MMGM: A Circle of Elephants by Eric Dinerstein


From the author of What Elephants Know, a 2017 ALA Notable Children's Book and winner of the 2017 South Asia Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, comes this stunning companion novel about the complex relationship between people and nature coexisting in the Borderlands of 1970s Nepal.

Thirteen-year-old Nandu lives in the newly established Royal Elephant Breeding Center on the edge of the jungle. Here, the King's elephants are to be raised under the protective watch of the stable. Nandu-along with his adoptive father Subba-sahib, his mentors, friends, and the rest of the elephant drivers-is tested by man and nature as earthquakes, drought, wild herds, and rumors of poachers threaten the Center.

When Nandu's world is thrown into turmoil, so, too, is the world of Hira Prasad, the Center's powerful bull elephant. An unbreakable bond of brotherhood drives Nandu and Hira Prasad together as they struggle to maintain the delicate natural order of life in the Borderlands.

Dinerstein's poetic prose and scientific expertise come together in this breathtaking tale that transports the reader to the center of dangerous conflicts and heartbreaking friendships.


I really enjoyed Dinerstein's first book about Nandu.  When I heard there would be another book about Nandu I was excited to return to the setting and characters I'd grown to care about.  This book is just as fascinating and important as the first one.  I love books like this one for several reasons.  First, they give me a glimpse into a way of life and a culture very different than my own, something I enjoy reading about.  Second, I'm a big believer in the need to take better care of the environment and the animals around us.  And third, I just love a good story.  This story revolves around the live of a young Tibetan boy named Nandu, who was adopted by Subba Sahib, the man who runs the elephant breeding stable Nandu calls home.  Nandu's love for his home and the elephants shines through, which I credit the author for, his own passion for his subject is clear.  But he does struggle with the tradition of chaining the elephants up, especially in the face of his growing desire to protect the animals that live in the surrounding jungle.  When poachers arrive and start killing the rhinos, Nandu is infuriated and desperately wants to help stop them, but to do so would be very risky.  But Nandu's heart is tender and he can't just sit back and let the animals die, so with the help of some friends he sets out to do something about it.  I enjoyed reading about Nandu's journey as he wrestles with the circumstances in which he finds himself as well as his own conscience.  A fabulously told story for those interested in reading about other cultures and the importance of the environment. 


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