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Elephant Man

Elephant Man

By Mariangela Di Fiore
Illustrated by Hilde Hodnefjeld
Translated by Rosie Hedger
Interest Age: 8–11
Grade: 3–6
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: RF.5.3,3a,4,4a,4c

Hardcover : 9781554517787, 52 pages, August 2015 , 9.77" x 9.76"


An unforgettable story of immense courage and an unbreakable spirit.

“Gather round—prepare to be amazed! A sight so very gruesome that you simply won’t believe it. Ladies and gentlemen … the Elephant Man!”

Every night people swarm to a theater in London to see the Elephant Man, whose real name is Joseph Merrick. They scream in terror at the sight of him. But beneath Joseph’s shocking exterior, he longs for affection and understanding.

Disfigured in childhood by a rare disease, Joseph is rejected by his family, bullied in the streets, and ridiculed at his job. While touring Europe with a freak show, he's robbed and abandoned. Joseph seems to encounter misfortune at every turn, but eventually finds friendship with a kind doctor. Though he died young, Joseph became world famous and inspired many with his gentleness and dignity.

Masterful illustrations and archival photographs are joined with simple but moving language, bringing the celebrated true story of the Elephant Man to life for young readers. This is a tremendously affecting book about being different, refusing to be a victim, and finding happiness in even the most challenging of circumstances.


“Wonderful and compassionate . . . extremely well-done.”

- Back to Books, 08/25/15

“A moving, empathic account.”

- Publishers Weekly, 09/07/15

“A solid addition to biography collections.”

- School Library Journal, 07/15

“A stunning objet d’art with a beautiful history to match.”

- Librarian,King County Library System, WA, 07/15

“Artwork is unusual and interesting, a collaged mix of photographs, line drawings, and washes of color . . . completely unique. An excellent accompaniment to the wholly original story that is a mix of fact and fiction, despair and happiness, mundane and exciting.”

- Runaway Librarian, 08/17/15


- Kirkus Reviews, 06/06/15