March’s Book of the Month: Strictly No Elephants

Every year Mr. Bender carefully selects a book for each month of the school year.  These books are always connected by a particular theme which changes from year to year.  This year’s is a really powerful theme, but we aren’t going to tell you what it is just yet.

At the end of each month, we will share the Book of the Month with you in the hopes you will discuss it further with your children. And while you’re at it, see if you can figure out Mr. Bender’s theme!

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March’s book was, Strictly No Elephants, by Lisa Mantchev. In the story, a little boy has a very different kind of pet. When the boy and his elephant are turned away from a Pet Club, he and his new friends set out to create a place where creatures of all shapes, sizes, and kinds are welcome.

Here are some ways you could discuss this book at home:

  • Create your own Pet Club and invite friends to come with these invitations from Simon & Schuster.

Discussion Questions

  • Throughout the story, the author mentions kind things that friends do for one another such as:
    • “Lift each other over the cracks”
    • “Brave the scary things for you.”
    • “Give you directions.”

What do you think the author means by each of these? Has anyone every done these things for you?

  • In what ways does the boy help the elephant? In what ways does the elephant help the boy?
  • What is true friendship? What are examples of true friendship in the book?
  • Why were the boy and his tiny elephant excluded from the Pet Club? Do you think they should have been invited into the club? Why or why not?
  • When excluded from the Pet Club, how does the boy react? What actions does he take to change how he is feeling?
    • Have you ever been excluded from a group? What actions did you take?
  • When the boy and his new friends start their own Pet Club, how is it different from the Pet Club he was excluded from?
  • The sign on the new Pet Club reads, “All Are Welcome.” How do you think this message makes the other children feel?
    • Do you think it is important to accept others that may be different from us? Why or why not?
    • How can accepting others, that are different from you benefit you?
  • What lesson is the author, Lisa Mantchev, trying to teach you?

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