Natumi Takes the Lead: The True Story of an Orphan Elephant Who Finds a Family by Gerry Ellis with Amy Novesky



Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


Natumi Takes the Lead: The True Story of an Orphan Elephant Who Finds Family
Author: Gerry Ellis with Amy Novesky
Published November 8th, 2016 by National Geographic Children’s Books

Goodreads Summary: After losing her mother, shy Natumi is rescued by a team from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an orphanage for baby elephants. At the shelter, Natumi hides behind keepers’ legs to watch the other elephants at the shelter. But soon, she meets several other orphans, and the eight of them play together in the surrounding bush.

As the babies become closer and more like a real family, they need a leader, someone they can trust. Can Natumi grow into this role?

Join the herd to find out what happens when they travel back into the wild. This sweet story, with its heartwarming photographs, explores the challenges and joys of family, love, and growing up, and is a perfect bedtime tale.

Review: In addition to being a story that teaches about elephants, Natumi’s story is one that will warm readers’ hearts. Her story is sad yet inspiring, heart breaking yet beautiful, and the reader gets to be there every step of the way. Gery Ellis’s photographs allow the reader to be right in the story and helps move this book past just a normal informational nonfiction text to literary nonfiction thus allowing it to cross boundaries in the classroom.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Since the text crosses the informational/literary boundaries, there are immense possibilities to how this text could be used in the classroom. When I finished, the two things that struck me right away were the theme of the story and the inquiry that this story could be a basis for. Natumi’s story definitely has a pretty solid theme that can tie into many other texts or even science discussions about animal behaviors. Also, the text talks about one animal in peril in the wild, and it could be a jumping off point for a science/language arts crossover project where students state find a problem in the wild and create information, much like the author’s note, that shows ways to help and learn more about the issue. In addition, there are opportunities for vocabulary development, mapping skills, prediction, cause/effect, and much more.

Discussion Questions: How did poachers change Natumi’s life forever? Why are there poachers in Africa?; Why are elephant orphanages needed? How could we help this problem?; How did Natumi become the leader of her family?

Flagged Passages: 


Read This If You Love: Elephants, Learning about endangered animals, Africa 

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Karen at Media Masters for providing a copy for review!**

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