Singing with Elephants

Viking. May 2022. 224p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593206690.
Gr 3-7–Both engaging and heartrending, this is a beautifully told story of fifth grader Oriol who lives with her older sister, Cat, and her parents, who are veterinarians. The family emigrated from Cuba to California in order to help Grandma find better treatment for her diabetes—alas, there was nothing to be done, and she passed away. Now lonelier than ever, Oriol, along with her pet wolfhound and miniature goat, seeks solace from a neighbor who happens to be a famous poet. Inspired, Oriol begins to write as well, learning a lot from the Nobel Prize in Literature winner. Much to her dismay, a Hollywood actor, who owns an elephant and her twin calves that Oriol’s parents are caring for, decides he is going to separate one of the babies and raise it as if it were an orphan in hopes of forcing it to “talk.” Oriol must use her newfound writing ability and courage to rally support for reunifying the family of elephants. Sure she can feel the pain of the mother elephant through the singing and humming sounds she makes, Oriol knows she must act fast. Written in poetic verse, this is a book that readers won’t want to put down until the last page.
VERDICT A strong purchase for all libraries. Compassion and love abound in a tale of animal activism and personal growth.

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