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25 BEST Books About Elephants For Every Reader!

Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Louisa

Everyone loves an elephant. They’re these great, majestic animals with big ears and and stocky feet.

They’re the only animals to have trunks and their uniqueness has made them a favorite animal to many around the world.

Whether you’re an adult or looking for something for your child, these are the best books about elephants of all time. We’ve got fictional tales, sensory books, non-fiction books, biographies and more.

If you want some elephant books for your bookshelf, then you’ve come to the right place. Go take a look!

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

Books About Elephants for Kids!

Let’s begin with the little ones. If you have a child who loves elephants, then they will love these elephant books for kids.

1. An Elephant and Piggie Biggie – Mo Willems

An Elephant and Piggie Biggie is a series of five elephant books for kids written for early readers.

Whether you’re reading aloud to your toddler, or your child is just learning to read, the adventures of Elephant and Piggie Biggie are the perfect first time reads.

The illustrations are just stunning, with bright colors to maintain your child’s interest. Each page offers short and simple sentences, which helps your child to feel accomplished after reading each page.

This is definitely my favorite early readers book for kids.

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2. The Saggy Baggy Elephant – K. Jackson

Another gorgeously illustrated elephant book for kids is The Saggy Baggy Elephant.

The story follows a young elephant named Sooki, who isn’t too sure of himself after a parrot laughed at his big ears, long nose, and wrinkled skin.

One day he meets some other creatures just like him, and he learns to celebrate his differences as something unique and beautiful.

This is a treasured elephant book that has been teaching children the importance of recognizing and accepting diversity for more than 50 years.

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3. The Story of Babar – Jean De Brunhoff

Babar is a classic elephant book about a young elephant who lost his mother to poachers.

Babar escapes capture by fleeing to the city, where he meets a kind Old Lady.

When Babar finally makes it back to the forest, he is crowned King of the Elephants.

The story is somewhat similar to the Lion King, but this novel was originally published in 1931, long before the Lion King came out.

The story still features the original illustrations from Jean de Brunhoff. It is a story that has enchanted generations of young children.

4. Horton Hears a Who – Dr Seuss

One of the greatest and most acclaimed children’s novelists of all time is Dr Seuss.

In Horton Hears a Who, children learn about acts of kindness with Horton the elephant and the iconic cast of Whos from Who-ville.

Set in the colorful Jungle of Nool, Horton discovers a tiny speck of dust that contains an entire miniature world. The world is calledWho-ville and has everything from houses, to grocery stores, to a mayor!

But when the Whos of Who-ville need someone to fight for them, Horton and his elephant-sized heart save the day.

The moral of the story is that no matter how big or small a person is, you have the power to make a difference if you speak out for what’s right. It’s a tale of compassion and determination.

5. Five Minute’s Peace – Jill Murphy

Have you ever felt like you can’t get 5 minutes peace? Well, that’s certainly the case for mommy elephant in this story.

No matter what she does or where she goes, she just can’t get a moment’s peace with her energetic young elephants.

This is the perfect short story to read to your little one before a nap or on a rainy day.

Related post: Books About Rain for Toddlers

6. Strictly No Elephants – Lisa Mantchev

Strictly No Elephants is an internationally bestselling elephant picture book, and the local Pet Club won’t let a boy and his tiny pet elephant join.

The pet club simply doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, but this sweet boy and his elephant don’t want to miss Pet Club Day.

It’s up to the boy and his tiny elephant to show the club what it means to be a good friend. It is a story about inclusion, told in an imaginative and lyrical way.

7. Elmer the Patchwork Elephant – David McKee

Elmer is a patchwork elephant, which makes him different from all the other elephants. Elmer’s personality is just as colorful as his skin, and he loves to make jokes and play pranks on the other elephants.

When one day he discovers other animals and they laugh at him for being different, he colors himself in grapes to turn him gray.

Now Elmer is disguised as a normal elephant. But it doesn’t last long. Elmer learns that being yourself and letting your true colors shine, means finding more friends and acceptance with others.

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8. The Elephant’s Girl – Celesta Rimington

They say an elephant never forgets, but the same can be said about people who meet them.

Lexington Willow was swept away by a tornado as a toddler and landed in Nebraska zoo, where she was protected by the storm by an elephant named Nyah.

With no sign of her family, Lex was raised in the zoo by her foster father and best friend.

Many years later and Lex receives a telepathic image from Nyah of the woods outside the zoo.

Lex is then sent on an adventure of the past, finding lost treasure and even her long-lost family.

9. The Magician’s Elephant – Kate DiCamillo

The Magician’s Elephant is a heartwarming book about elephants from the Newbery Medal-winning author, Kate DiCamillo.

It tells the story of a fortune-teller whose tent appears in the market square of Baltese. An orphan, Peter Augustus Duchene, wants to ask him if his sister is still alive.

The fortuneteller’s answer is that an elephant will lead him to her. And so begins a remarkable chain of events of one boy’s undeniable strength and courage.

The illustrations were created by Yoko Tanaka, which makes the dreamlike story come to life.

10. The Ant and the Elephant – Bill Peet

Who is the kindest and most brave animal in the jungle? The elephant of course.

When a tiny ant is in trouble, he calls for a turtles, a hornbill, and a rhino to help him, but it was the elephant who came to the rescue.

This is a loveable children’s book about elephants that will make bedtime reading fun for generations to come.

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Read more: Books about zebras!

11. But No Elephants – Jerry Smath

Grandma Tildy was all alone until a salesman came by to sell her a pet.

She welcomed a canary as a pet, but made is strictly clear she wanted no elephants!

Only when her pet arrived, it wasn’t a canary…

This is a heartwarming and funny children’s book about elephants that will delight every member of your family.

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Read more: Books about giraffes for kids!

Non-Fiction Books About Elephants

If you want to learn about elephants, then you’ll love these enticing and eye-opening non-fiction books about elephants!

12. Elephant Dawn – Sharon Pincott

Elephant Dawn is the story of a high-flying executive, Sharon Pincott, who traded in her life to start a new one with the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe.

Unpaid, untrained, and full of starry-eyed idealism, she spent thirteen years in the Hwange bush fighting for the lives of elephants.

In the early 2000s, it was a volatile time for Zimbabwe. Now far away from Robert Mugabe’s rule, she writes about her years without boundaries, telling of heartbreak, love and loss, and the face of adversity.

It is a celebration of love and honor, and one woman’s courage to help these friendly African giants.

13. The Elephant Whisperer – Lawrence Anthony 

Lawrence Anthony had spent his whole life dedicated to animal conservation. When he was asked to accept a herd of wild elephants onto his game reserve in Thula Thula, Zululand.

His mind said no, but his heart said yes, as he knew it was their last chance of survival.

Over the years they became part of a family. As he started to bond with the elephants, he learned a great deal about life, loyalty, and freedom from them.

The Elephant Whisperer is an honest, warm, exciting, funny, and even a little sad memoir of Anthony’s time with these huge creatures.

14. Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived – Ralph Helfer 

Another captivating true story about elephants is Modoc. It tells the story of a boy and an elephant who were raised together in a circus town in Germany.

The pair formed a bond that would last a lifetime and a bond that would be tested again and again.

They survived a near-fatal shipwreck, became an apprenticeship to the legendary Mahout trainers in the Indian teak forests, and finally went on to circus stardom in New York City in the 1940s.

This is a captivating story of loyalty, friendship, and adventure that goes on for several decades and over three continents.

15. An Elephant in the Garden: Inspired by a True Story – Michael Morpurgo

An Elephant in the Garden is another true story about an elephant. It follows Lizzie and Karl’s mother who is a zoo keeper.

The family became attached to an orphaned elephant who they named Marlene. But with a war approaching, the zoo want to destroy Marlene as a precaution so that the other animals don’t run away if the zoo is hit.

The family persuades the director to let Marlene stay in their garden. But when the city is attacked by bombs, the family must flee the city. How are they able to do this with an elephant?

Read more: Books about Sea Turtles

16. Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II – Vicki Croke

James Howard “Billy” Williams, or Elephant Bill for short, went from being a carefree man to a war hero because of his rapport with elephants.

Set in 1920, the story follows Billy Williams after he is hired as a “forest man” for a British teak company in Burma. He was mesmerized by the great elephants who were used to haul logs through the jungle.

Soon, he became a talented “elephant wallah.” In this story, Vicki Constantine Croke writes about his growing love for elephants and how when the Japanese forces invaded in 1942, William and his elephant allied with the British.

William and his elephants carried supplies, built bridges, and transported the sick over treacherous terrain.

When at last he is cornered by the enemy, he and his elephant try to escape.

This is a story of courage and bravery.

17. Elephants: Birth, Life, and Death in the World of the Giants – Hannah Mumby

Conservation scientist Dr Hannah Mumby has always loved elephants. When she saw her first wild elephant at the age of 24, she since devoted herself to the study of these animals.

Her mission is to educate humanity about them. Her fieldwork has taken her across the world, where she has studied many elephants.

Mumby believes that elephants have so much to teach humanity, which is explained in her novel Elephants: Birth, Life and Death in the World of Giants.

The novel explains how elephants communicate, how they connect memory and trauma, and how they interact with others.

This novel makes it clear that elephants are not so different from us.

18. An Elephant in My Kitchen: What the Herd Taught Me About Love, Courage and Survival – Françoise Malby-Anthony and Katja Willemsen

Another non-fiction book about books is from a woman named Françoise, who became responsible for a herd of elephants that had a troubled past.

When she fell in love with a South African conservationist, they founded a game reserve together. When her husband died, she had no choice but to run the Thula Thula game reserve without him.

Every day, poachers tried to attack their rhinos, and their security team wouldn’t listen to a woman in charge.

To make matters worse, the authorities were threatening to cull their elephant family. Not to mention the head of the herd, Frankie, didn’t like her.

This memoir details how Françoise fought to protect the herd and make her wildlife rescue center a reality.

Elephant Books for Adults

Now on to the adults! If elephants are your favorite animal, then you’ll love these exciting books about elephants for adults.

19. The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter – Julia Drosten

Set in Ceylon, Sri Lanka in 1803. Within the royal city of Kandy, the elephant’s keeper has a daughter. This esteemed position is usually only reserved for males, so to ensure the line of succession, Phera is raised as a boy.

As she forms a bond with her elephant, Siddhi, she also becomes a confident, fiercely independent woman.

When British colonists take over, she finally has her chance to live her true identity. But when the conquerors become violent, she must do more than fight for her identity, bt her freedom.

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20. The Architect’s Apprentice – Elif Shafak

Set in 16th century Istanbul, the Architect’s Apprentice is a heartwarming story about one boys love and desire to rise in the ranks.

When a young stowaway boy arrives in the city with an extraordinary gift for the Sultan, he finds he is completely alone, except for the rare white elephant that came with him, Chota.

He begins as the elephant’s keeper, before rising the ranks in the Sultan’s court to become the architect’s apprentice.

The position sends him on an adventure, with Chota as his ride. When a chance encounter is set to change his fortune forever.

21. White Bone – Ridley Pearson

White Bone is the story of ex-military contractor John Knox and his partner Grace Chu, who have been assigned to find out how one million euros worth of AIDS vaccines have gone missing, while evading angry poachers.
In Kenya, corruption isn’t a “problem” but a way of doing business. The business of ivory poaching, driven by demand from China, has been the cause of bloodshed for many years.

Knox is up against police, rangers, journalists, and safari companies who care for the elephants.

But has the Al-Shaabab militants interfere with their pursuit, Knox finds himself up against some of the most dangerous fighters in the world

22. Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

Jenna Metcalf has been thinking about her mother, Alice, for more than a decade. She mysteriously disappeared after a tragic accident, and Jenna refuses to believe she had been abandoned.

As she searches online and skims through pages of her old journals, she learns about grief from her mothers observations of elephants.

Alice was researching elephants, and Jenna hopes the journal entries will give her hints as to her whereabouts.

With the help of a psychic, Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, a private detective, the three work together to find her.

But as you ask hard questions, you can expect even harder answers.

23. The One and Only Ivan – Katherine Applegate

This is the first novel in a three-part series by the renowned author Katherine Applegate. It is a story of friendship, inspired by a true story about a captive gorilla called Ivan. The story is told from the POV of the gorilla.

Ivan the gorilla had spent twenty-seven years behind a wall of glass at his shopping mall enclosure. He is so used to humans, he hardly thinks of the jungle.

Ivan spends his days watching TV, painting, and playing with his friends Stella and Bob. When Ruby, a baby elephant, is taken from the wild, he finally learns what his real home looks like.

This is a heartwarming story with hints of humor and is full of poignancy.

24. Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants is a story about Jacob Janowski who’s luck had run out. He is left orphaned and broke with no direction. One day he’s on a rickety train that belonged to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

He meets a veterinary student who was put in charge of caring for the circus animals.

It was during the time of the Great Depression the circus was both a salvation and living hell.

He met many characters in the circus, including the untrainable elephant Rosie, who was the great hope for the traveling show.

Soon the bond between James and Rosie grew, and the misfits learned to love one another. In the end, they are each other’s only hope for survival.

25. The Elephant Vanishes – Haruki Murakami

The novel The Elephant Vanishes, is a series of imaginative tales by Haruki Murakami.

In each story, a man sees his favorite elephant vanish. One story follows a a young woman who discovers she has become irresistible to a little green monster.

Another story is of newly weds who are hauled up in McDonald’s with attacks of hunger.

Each story is both haunting and hilarious, and crosses boundaries of fantasy and bent reality.

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Books About Elephants

Final Word On Books About Elephants

So there you have it, our top 25 books about elephants for every reader! Whether you’re an adult looking for books about your favorite animal or you’re looking for something fun and exciting for kids, there’s an elephant book for everyone on this list.

Do you think we’ve missed anything? Let us know in the comments!

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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