My husband and I have recently been talking about the importance of being accepting of others. Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons. —Jessica Lange. I love this quote, and I love that we have books to share with our children to help instil these traits.

Strictly No Elephants, by Lisa Mantchev and Taeeun Yoo, is a must read. It shares snippets of the beautiful friendship between a boy and his elephant, their special bond. It’s Pet Club Day, and they set off with anticipation of joining in. Smiles wane as they approach house number 17, where everyone has gathered with pets. When they read the sign hanging on the door, their expressions are of disbelief. Strictly No Elephants. If the sign wasn’t enough, a young girl points to it with a cross brow while other children stare at the boy and his elephant through the window. They’re sent out into the rain, where they meet another pair who have been turned away, and even more. They form their own pet club, with a sign on the door that reads, ALL are welcome.

I was the loudest this time calling for an encore read. It’s a heart-warming story. Illustrations are rich and sweet. And that message. I’ve pondered over how best I can stress its significance without being all preachy. Really, the book does it best. The children and pets who are turned away hold no judgement, don’t try and get their own back. They’re shining examples of goodness.

  • Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • 4-8 years
  • 5