The island of Sri Lanka is a beautiful place, filled with creatures and foods that are not found everywhere else on the planet. One of the many benefits of reading books is the ability to be transported to and learn more about places that might otherwise be unfamiliar or difficult to visit.
In a #ownvoices debut, The Girl Who Stole an Elephant takes readers to the fictional land of Serendib, where the landscape of Sri Lanka becomes palpable to readers even if they live elsewhere. Foods and experiences unique to Sri Lanka are woven directly into the story, blending seamlessly with the narrative. It made me hungry for sweet potatoes and coconut! You can read my full review here.
This book moves quickly both because of the action-packed plot and the short length of the chapters. I read an e-ARC of this book, so the design of the finished book is not yet complete. However, there are ample opportunities for illustrations to break up the text, and I hope there are images in the final version!
Especially with COVID, travel is nearly impossible, especially to a place that is as far away from me as Sri Lanka is. However, books like this one inspire travel in my imagination and encourage exploration once things open up again.
I definitely recommend this book to newer middle grade readers who like adventure and are ready for a little more of a challenge. This would be a great classroom read-aloud, as well!