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The Elephant Girl

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James Patterson and award-winning author Ellen Banda-Aaku deliver an unforgettable story of a girl, an elephant, and their life-changing friendship.    Clever, sensitive Jama likes elephants better than people. While her classmates gossip—especially about the new boy, Leku—twelve-year-old Jama takes refuge at the watering hole outside her village. There she befriends a baby James Patterson and award-winning author Ellen Banda-Aaku deliver an unforgettable story of a girl, an elephant, and their life-changing friendship.    Clever, sensitive Jama likes elephants better than people. While her classmates gossip—especially about the new boy, Leku—twelve-year-old Jama takes refuge at the watering hole outside her village. There she befriends a baby elephant she names Mbegu, Swahili for seed.    When Mbegu’s mother, frightened by poachers, stampedes, Jama and Mgebu are blamed for two deaths—one elephant and one human. Now Leku, whose mysterious and imposing father is head ranger at the conservancy, may be their only lifeline.       Inspired by true events, The Elephant Girl is a moving exploration of the bonds between creatures and the power of belonging.    


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James Patterson and award-winning author Ellen Banda-Aaku deliver an unforgettable story of a girl, an elephant, and their life-changing friendship.    Clever, sensitive Jama likes elephants better than people. While her classmates gossip—especially about the new boy, Leku—twelve-year-old Jama takes refuge at the watering hole outside her village. There she befriends a baby James Patterson and award-winning author Ellen Banda-Aaku deliver an unforgettable story of a girl, an elephant, and their life-changing friendship.    Clever, sensitive Jama likes elephants better than people. While her classmates gossip—especially about the new boy, Leku—twelve-year-old Jama takes refuge at the watering hole outside her village. There she befriends a baby elephant she names Mbegu, Swahili for seed.    When Mbegu’s mother, frightened by poachers, stampedes, Jama and Mgebu are blamed for two deaths—one elephant and one human. Now Leku, whose mysterious and imposing father is head ranger at the conservancy, may be their only lifeline.       Inspired by true events, The Elephant Girl is a moving exploration of the bonds between creatures and the power of belonging.    

30 review for The Elephant Girl

  1. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    What an amazing YA book that is beautifully written to show not only another culture but a heartwarming story of elephants. It was well written where any reader would be able to connect with the main character. It will leave the reader with tears in your eyes. Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced digital copy for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Donna Lewis

    Marvelous book about a young Masai girl who loves animals more than people. She follows a young elephant from birth into adulthood. She deals with several tragedies and matures into an intelligent caring adult. A heartbreaking and heartwarming coming-of-age book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tonja Drecker

    The love for elephants mixes with natural scenes and the determination of a young girl to draw in with heart and a tad bit of tension. Twelve-year-old Jama has bigger dreams than the rest of the people in her village...not that she knows exactly what they are. No one except her family members seems to understand her. Her happy spot is watching the elephants at the watering hole, and after time, they seem to like her, too. When she runs across some dark secrets about the local head ranger of the c The love for elephants mixes with natural scenes and the determination of a young girl to draw in with heart and a tad bit of tension. Twelve-year-old Jama has bigger dreams than the rest of the people in her village...not that she knows exactly what they are. No one except her family members seems to understand her. Her happy spot is watching the elephants at the watering hole, and after time, they seem to like her, too. When she runs across some dark secrets about the local head ranger of the conservancy, she's not sure what to do, but even that turns into a small problem when her own mother is trampled to death by the creatures she most loves, and the village declares revenge. Except for the end, can I just say I really enjoyed this read? I'm not usually a fan of more serious, dramatic tales with obvious messages, but this one grabbed in the first pages and held me the entire way through. More surprising, it wasn't so much the action (yep, I'm an action girl at heart) but Jama as a character. It's rare that a character drives me through a read and even rarer that I want to now incorporate this one into the reading list for my homeschooled daughter. (I think this is, actually, a first). This tale flows naturally and introduces Jama with familiarity as it peeks at life in an African village. The town barely has electricity, the villagers are in their own worlds, and it should feel exotic...but it with all of this, there's still enough sense of 'usual' that readers can sink right in. Details and scenes introduce a little of the daily life while keeping it more as a background setting. Because it's Jama and her desire to discover herself, which takes the stage. Even her connection with the elephants isn't over-the-top but gentle and realistic, making it easy to connect to and understand. There's quite a bit of drama going on around Jama and not the cliche bullying a reader might suspect. She does have some problems with her peers, but this flashes by just enough to make the reader understand letting the entire atmosphere of the village, elders, and life filter in. Her supportive family and her independence make sure the bullying doesn't over-power the main journey of self-discovery. Plus, despite her inability to conform, it's not even a state she pursues. Yet, she's not confident as insecurity and hesitation make her likable and easy to root for. It's a refreshing and healthy mix. Something is always happening, creating a very nice pacing most of the way through. While there are tense scenes, these never hit a level, which is too much even for the more sensitive end of the age group. I did find that it could have been more, actually. There's a death, which didn't seem as important to Jama as it should have, and the ending promised tension, which never came, as if glazed over. But then, as said above, the entire ending felt dumped in quickly as if to simply round things off. And yet, I still found this read, in general, very good and will close my eyes for the last bit. I do recommend this one highly (obviously) and am glad I took the journey with Jama. I received an ARC and definitely enjoyed the read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    This book written by James Patterson and Ellen Banda-Aaku was a great read. I always enjoy Patterson's books and I enjoy getting to ready other author's that he brings on board to aid in writing great reads with him. This book is unlike any others by Patterson that I have read and I know that it will be fitting for readers of all ages. I read this one in no time and was sad when it was over. Jama is a young girl living in a village with her people. When her father gets a bad infection and can't This book written by James Patterson and Ellen Banda-Aaku was a great read. I always enjoy Patterson's books and I enjoy getting to ready other author's that he brings on board to aid in writing great reads with him. This book is unlike any others by Patterson that I have read and I know that it will be fitting for readers of all ages. I read this one in no time and was sad when it was over. Jama is a young girl living in a village with her people. When her father gets a bad infection and can't fight it off, he ends up dying so it is just Jama and her mother left to tend to the sandal store that her father used to run. The village people don't think it is wise idea for Jama's mom to keep the shop and continue with the business. Jama and her mom are determined to show the village people that they can do just as well as her husband/father did with the store. Jama goes to school with the other children from the village but has noticed that she is not interested in the same things that they are. Jama even is left out of some of the social gatherings that happen because of her differences. Jama has retreated to going to the place that makes her happy and where she can be herself and no one will say anything, with the herd of elephants that she has discovered on the outskirts of the village. Jama feels a strong connection to the elephants but she knows that she is not supposed to be where she is or interact with the large animals because of what they could do to her. When an accident ends up taking Jama's mother from her too, she feels that she has no where to go and that she will never belong to the village where she grew up ever again. The village people turned against her and said some mean and horrible things right before she made the decision to go with on of the elephant rescue's after her mom's accident. I really enjoyed getting to know and understand where Jama comes from and to see how Jama gets a chance to use her ability to connect with the elephants in her everyday life. Made my heart very happy. You will devour this book like I did and then long for more of Jama and her life. I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Josh Olds

    James Patterson has made his name by using his name to highlight the work of his coauthors. The Elephant Girl, a story about a young African girl who protects elephants from poachers even at the expense of being kicked out of her village, is no different. Ellen Banda-Aaku is an award-winning Zambian author whose passion for African literature is clear through the corpus of her writing. Sophia Krevoy, an elephant conservation activist, is also credited as an author. The Elephant Girl is a childre James Patterson has made his name by using his name to highlight the work of his coauthors. The Elephant Girl, a story about a young African girl who protects elephants from poachers even at the expense of being kicked out of her village, is no different. Ellen Banda-Aaku is an award-winning Zambian author whose passion for African literature is clear through the corpus of her writing. Sophia Krevoy, an elephant conservation activist, is also credited as an author. The Elephant Girl is a children’s novel intended for mid to upper elementary students. It follows the story of 12-year-old Jama, who has always been a bit socially aloof. Considered odd by her peers, she discovers better companions in the elephants who drink at the watering hole outside the village. Jama is portrayed as someone connected to nature, but disconnected with her community. The former is fine, but the latter is quite scandalous in African communities. Jama’s favorite elephant is a baby she names Mbegu, Swahili for “seed.” Things become dire when poachers scare the elephant herd, causing Mbegu’s mother to stampede. When the dust settles, the elephant is dead…but so is Jama’s mom. The people cry out for vengeance—not against the poachers, but against the elephants—and Jama is left to grieve her mother while defending her beloved Mbegu. From here, the story takes an unexpected twist. Jama and Mbegu are flown out of the village to an elephant sanctuary, where Jama—still just twelve—is given charge of Mbegu. There is a bit of a plot regarding the poachers, but I won’t spoil any elements of that story. The Elephant Girl is fine. There are a few uses of harsh language—one “damn” and one “hell” respectively—that seemed out of place for children’s literature. The story is straightforward and simplistic, with the pivotal point of Jama and Mbegu going to live at an elephant sanctuary seeming more fantasy wish fulfillment than even trying to seem realistic. It fits its target audience and the conservation motif is one that is very important.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Latisha’s Low-key Life

    Ⓑⓞⓞⓚ Ⓡⓔⓥⓘⓔⓦ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝔼𝕝𝕖𝕡𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕥 𝔾𝕚𝕣𝕝 𝙹𝚊𝚖𝚎𝚜 𝙿𝚊𝚝𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚜𝚘𝚗 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝙴𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚗 𝙱𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚊-𝙰𝚊𝚔𝚞 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑 𝚂𝚘𝚙𝚑𝚒𝚊 𝙺𝚛𝚎𝚟𝚘𝚢 Children’s Chapter Book Ages 10-14 272 Pages Pub Date: July 25, 2022 Sʜᴏᴿᴛ Sʏɴᴏᴘsɪs In The Elephant Girl, poachers are killing the elephants in Maasai territory, and Jama will do anything to protect them. She has formed a bond with the elephants, a bond that can’t be broken. What will happen when her ethics go against her people? Mʸ Tᴴᴼᵁᴳᴴᵀs 𝙃𝙤𝙡𝙮 𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙥𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙨, this story is spectacular. The authors told this tal Ⓑⓞⓞⓚ Ⓡⓔⓥⓘⓔⓦ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝔼𝕝𝕖𝕡𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕥 𝔾𝕚𝕣𝕝 𝙹𝚊𝚖𝚎𝚜 𝙿𝚊𝚝𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚜𝚘𝚗 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝙴𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚗 𝙱𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚊-𝙰𝚊𝚔𝚞 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑 𝚂𝚘𝚙𝚑𝚒𝚊 𝙺𝚛𝚎𝚟𝚘𝚢 Children’s Chapter Book Ages 10-14 272 Pages Pub Date: July 25, 2022 Sʜᴏᴿᴛ Sʏɴᴏᴘsɪs In The Elephant Girl, poachers are killing the elephants in Maasai territory, and Jama will do anything to protect them. She has formed a bond with the elephants, a bond that can’t be broken. What will happen when her ethics go against her people? Mʸ Tᴴᴼᵁᴳᴴᵀs 𝙃𝙤𝙡𝙮 𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙥𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙨, this story is spectacular. The authors told this tale, incorporating the Maasai’s beliefs and celebrations. This led to a heartfelt story that could make you smile and bring you to tears. The story takes place in Kenya. Although it is fiction, it represents the real threat to elephants living in Africa and Asia. Jama is the MC who is only twelve and different from other girls her age. That is definitely noticed by those around her. She is decisive regarding her beliefs and full of emotion when she suffers tragedies. You can’t help but love her. 💗 There are other kind characters and some despicable ones as well. I thanked the stars Jama had reinforcements from the good ones. There is a glossary of terms for the Swahili language (I think that is correct) that is very helpful as many words are authentic and written in this language. Of course, I didn’t see it until the end. Even then, it helped me out. The Elephant Girl is a quick read. I read it after I went to bed last night and couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed learning about the Maasai and the plight of the elephants. Well-written and tied to your heartstrings, The Elephant Girl is a read for everyone. Pub day is July 25, 2022. I suggest pre-ordering it. Thank you to NetGalley, the authors, and the publisher for providing this ebook for me to read and review. I consider myself lucky to have been chosen.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    This charming novel was written by award winning author, Ellen Banda-Aaku in partnership with the prolific writer of many New York Best Selling, James Patterson. The novel was both entertaining and educational, although the chapters were short, two or three pages. they were not choppy and merged well. This was a fast paced book and I will warn the reader not to start this book if you have a task that needs done,as is was easy to become in grossed. Although the book was considered a YA novel, in This charming novel was written by award winning author, Ellen Banda-Aaku in partnership with the prolific writer of many New York Best Selling, James Patterson. The novel was both entertaining and educational, although the chapters were short, two or three pages. they were not choppy and merged well. This was a fast paced book and I will warn the reader not to start this book if you have a task that needs done,as is was easy to become in grossed. Although the book was considered a YA novel, in my opinion, the age for this novel was closer to an older middle grade reader. The novel would appeal to any reader that had an interest in animal conservation and the African country of Kenya. Jama, a young Massai girl who seemed prefer elephants over people,. Jama spends a great of her time observing the elephants that she loves so much. Jama carries a lot on her shoulders and she experianced much heartbreak in her short life. For example, she experianced two major losses, her mother and an elephant that sh loved very much. Thank you Netgalley for choosing me to read and write an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Stumbo Peak

    Jama is a 12 year old girl who lives in an African village. Her Baba passed away 3 years ago from an infection so it’s just been her and her Mama. Jama is a bit of a loner. One day on one of her solo excursions she sees a herd of elephants come to a watering hole. She has never been this close to the elephants before and while she knows her Mama would think it os dangerous, she can’t help but return often to see them. She especially loves when a baby is born into the herd. After a sad turn of ev Jama is a 12 year old girl who lives in an African village. Her Baba passed away 3 years ago from an infection so it’s just been her and her Mama. Jama is a bit of a loner. One day on one of her solo excursions she sees a herd of elephants come to a watering hole. She has never been this close to the elephants before and while she knows her Mama would think it os dangerous, she can’t help but return often to see them. She especially loves when a baby is born into the herd. After a sad turn of events, both Jama and the new baby elephant end up orphaned. Their story continues… I read this book as a possible read aloud for my students this year. But I honestly didn’t love it. The story was ok. I loved the relationship between the elephant and Jama. I just wasn’t impressed with the story itself. I may let my youngest son try it out and see if he feels differently!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy in return for an honest review. “The Elephant Girl” is a realistic fiction story about a young Kenyan girl and a baby elephant. The story is told from Jama's perspective and what she has gone through in her life is just unimaginable. I love when a book leads me down a research hole and when I finished reading I quickly set off to research the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Due to a couple of events in the story I would probably not share this With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy in return for an honest review. “The Elephant Girl” is a realistic fiction story about a young Kenyan girl and a baby elephant. The story is told from Jama's perspective and what she has gone through in her life is just unimaginable. I love when a book leads me down a research hole and when I finished reading I quickly set off to research the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Due to a couple of events in the story I would probably not share this with young middle grade readers

  10. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Overall, I enjoyed this book. In the story, a girl befriends a herd of elephants, particularly a baby elephant. Tragically, both the girl and baby elephant become orphans and form a bond that helps to save them both. I liked that the story had a hopeful ending. After I read the book, I read more about elephants and how they can form bonds with humans. Pretty cool! For ages 10-14, this seemed a bit heavy, but the book felt too young for YA. It seems like it’s in a weird space between middle grade Overall, I enjoyed this book. In the story, a girl befriends a herd of elephants, particularly a baby elephant. Tragically, both the girl and baby elephant become orphans and form a bond that helps to save them both. I liked that the story had a hopeful ending. After I read the book, I read more about elephants and how they can form bonds with humans. Pretty cool! For ages 10-14, this seemed a bit heavy, but the book felt too young for YA. It seems like it’s in a weird space between middle grade and YA.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    What a great read from James Patterson & Ellen Banda-Aaku. This middle-school book was heartbreaking and uplifting. The authors wrote a beautiful story about a girl and an elephant that both lost their mothers and were left orphans. The characters are well written and I felt their emotions as I was reading their stories. Thank you NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for a digital arc of this title.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pamela DeMine

    NTRRSTING ANd engaging Can't wat to share this book with.my ten year old granddsghter. Africa is cache beautifully, ANF the characters remain ship with he elephant s absolutely touch in. my to can tax HD ersrlf, n a CD omg can I'm underdsnanf i. eaquay great for adults. ts NTRRSTING ANd engaging Can't wat to share this book with.my ten year old granddsghter. Africa is cache beautifully, ANF the characters remain ship with he elephant s absolutely touch in. my to can tax HD ersrlf, n a CD omg can I'm underdsnanf i. eaquay great for adults. ts

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    This book grabbed me by the heartstrings from the beginning and didn't let go. I could go on heaping praise but let me just say, Read It! This book grabbed me by the heartstrings from the beginning and didn't let go. I could go on heaping praise but let me just say, Read It!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sherri Smith

    Beautiful story!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Read my review at Commonsense Media: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book... Read my review at Commonsense Media: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeànne Stafne

    This was a very enjoyable book. I will be letting my 10 year old granddaughter read it also!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    This was another enjoyable read from James Patterson (and Ellen Banda-Aaku). Great story, along with great characters that you will care about. #TheElephantGirl #NetGalley

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Baratta

    Thank you everyone who made this story. Thank you so much. Elephants need saving. Please listen to this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    April Reuter

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ruben

  22. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  23. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Brown

  24. 4 out of 5

    Candice

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jodi Slomsky

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cristi Marashi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shasta

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bev

  29. 4 out of 5

    🕊Faloni © arr 💰🏃‍♀️🥗✈️

  30. 4 out of 5

    Charity Ojiugo

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