Nandu was abandoned at age two and found by the Nepalese king’s elephant keeper in the grasslands bordering Nepal and India. Actually, it was the lead female elephant Devi Kali who first spotted Nandu, and thus established a bond that strengthened as Nandu grew up and learned the secrets of training elephants. When it seems that the elephant stable will be closed, 12-year-old Nandu and his close friend Rita conceive a plan to keep the stable open — a plan rife with challenges. Definitely a book for animal lovers, What Elephants Know is also about the unusual forms family can take, the challenges of an outsider trying to find his place in a stratified society, and a beautiful description of a country and culture with which we may not be familiar.
~ Eight Cousins— From Holiday Picks 2016
Abandoned in the jungle of the Nepalese Borderlands, two-year-old Nandu is found living under the protective watch of a pack of wild dogs. From his mysterious beginnings, fate delivers him to the King's elephant stable, where he is raised by unlikely parents-the wise head of the stable, Subba-sahib, and Devi Kali, a fierce and affectionate female elephant. When the king's government threatens to close the stable, Nandu, now twelve, searches for a way to save his family and community. A risky plan could be the answer. But to succeed, they'll need a great tusker. The future is in Nandu's hands as he sets out to find a bull elephant and bring him back to the Borderlands. In simple poetic prose, author Eric Dinerstein brings to life Nepal's breathtaking jungle wildlife and rural culture, as seen through the eyes of a young outcast, struggling to find his place in the world.
About the Author
Eric Dinerstein, PhD, attended Northwestern University and Western Washington University, and did his graduate studies in wildlife science at the University of Washington. He is director of biodiversity and wildlife solutions at RESOLVE, where he devotes his time to the conservation of wild populations of elephants, rhinos, tigers, and other endangered species. Previously, he was chief scientist and vice president for conservation science at the World Wildlife Fund for nearly twenty-five years. Dinerstein began researching tigers in the Nepal in 1975 as a Peace Corps volunteer. He later continued fieldwork in the region, studying rhinos and tigers for the Smithsonian Institution.