoozes… Rare concept art by Mary Blair. 1941
Lemon girl young adult novella

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