Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, August 27, 2018

Eavesdropping On Elephants: How Listening Helps Conservation by Patricia Newman

Eavesdropping On Elephants: How Listening Helps Conservation
by Patricia Newman
Millbrook Press. 2018
Grades 4-up

To write this review, I used a copy of this book sent from the publisher.

Newman (Plastic, Ahoy!) introduces readers to the Elephant Listening Project (ELP), a research program with the Cornell University, and the biologist, Katy Payne who initiated the first recording. 

Payne had experience with animal communication. Prior to 1984, she had spend fifteen years listening to the humpback whale, the largest marine mammal. It was while visiting the Washing Park Zoo in Portland, Oregon in May of '84 and heard the low-rumbling communication of two Asian elephants who were standing on opposite sides of a concrete wall* that she decided to begin recording them. 

Newman follows Payne and ELP’s development. They hope that by using the elephants conversations it will raise awareness that might save Africa’s forest elephants from extinction caused by poaching, logging, mining, and the increase of human populations. 

Divided into five chapters, the first three go into detail about the set up and process of recording the elephants. Chapters 4 & 5, explain how their hopes of listening will help with conservation. Additional information is offered in sidebars, and the colorful well-captioned color photos further enhance the narrative. The photos of the elephants are particularly moving.

Back matter includes source notes, glossary, a selected bibliography of books and websites for further study. An interesting addition is the inclusion highlighting middle school student student, Taegen Yardley, who as made her own films about elephant conservation. 

To learn more about Elephant Listening Project, click here
*Elephant Listening Project. About ELP. 


  1. Wow. This is such a great topic and looks well executed. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I LOVE elephants & this sounds like such a wonderful title! Thanks for the rec, Louise!