As an educator and mother, I know it's a fact that children love animals! Animal characters, in both fiction and nonfiction, are endearing and engaging! From the immense popularity of Barbar the Elephant in the 1930s to the current beloved Elephant and Piggy series, the Elephant is a clear animal favorite.
These intuitive creatures have inspired decades of academic and social learning for children around the world! Discover my top 25 favorite elephant-themed children's fiction and nonfiction books that are sure to engage, enthrall, and educate your children!
Fiction Elephant Books for Kids
1. A Paradise of Elephants
Marching elephants all around, read this book to see what they found! Children can develop word recognition, counting, direction, size, and more with the colorful elephant marching adventures found in Kevin Henkes's A Parade of Elephants. Henkes is a best-selling author, and it is easy to see why with this aesthetically pleasing and engaging book.
2. Waiting Is Not Easy!
GROAN! Don't wait for this favorite elephant book! It's an Elephant and Piggy favorite by Mo Willems, Waiting is not Easy. In this book, Gerald the Elephant and his best friend, Piggy, teach an important lesson about waiting in a relatable and captivating way! This humorous and heartfelt pair is a wonderful way to introduce and guide discussions that help children build executive functioning in your children!
3. Strictly No Elephants
Get ready for an elephant-sized friendship with this next book on my list, a book written by Lisa Mantchev and delightfully illustrated by Taeeum Yoo called Strictly No Elephants. A young boy with a tiny pet elephant finds himself unwelcome at the pet club, but this flexible thinker doesn't let it get him down, instead, he makes a whole new group of friends with their own unique pets to create a club where everyone is allowed. Witty lines about the values of friendship are spread throughout this charming text.
4. Elmer's Colors
This book is a patchwork of fun! It's Elmer's Colors by David McKee. Elmer is a patchwork elephant with a rainbow of colors unlike the other elephants, so who better to teach young friends about colors! This is one of the best books for kids; it is an adorable and unique approach to teaching colors that everyone will enjoy!
5. Elmer: The Patchwork Elephant
Elmer sticks around at number five! When you are the only patchwork elephant, you have much more than just colors to teach! Make sure to read David McKee's original, Elmer: The Patchwork Elephant, to teach kids about accepting and celebrating their unique individuality!
6. Don't Think About Purple Elephants
Don't think, just read this great book to calm down your mind. One of my favorite books to help children who have imposing feelings of worry or anxiety is Don't Think About Purple Elephants by Susan Whelan. Though it isn't directly about elephants, this is an excellent book that teaches a creative distraction skill for worry using an adorable animal in the title!
7. Horton Hears A Who!
Can't you hear it! No list of Elephant books is complete without the classic story, Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess. A persistent story about how some tiny people are saved and befriended by one of the largest land animals, a compassionate elephant!
8. When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles
Sniff! Sniff! Oh no! This empathetic and humorous elephant book is just what the doctor ordered. Susanna Leonard Hill's When your Elephant has the Sniffles teaches kids about restful ways to get over the sniffles using a very playful pet elephant character!
As friends band together to save their zoo in this heartwarming tale, the baby elephant, Ellie, finds her unique gifts can make a big difference. It's Mike Wu's Ellie. Use this sweet story to encourage kids of all ages.
10. Babar and His Children
Jean De Brunhoff's Babar The Elephant series has spoken to so many over so many years, but my favorite in the series is after dear Babar is crowned king of the elephants and has a family of his own, Babar and his Children. This sweet story speaks to the challenges and joys of parenting!
11. Dumbo The Flying Elephant
It's off to the circus we now go to share another classic elephant children's story, Dumbo the Flying Elephant by Walt Disney. This beautiful adventure full of expressive elephants, an animal trainer, and many kinds of animal families teaches life-long lessons on bullying, trust, confidence, and more. It will be as big a hit in the original storybook format as was on the big screen.
Tap into your noodle by reading one of my favorite elephant stories, Noodlephant by Jacob Kramer. A noodle-loving elephant citizen and her animal friends band together to change the system! This hilarious tale develops an understanding of the process of social change!
13. Ottie Elephant in the Town
Teach young curious toddlers with the cutest story-book elephant, Ottie! Ottie Elephant in the Town by Melissa Crowton is one of my favorite elephant picture books for pre-reading ages!
14. An Elephant in the Garden
A truly heartening piece of literature is An Elephant in the Garden by Micheal Morpurgo. This enchanting tale with detailed illustrations was inspired by a variety of true stories and creates a beautiful narrative from which so many lessons can be learned.
15. Kindness Rules
In Kindness Rules by Eunice and Sabrina Moyles, children learn the etiquette of manners. This funny little book is sure to please many young animal lovers.
16. The Elephants' Guide to Hide-and-Seek
An ingenious little book that packs a ton of elephant fun is The Elephants' Guide to Hide-and-Seek by Kjeresten Hayes. This nifty little guide is too much fun, teaching elephant friends how to become the masters of hide-and-seek!
Nonfiction Elephant Books for Kids
17. Hello, Elephant!
A vibrant and engaging book for very young children is one with a lot of interesting ways to explore facts like Hello, Elephant! This book by Sam Boughton is colorful with fun flaps to explore your favorite animal friends!
18. The Truth about Elephants: Seriously Funny Facts about your Favorite Animals
Funny factoids are an excellent way to engage children in nonfiction reading child reading time! Look no further than this comical take on an informative text, The Truth about Elephants: Seriously Funny Facts about your Favorite Animals by Maxwell Eaton III.
19. Hope for the Elephants
It's the diary of an elephant kid in Hope for the Elephants by Patricia Murphy. Your heart is sure to be captivated when you read about the Elephant angels, David, and his grandmother, as they learn about and help to protect African elephants.
20. A Passion for Elephants
Don't be afraid of big things! Help children learn to build on their own big passions by exploring the story of Cynthia Moss, a field scientist, who fights to save our huge, intelligent elephant pals! A Passion for Elephants by Toni Buzzeo is the perfect educational book about the dangers animals face in the wild as well as how to make a difference in their world through harnessing your passions!
21. National Geographic Kids Readers: Elephants
Learn the facts with this easy nonfiction book about elephants, National Geographic Kids Readers: Elephants by Avery Hurt. This level 1 reader can help you wander through the world of elephants with your early reader! It is an informative, interesting, and readable text, an excellent source for kids! Elephants can be found here.
22. National Geographic book, National Geographic Kids Readers: Great Migrations Elephants
Sticking to the facts! Let's check off another intriguing National Geographic book, National Geographic Kids Readers: Great Migrations Elephants by Laura Marsh. Trek through the desert with your kids in this level three reader!
23. Mission Elephant Rescue: All About Elephants and How to Save Them
The facts continue to advance with my third favorite of National Geographic Readers, Mission Elephant Rescue: All About Elephants and How to Save Them by Ashlee Brown Blewett. By buying our own copy of this book, you can help contribute to saving our Elephant friends since part of the book sale proceeds go to wildlife protection!
24. The Elephant
Walk on your tiptoes over to number twenty-four on my list, because the interesting elephant facts found in Jenni Desmond's The Elephant are superb! Accompanying the illuminating information in this text are some gorgeous illustrations by this award-winning author!
25. Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants
You will be so glad that Elephants never forget when you read this wonderful true story about how an elephant herd used their amazing memory to survive a natural disaster. Check out this book about some of the most amazing animals on earth in Sandra Markle's Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants.