This is a powerful story the author wrote to illuminate a captive elephant’s life to people, like me, who never thought about it before. In the form of a fictional story, she takes us into the world of zoos and circuses from an elephant’s point of view. And we finally begin to see how powerless and heartbroken these magnificent creatures become when forced to live in confinement and sometimes devastating cruelty.

Ernest is the young elephant we follow from his birth to his adult years. We meet new elephants as well as their human caretakers, some loving and some cruel, as Ernest is transferred from one facility to another. We say goodbye to some, too. The author draws you into their world, which is filled with spiritual depth, kindness and familial love.

Ernest will “make your heart smile” while talking about the importance of “doing elephant things.” While Ernest draws you through the story, it is the author’s portrayal of the matriarch, Eve, which so deeply touched my heart. There are lessons here beyond welfare of elephants.

This book might be too literal for very young children. But what a powerful impact it would have on junior high and high school students to use as a basis for a research project, and hopefully as a catalyst to make a difference in their communities.

Proceeds from buying this book are one way to help. But more important is to read and share it with others so we can all take off our blinders, change our awareness, and make a difference for elephants.