Whilst planning my elementary storytimes for the summer reading program (oh yeah, I have everything done but the crafts! I am so on top of things!! Ahem, sorry, that’s just a little librarian bragging.) I came across one of my favorite nonfiction kids books ever. It’s called Elephants Can Paint Too by Katya Arnold and it is Ah-Ma-Zing!!!
It’s describes a program that Arnold created as a way to help Asian elephants in Thailand. Since the country has cut back on logging operations to preserve trees, a lot of domesticated elephants were left with nothing to do and no one to support them. The Asian Art and Elephant Conservation Project was created as a way to raise funds for these wonderful creatures.
The elephants are taught to paint by holding the brushes with their trunks and then they paint just like you and me! The paintings are then sold as a way to raise money to help the elephants.
The book is awesome because it shows how Arnold has some students who are children and some students that are elephants. She includes lots of great pictures and fun facts (did you know young elephants suck their trunks like we suck our thumbs?) so it is not only informative, but entertaining.
The paintings themselves are unbelievably cool. I can’t believe some of the self portraits these guys do! And the flower paintings are gorgeous too. I have decided that I really want to buy this one. I adore the colors and even though I don’t have the money, it would be great to contribute to such a worthy cause. And it is painted on elephant dung paper!!! You really can’t find a more interesting conversation starter than a painting made by an elephant on paper created from poop. I will make sure to update everyone on whether or not I decide to purchase it.
So please, if you don’t feel like picking up the book, at least visit their website where you can look at the elephant art or even watch a video of them painting. I also love that they have a little bio of each elephant, even though they are usually sad.
P.S. I am totally reading this book to the kids this summer and showing them the website. Maybe if I buy a painting I can write it off on my taxes because I could show it at the storytime?? Something to think about.