Maggie, Alaska’s Last Elephant

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Maggie, Alaska’s Last Elephant
Elephants are social animals. Maggie and Annabelle used to live together at the Alaska Zoo. But after Annabelle died, Maggie was all alone. For years, zookeepers tried to keep her happy (and warm). But ultimately they sent Maggie to live at a sanctuary (PAWS). Now she is happy and at home with her new herd of other elephants. This is a heartwarming story of how zoos ensure the best for the animals in their care—even if the best is not at their zoo.

This work of narrative nonfiction includes a 4-page For Creative Minds section in the back of the book and a 30-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide online. Maggie, Alaska's Last Elephant is vetted by experts and designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. The Spanish translation supports ELL and dual-language programs. The interactive ebook reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension.

Written by Jennifer Keats Curtis, Illustrated by Phyllis Saroff
8.5 X 10, Ages 4-9, Grades K-3, Lexile: 620, F&P: O
Hardcover 9781607184508 $17.95  
Paperback 9781607184614 $9.95  
EBook 9781607185147 $6.95  
Spanish Paperback 9781607184669 $9.95  
Spanish EBook 9781607185192 $6.95  
Keywords:   helping animals, zoo, sanctuary, elephants
Animals in the book:   elephant
Vetters:   Thanks to the following for taking such great care of Maggie and for verifying the accuracy of the information in this book: Pat Lampi, Executive Director at the Alaska Zoo; Michelle Harvey, one of Maggie’s keepers; and Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) staff.


A solid if not stellar addition to a growing picture-book genre.
-Kirkus Reviews

This is a beautiful informational story filled with rich, descriptive language that could be used not only in science to learn information about elephants and zoos, but could also be used during writing workshop too. The text is filled with rich sentences that use beautiful sensory details. A great model for young student writers. The story of Maggie, the elephant, tugs on your heart strings and provides perspective to students when thinking about how society and nature interest and the impact they have on one another. Readers love a happy ending, and Maggie’s is certainly happy…but Jennifer leaves the reader with not only a happy ending, but information about elephants and zoos where elephants are kept. A great text to be used for so many instructional lessons. Maggie Alaska’s Last Elephant is a must read.
-Amy Siracusano, Literacy Integration Learning Specialist, Maryland

Author/Illustrator Info:

Award-winning nature author Jennifer Keats Curtis is frequently found among students and teachers, talking about literacy and conservation. She is the author of more than a dozen books about wildlife rescue, animal care in captivity, and citizen science.In addition to The Lizard Lady and Maggie: Alaska's Last Elephant, Jennifer has written After A While Crocodile: Alexa’s Diary, The Lucky Litter: Wolf Pups Rescued from Wildfire, the Animal Helpers series, Baby Owl’s Rescue, Kali’s Story (Children’s Choice Book Award 2015), Salamander Season, Primate School, and Turtles In My Sandbox for Arbordale. She lives in Maryland with her family and a wide variety of pets. Visit her website at

Since childhood, Phyllis Saroff has brought together her loves of science and art. In addition to Maggie: Alaska's Last Elephant, Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos, Tuktuk: Tundra Tale, and Sounds of the Savanna for Arbordale, Phyllis has illustrated nonfiction books about the natural world such as Teeth and Mary Anning: Fossil Hunter. She also illustrates for children’s magazines, wayside signs and other educational material. Phyllis works digitally and with oil paint. Phyllis lives in Maryland with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. Visit her website at


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