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Kim Tomsic

Friday, July 14, 2023

Awards and Classroom Resources for Elephants!


(Chronicle Children’s Books, May 18, 2021) ISBN: 978-1452127835

**Printable Classroom Activities & Resources Page

**Book a School Visit 

The amazing true story of a herd of elephants, the man who saved them, and the miracle of love that brought them home.

One day in 1999, Lawrence and Françoise learn that a herd of wild African elephants needs a new home. They welcome the elephants to their wildlife sanctuary in Zululand, South Africa—Thula Thula—with open arms. But the elephants are much less sure they want to stay. How will Lawrence prove to them that they are safe and loved? What follows is a gorgeously illustrated real-life story of a friendship . . . and the story of the miraculous way that love given freely will return—greater and more wonderful than it began.

Classroom Resources and Activities

Elephant Voices: How do elephants communicate with one another? What does the position of their trunks mean? Why do they flap their ears?  What is infrasound? Learn all this and more at “Communication between Elephants Voices and Sounds.” *Bonus, scroll to the bottom of their webpage and hear recordings of elephants! 

THE FIVE SENSES: Would you like to learn more about an elephant’s vision, hearing, or their keen sense of smell?  Check out more about elephant senses.

Warm Blooded vs. Cold Blooded Creatures: At this link, Sea World features a classroom activity for teachers and students to discuss warm blooded vs. cold blooded animals. Make sure you add elephants to the conversation!

Animal Spelling Bee: The Sea World website features another fun activity. You can host an  animal-centered spelling bee – just add “elephant” to the list. You’ll discuss words like “conservation”, “habitat”, and more. Consider adding “Zululand, South Africa” to the list, and discuss the difference between a continent and a country.

Meet the Elephants of Thula Thula (prounounced toola toola). Learn the names of the elephants that live on the wildlife sanctuary. Read about their conservation efforts or the history of the reserve. Perhaps you will decide to work together to save “Pennies for Protection” and adopt an elephant. 

 Video (7:12): See Lawrence Anthony call for the herd like you might call in a puppy from the yard. This seven-minute video titled “Lawrence Anthony's Rehabilitation of Elephants”, will be sure to delight you and your students. You will see all the stars of The Elephants Come Home.

Elephant Voices: This webpage takes a deep dive into identifying elephant behaviors, defining terms, and naming modes of communication.  

Awards & Critical Praise

Awarded the Norman A. Sugarman Honor in Children’s Biography

Winner!    Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award Primary Grade Winner

Winner!  Minnesota Comstock-Gág Book Award Winner

Finalist for Alabama Children’s Choice Camellia Award Finalist grades 2-3

Finalist for CYBILS Award

Finalist for the Kentucky Blue Grass Award

Finalist for the 2024 Connecticut Nutmeg Award

Finalist for the 2023-2024 California Young Readers Medal

Finalist for the 2023-2024 Iowa Goldfinch Award

Finalist for 2024 Illinois Bluestem Award grades 3-5

Finalist 2024 Utah The Beehive Award

Showcased at the Bologna Children’s Book Festival’s BRAW Amazing Bookshelf of “100 publishing gems” chosen from a selection of 2,200 books submitted by publishers from around the globe.

“The story’s flawless, gentle pacing illuminates the animals’ initial fear and the time, patience, and compassion it takes for attentive Lawrence to earn their trust…Hooper’s…shades of rich blue and soft rose heighten the story’s emotional impact.”—Horn Book Magazine

“In brief action-packed sentences, Tomsic informs readers of all the steps taken to bring [the elephants] back, with the text placed against Hooper’s beautifully realized illustrations of African animals and the vast, gorgeous landscape…with its focus on the elephants and the protagonists, this book is lovely, tender, and moving.”  —Kirkus Reviews

This touching true story portrays conservationist Lawrence Anthony’s relationship with a frightened, hunted herd that found a home at his reserve in South Africa, Thula Thula..The importance of conservation shines through the friendship story here, and both themes are beautifully complemented by Hooper’s detailed, atmospheric drawings of the elephants and their surroundings.”—Booklist

 “The illustrations are expansive with a limited color palette of warm oranges and cool greens and blues. The animal characters are dynamic, humorous, and emotive…A sentimental but high-­interest story based on true events of the bond between wild animals and the humans who care for them.”         —School Library Journal

Where to Find:

Your local library. If they don't have a copy available, please request that they carry!

Available at

The Wandering Jellyfish: Click Here

Changing Hands Bookstore: Click Here

Barnes and Noble: Click Here

Indiebound (or to check your local bookstore): Click Here

Red Balloon Bookshop: Click Here

Amazon: Click Here

Or simply ask your local bookseller!

*Printable Resource Page: CLASSROOM RESOURCES
 available here.  

**Book an in-person or virtual  School Visit!

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