Elephant Talk

The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

On a hot day in the African savannah, a group of elephants searches for food. While foraging they often lose sight of one another. Yet at the end of the day, in one coordinated movement, the elephants suddenly regroup. This coordinated movement—and others like it—has puzzled scientists and caused them to question how elephants communicate with each other.

Since the 1990s, scientists have gathered significant data on elephant “talk.” Biologists have determined that elephants use a complex system of communication of at least ten distinct sounds, combined in many variations. Researchers are now asking: what do these sounds mean?

As scientists study the elephant sounds that humans can hear, they are also identifying ways elephants communicate through nonverbal behaviors and making sounds too low for human ears. Scientists have realized that elephants even receive messages by using their sensitive feet to feel vibrations in the ground. All of these discoveries are helping elephant researchers better understand elephant behavior.

But the elephant’s time as a wild animal is running out. Threatened by habitat loss and illegally hunted for their ivory tusks, elephants are on the brink of extinction. Will understanding elephant talk be the key to saving the species?

Format List Price Your Price Qty
978-0-7613-7285-1
$50.65 $37.99
978-1-4677-5988-5
$53.32 $39.99
978-1-5124-4229-8
$29.99 $29.99
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Nonfiction
Subject Animals, Science
Copyright 2011
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™, Lerner Digital ™
Language English
Number of Pages 112
Publication Date 2011-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 12.6
BISACS JNF003070
Dewey 599.67'4159
Graphics 1-color illustrations, Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 7.375 x 8.625
Lexile 1220
ATOS Reading Level 8.8
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 142767
Accelerated Reader® Points 3.0
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Maps, Source notes, Table of contents, Timeline, Websites, and eSource

Awards

  • VOYA Nonfiction Honor List, Winner, 2012
  • Science Books & Films Best Books, Winner, 2012
  • SSLI Book Award Honor Book, Commended, 2011
  • Book Links Lasting Connection, Winner, 2011

Reviews

Book Links

“How do elephants communicate over long distances? With infrasound—frequencies lower than the human ear can hear. Readers will learn more fascinating facts about these social animals in this colorful, information-packed volume, which also explores how elephants connect with each other through touch, smell, and gesture. Well-chosen color photos will further draw both researchers and browsers into this engaging, standout informational title, which closes with extensive back matter to support reports.” —Book Links

Book Links

“How do elephants communicate over long distances? With infrasound—frequencies lower than the human ear can hear. Readers will learn more fascinating facts about these social animals in this colorful, information-packed volume, which also explores how elephants connect with each other through touch, smell, and gesture. Well-chosen color photos will further draw both researchers and browsers into this engaging, standout informational title, which closes with extensive back matter to support reports.” —Book Links

Library Media Connection

“This excellent book provides all the material needed for a report, or for an enjoyable browse.” —Library Media Connection

The Horn Book Guide

“Downer provides an engrossing account of the science of elephant communication, covering elephant social networks, the workings of their vocal equipment, and what we know about the sounds, smells, and various behaviors they employ.” —The Horn Book Guide

Science Books & Films

“Although identified as a children’s book, Elephant Talk is an excellent primer for all ages (beginning at the third-grade level).” —Science Books & Films

Booklist

“Well-chosen color photos appear on nearly every page, transporting readers from American zoos to African wildlife preserves to an Indian festival celebrating the birthday of the Hindu god Ganesh…. This wide-ranging book is always engaging and informative.” —Booklist

School Library Journal

“Throughout this highly readable, informative title are profiles of individuals—an elephant keeper, a scout, researchers, and others—who work with these animals. The ‘Elephant Dictionary’ will help future scientists understand an elephant’s chirp, grunt, rev, rumble, and snort!” —School Library Journal

Author: Ann Downer

Ann Downer was born in Virginia and spent part of her childhood in the Philippines and in Thailand. She is the author of five fantasy novels for young readers and three previous books about science, including the award-winning Elephant Talk: The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication for Twenty-First Century Books. Her first picture book, Shark Baby, was published in 2013. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband and son. Their backyard is visited by woodchucks, skunks, and rabbits, but no bears—so far.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Elephant Talk

On a hot day in the African savannah, a group of elephants searches for food. While foraging they often lose sight of one another. Yet at the end of the day, in one coordinated movement, the elephants suddenly regroup. This coordinated movement—and others like it—has puzzled scientists… View available downloads →