Sunday, November 3, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text: Faithful Elephants

Collaboration Cuties has one of my favorite linky parties because you can never have too many books and everyone has so many great activities to accompany their book recommendations!
This week I'm reading Faithful Elephants-A True Story of Animals, People and War in honor of Veteran's Day. This book will spark such emotion with you and your students!
It's incredible and heart wrenching at the same time!

Faithful Elephants is great to teach war from a different perspective. The book is about the zookeepers at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, Japan during WWII. Fearing that a bomb attack would release all the wild animals into the streets, the zookeepers have to kill all the dangerous animals. All the animals are put to death by poison, however the elephants prove to be tricky because they are too clever to eat poisoned food, and their skin is too tough for a lethal injection. In the end, they have to starve them to death. This story teaches the other repercussions of war that we don't think about and how much is lost by war. It teaches the importance of peace and is a great addition to any WWII unit of study.
The watercolor illustrations are perfect for the tone of this book. Faithful Elephants will have an emotional impact on you and your students!
Warning: I've NEVER read this book without crying!
Because this story evokes such emotion, I will be using my Reaction to the Text template from my Reading With Post Its II pack. I know their emotions/reactions will run from anger to devastation, but they will have to support their feelings with details from the text.

You can grab this FREEBIE here! If you download, feedback is greatly appreciated.
This book sparks a lot of discussion amongst my students and I love hearing the passion and empathy in their voices! I can't wait to read what they write for their reaction to the text!
Although I've read this book for years and I enjoy the maturity of discussion it brings to my classroom, I probably wouldn't recommend it for primary grades.
Linking up this lesson with my buddy Jennifer for A Peek at My Week linky!
Have a wonderful week!


  1. What a powerful book. We just talked a little about World War II during social studies last week. I'm going to have to see if our library has this book. It would be perfect to use with my kiddos. Thanks for the warning about kiddos never know what to do with me when I cry reading a book.

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
    Find me on Facebook

  2. I love this book and have used it every year with my sixth graders since 2000. Thanks for the freebie.

  3. Oh boy. I'm not sure I can handle this book...and I can tell you for certain Stacia can't. She definitely doesn't do any books that are sad, especially about animals. How very sad!!! Especially since it's a true story!!! Yikes!!! It sounds very powerful. Perhaps one day I can bring myself to read it...I'll have to pace myself...But if you recommend it then I know it's really good so I should probably step out of my comfort zone and read it, right?

    Thanks so much for linking up my high-heeled friend!
    Collaboration Cuties

  4. I'm gonna have to get my hands on this book!! Thanks for sharing another great one! You always have best books.

  5. We just used it as a pre-assessment for our unit on how setting impacts a story. We gave the students an abridged version, so we took out sections of it. This caused the students to have to ask questions that will be turned into research on the time period.... For a post-assessment, they will re-evaluate their questions, research them and then write a response on how knowledge about a setting impacts our understanding of literature.... Can't wait to see how it unfolds... I was out sick when they did the pre-assessment, so the sub was likely in tears... I've never read it without crying..... Get that Kleenex!

  6. This looks wonderful! I seem to always end up reading tear jerkers to my students (we are reading Love That Dog right now) and I think the students enjoy seeing their teachers cry. It makes us so "real". :) Thanks for sharing, friend!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  7. Wow! I'd be a mess after reading this one! I definitely agree that emotion-invoking books make for the best comprehension lessons. Excellent book recommendation- thanks!
    Karli :)
    Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

  8. This is a new title for me, but I am quite certain I couldn't get through it without tears.
    Thank you for the freebie! I will be using it in the near future.

    Fit to be Fourth
    Follow me on Bloglovin

  9. German competitors were basically competitors who could perform superior to most. Be that as it may, they absolutely weren't supermen, as Hitler would have had the world accept. text bomber app


  10. Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. 1337xunblock


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...