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Elephant Secret

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  520 ratings  ·  96 reviews
We Bought a Zoo meets Jurassic Park in a gripping story featuring the evergreen appeal of human-animal friendships and set in an elephant sanctuary, about a thirteen-year-old girl, a cast of elephants, and a surprising new arrival—a woolly mammoth.

Sam was born and raised in an elephant sanctuary. When a beloved elephant dies giving birth, Sam develops a connection with bab
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Clarion Books
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Debbie Samantha (Sam for short) is the main human protagonist.
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Ms. Yingling
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Sam and her father run an elephant sanctuary. This takes a lot of acreage, so they're outside of town, and dealing with the elephants is SO Much easier than dealing with her friends in middle school. It's not an easy life, and she and her father make lots of sacrifices, but it's worth it to protect their herd of sometimes fragile, enormous animals! Their newest addition is Burma, who has a violent past and must be separated from the herd, and they are also dealing with t
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Very advanced language and mature themes for a tween book, including a somewhat graphic scene of an elephant C-section.

Having said that, it is packed with facts about elephants that I think kids would enjoy. A loveable lead female and a herd of elephants made this story fun to follow.
G. Ludlow
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children 8-12
Recommended to G. by: VPL
Elephant Secret by Eric Walters
Eric Walters
This is the 100th book that Walters has published. It shows. What an accomplished writer.

This story pulled at my heart strings. The characters are interesting, varied and fully rounded. A girl and her father run an elephant sanctuary, somewhere in the United States.

You meet the elephant herd. You get to know the elephant herd. The individual elephants start to feel like family. They are a family and look after each other very well.

A rogue elephant arrives and is sequestered in a
I wish I had this book four years ago when my Grade 3 students were researching elephants for a class writing project. It would have made a great read-aloud, especially in regards to the descriptive details about the elephants in the story; however, as a person living/working on a farm, one little detail that niggled at me is that hay is NOT synonymous with straw (see page 218).
Unfortunately, I did not warm to the main character, Sam. She came off as a know-it-all, leaving the impression that w
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this tenderly told story of Sam and her elephants the author creates a world that I wanted to inhabit in Sam's father's sanctuary. The human interactions were also well thought out and each character grew throughout the story.
My one quibble with the book is that it describes the process of impregnating the elephants as artificial insemination which is inaccurate terminology as it is actually in vitro fertilisation. For a book purporting to be scientific (see afterward) this was a strange err
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was a topic about animas which I really like. Not only there were cute scenes, there were facts about elephants and Really emotional scenes. Though it was really interesting to read, At the end It was a little easy to predict the ending and the events. But I really recommend this to who likes elephants/ animals.
Michele Knott
Whoa! This one took me by surprise! Really enjoyed learning more about elephants, but also enjoyed the science fiction part of this middle grade.
Zack Kennedy
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: junior-reads
This was read for my Tween Book Club. I personally really enjoyed the book. I've been an Eric Walters fan since I was a kid and I'm glad to see he's still writing awesome stories. This book is loaded with elephant facts and interesting family dynamics and it contains a couple of really emotional and sad moments. I learned a lot about elephants and felt attached to the herd in the book by the end. My one complaint (and it was a complaint echoed by the kids in my book club) is that the ending felt ...more
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was so good I could barely put it down.
The main character Samantha (or Sam) was lovely. I loved her interactions with the elephants and how she really was a part of the herd, but how she was still careful. She used her observation and knowledge from growing up in and around the herd to help her make decisions in how to act with them and with Burma the abused Male Elephant that comes to the elephant sanctuary. She even grew as a character over the course of the story, and I like the in
Pam  Page
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I ran across this book on a blog and thought it sounded interesting but could not get it at my local bookshop or in my library system! I ordered a copy from the state library system and am still shaking my head at why this book has not been more visible. Anyone reading this book will want to know more and read more about elephants. The story is compelling and the author's note at the end lends a surprise to the validity of the story. The bibliography for this book is extensive and shows the deta ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this one, but I did. I’m an elephant fan now. Great story and lots of wonderful information about these amazing animals. Kids that love animals will enjoy this story!
Lori Emilson
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great middle year’s read by accomplished Canadian children’s author Eric Walters. I loved everything that had to do with description of behaviour and information about the elephants. The publisher’s summary here on Goodreads is a huge spoiler - can’t believe they did that! The only reason this book didn’t get a 5 from me was because the ending seemed rushed and left a few unanswered questions (what happened to Burma?). Kids 9+ will adore this book.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adored everything about this book. My students will love it too!!
Elizabeth Meadows
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I got to the end I still wanted more!
Anne Rhys
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I dearly loved this book, as an elephant lover especially. I was not disappointed with this spontaneous middle grade library find.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely book. The interplay between humans and animals and the idea of a herd as family is beautifully explored. A great start to the Silver Birch nominated reads!
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book. Not sure which book I will vote for in Silver Birch. They’re all fabulous so far!!
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thirteen year old Samantha has grown up on an elephant sanctuary, it’s a life she loves, though it’s put to the test with the addition of two newcomers to the herd, one troubled, and one decidedly different.

Samantha’s a likable young heroine, she has her moments where she’s a little too sarcastic much like any thirteen year old, she’s also admirably loving and protective towards her elephant family with ambitions of becoming a veterinarian. Initially, I was concerned that Sam’s relationship with
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eric Walters writes well and Elephant Secret does not disappoint. Sam and her father run an elephant sanctuary. They rehabilitate elephants who have been poorly cared for or harmed by circus life or private ownership. Elephants are expensive to tend but incredibly intelligent and caring animals. Eric Walters does fantastic research and brings an incredible amount of factual information into the story. The book will appeal to readers who enjoy realistic fiction stories about families and relation ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hmh, galleys-read
I absolutely loved this. I love a good middle grade novel and this is exactly that. I didn't think I cared much for elephants, but the author got to my animal lover's heart! The cover is so sweet too!

My cousin is a bookworm and I can't wait to send her this one.

*Disclosure: I work for HMH, but I do not review HMH titles unless I feel extremely strongly about them as a reader. They have to be something special if I'm going to review them. This is one of those very special ones.
Cynthia Ayerdi
Favorite book of ALL time!!!!
I love elephants (they're my favorite animals) and I love the way this book embraces these fascinating animals. The connection between the main character and the elephants is just beautiful, and there are several facts about elephants packed into the book. And the plot... like, the plot is pretty slow and I get that you could get bored but the characters are worth it.
Seriously recommended to everyone in the world.
Kathy Cunningham
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eric Walters’s ELEPHANT SECRET is a gripping family story with an environmental spin. Thirteen-year-old Samantha Gray has lived her entire life on an elephant sanctuary owned by her father. Her mother died when she was born, so her only family has been her father and the elephants – an amazing herd of creatures who are more caring, loving, courageous, and loyal than most humans. When one of the elephants – a gentle soul named Daisy Mae – gives birth to a very unusual baby, Samantha’s world is tu ...more
Maria Antonia
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-kids, animals
Basic plot: Sam and her dad run an elephant sanctuary where they care for a herd of misfit elephants. Just as one abused elephant arrives, another is born to an elephant of the herd. But the new baby elephant has a secret… one that Sam and her father have yet to find out. A secret they won’t know about until they meet their mysterious benefactor… Or should we call him “partner”?

1) Sam (Samantha) is an elephant girl. She knows elephants better than anything. In fact, she has such a st
Jo-ann Walsh
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
@kidlitexchange #partner
Thank you @kidlitexchange for the free review copy of Elephant Secret in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This title releases on August 28, 2018.
Samantha and her father run an elephant sanctuary. Ever since she was born, the herd has been her family. Samantha’s mom passed away right after her birth. A lot of new things are happening at the sanctuary. A new elephant, Burma, as come to the sanctuary. He has been abused and is considered dangerous, an
Emma Marie
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessika Santulli
Calling all elephant lovers, animal lovers, science and sci-fi lovers, lovers of compelling characters and first-person narratives! You are in for a treat. This was my favorite book of the year so far.

Since I’ve loved elephants my whole life, I may be a little biased. But this book will hep everyone who reads it grow to appreciate these gentle giants, pleasant pachyderms, these tusked towers.

Sam lives with her single dad (a rare but welcome scenario in literature) on their elephant sanctuary. Th
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Family comes in all sizes and shapes and for 13 year old Samantha Gray, that family consists of her father and all of the elephants that she helps care for on their private elephant sanctuary. Even though her classmates sometimes refer to her as “elephant girl”, the money is tight and the work is hard, Sam wouldn’t trade the life that she and her dad have for anything. To help cover the cost of caring for the animals, Sam’s father agrees to take on a mysterious billionaire investor who has big p ...more
who wouldn't want to live at an elephant sanctuary and get to interact with elephants the way Sam does? the book started out with a lot of info dropping and came across as preachy sometimes, points to my sister who pointed out the detail on cover that helped me figure out the secret sooner, and who doesn't like the idea of bringing back extinct animals whether it will be possible or not in the future. I liked seeing how Sam had to deal with different challenges although sometimes she was pretty ...more
Cori Mendez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Eric was born in Toronto in 1957, which makes him "real old". But, as Eric says, "Just because I have to grow old doesn't mean that I have to grow up!" In his many roles as parent, teacher, social worker, youth sports coach and writer he is in constant contact with children and young adults. He draws from these experiences and feels that this helps him to capture the realistic interaction between ...more

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