Elephant in the Dark
based on a poem by Rumi, retold by Mina Javaherbin, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
Disclosure: I received a free copy from Scholastic, Platinum Sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD).
Elephant in the Dark is based on 13th-century Persian poet and teacher of Sufism Rumi’s famous poem.
Merchant Ahmad brings a mysterious creature home to Persia (now: Iran), all the way from India. The villagers are curious about the strange beast and gather at the merchant’s barn to see it. One after the other, they sneak into the dark barn and – based on the parts each of them can feel – make a conclusion about what it is.
“It’s like a snake!” declares one. “It’s like a tree trunk,” shouts another. “No, it’s like a fan!” argues the third.
Soon the villagers fight about who is right and try to prove each other wrong.They are so busy arguing the whole night that they don’t notice when Ahmad leads the beautiful, gentle elephant to the river in the morning.
” And no one noticed that they each knew only a small piece of the truth.”
Elephant in the Dark makes the important message of Rumi’s classic poem accessible to young children with simple yet witty text and bright, expressive illustrations. The story is a parable about the limits of our own perception and how insisting on our own conclusions, made in the dark, keeps us from seeing the whole picture.
Elephant in the Dark is suitable for ages 4 to 8. Includes author’s and illustrator’s notes.
The book was published by Scholastic Press in 2015. Scholastic was founded in 1920 as a single classroom magazine. Today, Scholastic books and educational materials are in tens of thousands of schools and tens of millions of homes worldwide, helping to Open a World of Possible for children across the globe. The mission of Scholastic is to encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Scholastic will also be helping with social media efforts surrounding this event and working to get the MCBD the message out. Be sure and connect with Scholastic on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and multiple other social media outlets.
More from Scholastic: Multicultural Book of the Month: The Case for Loving
This book review is a part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17). MCCBD is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsors include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
Important links for Multicultural Children’s Book Day:
Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians & Educators
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents
This book sounds lovely! Both the story itself and the illustrations. Thanks for sharing the original poem too!
I love Rumi and am so happy to see your review here. What a beautiful reminder of how to open our hearts and minds to a variety of view points. Thanks for sharing and for celebrating #readyourworld.
Colours of Us
My pleasure! It is a beautiful book with a message that is now more important than ever.
Deb Nance at Readerbuzz
This book is a great reminder for all of us. Thanks for sharing this book on Multicultural Children’s Book Day! #ReadYourWorld
GAYLE H. SWIFT
This book is a wonderful way to introduce children to the concept of personal bias and to open their hearts to diverse points of view.