The best elephant books 📚

Browse the best books on elephants as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Why this book?

This was one of the first books I read about behavior change, and to this day, it’s one of the best. The authors, Dan and Chip Heath, present a simple model consisting of a rider on top of an elephant traveling a path. The rider represents your rational side, the elephant is your emotional side, and the path is your environment. And by strategically influencing all three, you can create the behavior change you want much more effectively.

From the list:

The best books on how to develop self-discipline

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Book cover of Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants

Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants

By Katy Payne

Why this book?

After discovering that whales sing to each other, Katy turned her attention to elephants. Silent Thunder chronicles Katy’s work before she founded the Elephant Listening Project. In essence, it is the prequel to Eavesdropping on Elephants. Katy’s evocative prose puts you on the plains of Africa. I love the way she approached her research without any preconceived notions and let the elephants tell her what was important.

From the list:

The best books for elephant lovers

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Book cover of The Last Elephants

The Last Elephants

By Don Pinnock, Colin Bell

Why this book?

This is one of the most comprehensive books on African elephants I have ever read. It covers a huge variety of topics and is a compilation of stories and studies from a collection of authors, conservationists, and scientists. I particularly like the mixture of personal stories and scientific information. An absolute “must-read” for anyone with a deep interest in elephants and a desire to get involved in their conservation.

From the list:

The best books about elephants and birds

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Book cover of Let's Go for a Drive!

Let's Go for a Drive!

By Mo Willems

Why this book?

My family loves to laugh, and we introduce our children to books that build the funny bone. For this reason, I have a copy of every picture book written by the delightful Mo Willems. Hands down, my favorite is Let’s Go for a Drive! Here’s the story: Elephant and Piggie amass the accessories necessary to spend a day tooling around town. We’re talking sunglasses, a map, an umbrella. They are set to go when they realize they don’t have a car. Somehow, the two friends make the best of it. Good news: There are 25 Elephant and Piggie books to…

From the list:

The best books by authors who make me laugh

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Book cover of Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

By Daphne Jenkins Sheldrick

Why this book?

Daphne Sheldrick has written this memoir to give us an insight into her life, saving and raising young elephants and numerous other wild animals with her husband in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Her book is hugely inspiring and, although Kenya is strictly speaking not in Southern Africa. South African and East African wildlife are very similar and her description of an orphan sanctuary inspired me to write about such a sanctuary in my own book.

From the list:

The best books of Southern Africa with wild life

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Book cover of But No Elephants

But No Elephants

By Jerry Smath

Why this book?

This book is an enduring memory from my own childhood. I remember my parents used to read this to me, and they put on funny voices for each of the characters. I love the message of this book, that even though you are different from others, we can all coexist and learn to celebrate our differences. The illustrations are also so charming and really bring the story to life. 

From the list:

The best children’s books about diversity and inclusion

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