Editor's note: HamletHub contributor, Ridgefield resident, and contributing editor of Books, Ink at HamletHub shares what's on the "Children's Shelf"
We picked up "Pennies for Elephants" by Lita Judge because there were elephants on the cover. We sat down to read the book as a family, and I was thrilled to discover the story inside.
Judge based her story on true events in history. In 1914, the owner of three trained elephants decided he was ready to retire. He was looking for a new home for his elephants, and offered them for sale for $6,000. The children of Boston joined together to try to buy the elephants for the Boston Zoo. Raising $6,000 might seem impossible (at a time when a car cost under $500), especially for children, but children tend to look beyond impossible.
The children of Boston donated all their pennies to the elephant fund. They did odd jobs for friends and neighbors. They put on little parties where they charged a fee to attendees. They donated every penny to the elephant fund. The Boston Post published the names of every child who donated to the fund with the amount they donated, keeping track of how much was raised, and how much was still needed.
This wonderful book showed how determined children can be. Young readers see that determination can go awfully far and taking on a challenge that might seem impossible might just be worth it. The children of Boston raised the money, bought the elephants and donated them to the zoo. Prior to reading this book with my children, I had no idea this event happened in history, and we loved reading Judge's wonderful book based on this true story.
Sometimes pennies are enough to buy an elephant (or three). When we work together, the impossible might just be possible.
Photo by Jessica Collins