23 Best Elephant Books for Kids

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November 2019

What better way to inspire early reading than books about elephants! Whether the little reader is a baby, toddler, pre-schooler, or kindergartener, elephant books offer engaging and fun reading experiences. Widely known as gentle giants, elephants are renowned for their nurturing nature and strong sense of familial binds. It’s no wonder there are so many great children’s books that focus on elephant characters and behavior.

Elephant books featuring an elephant character can be fun and educational. Since elephants are large, imposing animals, authors often like to use elephant imagery to demonstrate “large/small” concepts in board books. In addition, because of the many human-like elephant traits, including impressive memory capabilities and strong family structures, elephants are wonderfully empathetic characters in picture book stories involving teachable moments.

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mother and baby elephant at river

Following is a list of elephant books for kids that are appropriate for all age groupings.


It’s never too early to read to newborns and babies! There’s nothing more soothing than a parent, sibling, grandparent or caregiver reading to a small baby. Strong connections are born from voices that inflect love, compassion and humor that books provide. Best of all, babies routines may change and evolve or short periods of time, so there’s plenty of opportunities to read to your favorite little. Following are some ideal selections for the tiniest of readers:

1. If I were an Elephant . . .

An adorable board book that playfully illustrates all the things elephants like to do. The book features a blue fabric elephant tail attached to the book that’s sure to entertain babies! The interactive nature of the book inspires multiple readings of this book.

2. Little Elephant
Laura Rigo

A sweet board book that offers child-friendly portrayals of baby animals and their mothers, and uses simply language to show how mommy animals keep their babies out of trouble. You’ll have a hard time finding a more adorable illustration of a baby elephant than this book provides!

3. Welcome Little One
Sandra Magsamen

The perfect gift for anyone expecting a new baby! This enchanting board book beautifully and poignantly expresses the love that forms between parents and babies in a lovely rhyming text complete with lively illustrations.

4. Elmer’s Colors
David Mckee

Elmer the Elephant has a unique, bright-colored patchwork all over his body. His sweet and gentle nature offers the perfect voice to help the youngest readers to learn all about colors. Who could be a friendlier teacher than a colorful elephant!

5. Little Elephant Listens
Michael Dahl

Little Elephant uses his big ears to listen to his parents at playtime, bath time and bedtime. Gorgeously colored illustrations and short text make this board book a perfect read for children 6 months and up!


Reading to toddlers and helping them to begin to understand letters and words are the foundation of early reading skills. Establishing scheduled reading times, such as bedtime, naptime or even during long car or plane rides, provides parents, caregivers and children important one-on-one time to form loving bonds and early learning opportunities. Reading together also helps children develop a deep love of reading themselves – whether it’s enjoying the time spent together or simply enjoying a great story!

6. If Animals Kissed Good Night
Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker

A perfect bedtime read, a young girl wonders how animal families might say good night. From wolf pups that howl and baby bears that howl, the whimsical art and playful rhyming verse make this book an ideal book for snuggles before sleep time.

7. Always
Emma Dodd

A beautifully written and gorgeously illustrated book showing how one little elephant learns that a parent’s love is unconditional. This heartwarming message is a perfect addition to any family’s children’s library.

8. Where’s Ellie
Salina Yoon

Where’s Ellie is a hide-and-seek book that encourages readers to search for Ellie the elephant among familiar colorful objects. Each page offers a hint of the sweet Ellie, but it isn’t until the last page that the readers will find her. Young readers will never tire of finding her over and over again!

9. Oliver’s Tree
Kit Chase

When Oliver the elephant is challenged to play a game that all his friends are good at, friendships are tested. A wonderful story about how playtime with friends can also be a learning experience about how to respect everyone’s differences.

10. Ottie Elephant
Melissa Crowton

An interactive first storybook, Ottie Elephant allows readers to follow her on adventures all thorough town. Lift fun flaps to explore what’s in her basket and who’s behind a window shade. Readers have fun making faces in a mirrored page and even get to touch the soft felt of Ottie’s house.


Children truly develop a love of learning during their important preschool years. It’s important to reinforce those reading skills at home, whether it’s a bedtime ritual or simply a pre-designated reading time. Through reading together, parents and caregivers not only help children sound out words and model reading behavior (such as turning pages together), but value is placed on the reading experiences.

11. Elephants Cannot Dance!
Mo Willems

What happens when best friends are very different? Two lovable and funny characters — an optimistic and sometimes reckless pig and a cautious, pessimistic elephant – offer a great story for beginning readers. A great book that teaches about sharing, learning and friendship!

12. The Elephants and the Chocolate Cake
Balachander Vijayakumar and Janani Balachander

Every young early reader will respond to this sweet story of elephants in search of the biggest, chocolatiest cake to make a celebration perfect! A delightful story of friendship that guides children to develop problem-solving skills.

13. The Elephant Who Tried to Tiptoe
Andrew Newman

A bestselling book that follows the adventures of Ellie the Elephant as she falls in and out of love with herself. This lovely story reminds children to be their true self and love the body that they have.

14. Tilly & Tank
Jay Fleck

This exceptionally timely picture book sweetly shows how a blossoming friendship between an elephant and a tank can teach kids to make friends and not war. It’s never too early to help children understand that friends and friendships can come in many different shapes and forms!

15. Wish
Matthew Cordell

An elephant couple embark on a life together and wish for a baby of their own. After some thwarted plans and unexpected challenges, their deepest wish miraculously comes true! This uplifting story about the beginning of a family is perfect for parent/child reading time.


Kids independently reading books kicks into high gear once children enter Kindergarten. These young readers suddenly have independent access to an array of new reading materials. From the school library to a classroom’s book selections, children have ample opportunity and encouragement to expand their reading horizons. It continues to be important to compliment in-school reading with at-home book time. It’s also the perfect time to institute “Family Reading,” whether it be a designated time or day!

16. Ellie the Elephant Makes New Friends at School
Agnes Green and Viktoriia Mykhalevych

If your little one is nervous or anxious about going to school for the first time, this is the perfect book for you! Here’s a story to ensure your favorite little has a better understanding of everything associated with starting a new school – from meeting a new teacher and classmates to making new friends!

17. The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant
Jean Brunhoff

Perhaps one of the most classic elephant children’s books of all time, Babar is a classic story of literature’s most beloved elephant. First published in 1931, Babar the elephant embarks on an adventure after escaping to the city. Upon returning to the great forest, he is ultimately crowned King of the Elephants.

18. “Stand Back,” Said the Elephant, “I’m Going to Sneeze”
Patricia Thomas

A fun and whimsical book explaining the humor of an elephant’s giant sneeze. Monkeys, birds, fish, crocodiles, zebras and kangaroos alike have funny and irreverent reactions to an elephant’s sneeze! Parents and children alike will laugh out loud at the this fun and funny book.

19. Ranger Rick: I Wish I Was an Elephant
Jennifer Bove

The perfect read for kids that love elephants. Learn to read while also learning all the fascinating facts of these majestic animals. Could you talk like an elephant, sleep like an elephant, live in an elephant family? This fun books helps you find out!

20. Don’t Think About Purple Elephants
Susan Whelan

Sophie sometimes worries at bedtime. Her worries make her sad and she sometimes has trouble falling asleep. Her family tries to help, but it’s her mom that finds a perfect solution in the form of a purple elephant! A wonderful story to help kids find a way to ease their stress.

Audible Books

Another great choice to consider is audible books for kids. Audible books geared toward children are terrific for car rides or any stretches of time where kids might be bored and looking for interesting ways to engage. There are some wonderful elephant-focused selections available that bring these gentle giants to life in magical ways:

21. The One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate

Sophie sometimes worries at bedtime. Her worries make her sad and she sometimes has trouble falling asleep. Her family tries to help, but it’s her mom that finds a perfect solution in the form of a purple elephant! A wonderful story to help kids find a way to ease their stress.

22. All About Elephants
Karen Darlington

If your child loves elephants, this lively, fast-paced and informative books will be enchant them! The fantastic audio shares everything from describing their distinctive shape to their playful attitudes.

23. Liking Who I Am
Sylvia Yordanova

What better figure than an elephant to help teach children about feeling confident and at ease with their body and how they look. When a young elephant discovers that not everyone in the world is alike, he learns that everyone is given exactly what they need for survival. Listening to this book with a child offers good opportunities to discuss self-esteem and self-confidence!

How to Find Great Children’s Books

Lastly, if you’re looking for ways to get great books in your favorite little’s hands easily and more frequently, check out Elephant books, a children’s books subscription club that delivers brand new, hardcover, high quality books for kids to your front door every month. Beautifully packaged in Kraft paper and hand-tied orange grosgrain ribbon, each package also comes with fun and engaging reading tools.

If you love elephants and enjoyed this article about our favorite elephant books, check out our article about how to host the perfect elephant baby shower.

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