87 pages 2 hours read

Roland Smith

Elephant Run

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2007

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Elephant Run

  • Genre: Fiction; middle grade adventure
  • Originally Published: 2007
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 750L; grades 5-9
  • Structure/Length: 3 parts; 32 chapters plus prologue; approx. 336 pages
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: To escape the bombing of London during World War II, Nick Freestone goes to stay with his father on a teak plantation in Burma. When Japanese soldiers take his father prisoner and move him to a camp deep in the jungle, Nick and his friend Mya set off on a rescue mission.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Wartime violence

Roland Smith, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1951 in Portland, Oregon, where he still lives; studied English at Portland State University; began working at a local children’s zoo, which led to a successful career in zoo keeping and animal care; finds inspiration for book ideas in his work with animals and his associated travel experiences
  • Other Works: Zach’s Lie (2001); Jack’s Run (2005); Peak (2007)
  • Awards: ALA Best Book for Young Adults (2009)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Burmese Independence and Colonization
  • War and Violence
  • Family

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the social, cultural, and historical contexts regarding Burma in World War II that incite Nick’s conflict.
  • Analyze paired texts and other brief resources to make connections via the text’s themes of Burmese Independence and Colonization, War and Violence, and Family.