Elephants in Indian Children’s Books
We love literary elephants and luckily for us, Indian children’s books are full of them! Here’s our round-up of all kinds of elephants – gentle ones, funny ones, strong ones, and friendly ones; sleepy ones, colourful ones, lost ones, and imaginary ones; elephants who like to pretend to be other things as well as elephants you have to bring to life yourself.
Picture Books Featuring Elephants
1) Aana and Chena by author Sowmya Rajendran
Aana the elephant doesn’t like his looks, but Chena the yam says he’s beautiful. How? asks Aana. Endearing conversation and pictures that say, be yourself!
2) A Jungle Safari by author Geeta Dharmarajan
Are you a lover of the wild and myriad mysteries of the jungle? Are you thrilled by its smells and sounds? Do you long to trek through the meandering jungle paths and lush greens? Join us for an elephant safari, and let Bharma take us through the deep, silent forests of Mudumalai in the Nilgiris for an unforgettable experience!
3) Elephant In My Backyard by author Shobha Viswanath
Maya’s family refuses to believe that she has an elephant in her backyard. But the elephant is not hers and he needs to return home!
4) A Pair Of Twins by author Kavitha Mandana
Lakshmi and Sundari are an unusual pair of twins with an unusual connection. But not everyone knows how special they are until they’re both called upon to save the day.
5) Boodabim by author Alankrita Jain
Boodabim floats in the sky, swims in the ocean and simply glows in stripes! Is Boodabim a cloud? A fish? Or a tiger? Boodabim can be anything he wants to be!
6) Elephants Never Forget by author Anushka Ravishankar
A baby elephant is lost and alone in the forest, when a herd of buffaloes comes along and takes him into its fold. What is he now: an elephant or a buffalo? A joyful tale — illustrated in a bold woodcut style — that touches lightly on the themes of loss, adoption and integration.
Small noses catch small colds. Big noses catch big colds. Poor Gajapati Kulapati had a big nose and he caught a big cold … (We also love the other two books in the series Kalabalooosh! and Gurrburrrrooom!)
8) How To Weigh An Elephant by author Geeta Dharmarajan
Where has everybody gone? Oh! They are busy finding out the weight of King’s favourite elephant! Wondering how this will be done? Join Leelavati as she solves this math mystery for you!
9) I Am Aan by athor Meenakshi Bharadwaj
A heart-warming story of Aan as he embarks on his journey from the magical world of childhood to the tough adult one. Punctuated with facts on elephants, Aan’s exciting voyage of self-discovery will sure make him great friends with young readers.
10) I’m So Sleepy by author Radhika Chadha
Bahadur, the little elephant has forgotten how to sleep. Worried, and very, very sleepy he goes to his animal friends for help. But they all sleep in their own different ways — elephants don’t sleep like that! What should Bahadur do?
11) Lai-Lai The Baby Elephant by author Shekar Dattatri
Little Lai-Lai is curious but stays close to his mother. The world of wild elephants is explored through stunning photographs and informative text, with lovable elephant cartoons.
12) Magnificent Makhna by author Arvind Krish Bala
A majestic elephant protects the forests from timber traders, tree-cutters and poachers. The animal becomes such a legend, that his photograph is a regular display piece on the walls of their homes. But one day, the Forest Department receives strict orders to hunt the elephant down… After the gripping Black Panther, Aravind Krish Bala returns to the Western Ghats with a riveting story inspired by true events highlighting the complex cause of conservation, drawing the reader’s attention to realities that need to be faced without taking sides
13) Ranganna by author Aarti Anand Navaneeth
Ranganna the little elephant lives near a dhobi ghat. He is captivated by the brightly coloured nails of his friends and wants to paint his toes too! But whoever heard of an elephant wearing nail polish?!
14) Razia And Her Pink Elephant by author Mukul Dube
Explore the terrain of India through the tales of Razia, her pink elephant, and other animals who come to life in this colourful and alluring tale about everyday life in urban India.
15) The Elephant In The Room by author Sam Wilson
Lindi finds a very large elephant in her room. But is it really there if no one else believes in it?
16) The Elephant In The Tree by author Mallika Nagarajan
With its quirky characters, unusual use of language and skilful blending of fantasy and reality, this is a lovely story of Mahi who finds a seven-trunked elephant in the tree and journeys with him to a new world that will change her life forever.
17) The Elephants Who Liked To Dance by Munda Writer’s Group
When Bapi played the dhol, everyone felt like dancing. When the elephants heard the dhol a strange and wonderful thing happened…
18) What Shape Is An Elephant? by author/poet Rumi
What shape is an elephant? Is it round or crooked? Is it straight or is it curved? These are questions that go much deeper than they appear. Katha introduces Rumi, the great spiritual poet of Iran, to children for the first time in India.
19) 8 Ways To Draw An Elephant by author Paula Ferrarrotti
This unusual art activity book featuring the Indian elephant introduces children to a variety of Indian art traditions. Through tracing, patterning and colouring the elephants, children learn to explore each of the 8 distinctive styles in the book – or just have fun. Children also get to experience and understand how art is as much about the imagination as it is about depiction. The book comes with clear and valuable information on Indian art traditions.
20) Aditi And The One-Eyed Monkey by author Suniti Namjoshi
An enchanting modern fairytale involving an unlikely foursome. A monkey sets out to explore the world, joined by a curious ant and an elephant trying hard to be aggressive. They come across a princess with a mission and rally around to help her. Armed with a cloak of invisibility, a sword of courage and a ball of magic clay, the friends journey to the den of a fierce dragon who must be tamed. Poor dragon!