Beautiful Books about Elephants

For those who love reading and love elephants – as all the best people do – then the following books might just be the sort of stories you’ll enjoy!

  • Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo – a story of a beautiful bond between a boy and his elephant. While on holiday with his mother, a young boy named Will is saved from a Tsunami by an elephant named Oona. The book follows Will and Oona’s journey of survival through the Indonesian jungle, as they turn to each other for comfort, friendship, and safety. After the death of his father, and now the loss of his mother, Oona is all that Will has now. The bond they form is heart-warming and beautiful to read. The idea for this book came from the story of Amber Owen, who was saved by a tsunami in Thailand in 2004 by an elephant she was riding. This truly remarkable tale inspired a remarkable book.


  • Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen – this novel follows Jacob Jankowski, an old man in his nineties, as he reminisces about his life and the experiences he had when he was younger as a member of a travelling circus. The story centres around themes of love, conflict, and animal rights. Jacob was tasked with the job of training an elephant named Rosie to perform in the circus arena. Upon seeing the harsh and cruel ways Rosie is treated by August – a fellow animal trainer – Jacob speaks up. Yet matters get more complicated when he falls in love with the circus’s best and most beautiful performer Marlena – who also happens to be August’s wife.


  • An elephant called slowly by Ernest Dudley – based of the 1969 film ‘an elephant called slowly’ where a couple travel out to Kenya to look after their friend’s house, only to befriend three elephants during their time there. This story is wholesome and beautiful to read (and to watch!)



  • The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter by Julia Drosten – this powerful historical novel written by Julia Drosten is about the life of a woman named Phea, who is the daughter of the King’s elephant keeper. Her parents must raise her as a boy to ensure that she too – like her family before her – can become the Kings elephant keeper, since this role is reserved for men only. As she develops and grows up, she bonds with her elephant Siddhi. She becomes independent and strong, yet with this she is torn between her wish for freedom and autonomy over her own life and the expectations of her family placed upon her.


  • The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan – Set in India, the central protagonist of the novel is Inspector Ashwin Chopra, who, on the day he retires, receives two mysteries. One of the mysteries is a suspicious case about a boy who has drowned, and the other (perhaps the best surprise mystery to receive) is a baby elephant! The little elephant is named Ganesha by the inspector’s wife and accompanies him around the city while he investigates the death of the drowned boy. Think Agatha Christie vibes but with a baby elephant as the inspector’s sidekick.

Photo by Mylon Ollila on Unsplash

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