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The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan

A wonderful book that explores the importance of friendship, acceptance and the bravery we must all face when dealing with life’s challenges.
Anna and Ailey setting up Padlet.

Anna and Ailey read The Elephant In the Room together in a book club. They set up a Padlet to share their thoughts about the book. I was immediately struck by the headings they created. Along with the typical “setting”, “character” & “theme” categories, they also took notes on “connections” & “character patterns”. As we wind down the year, it is great to see students thinking more deeply about the books they are reading.

Student Thoughts

Ailey and Anna thought quite a bit about the setting of the story, and in particular the wall surrounding Gio’s land. They felt that the wall was a symbol of what the characters in the book were going through.


Gio’s land behind the wall represents freedom for lots of the characters. Gio feels free, Mateo is more apt to act free, Sila feels less stressed about her mother, and Veda feels calmer.

I think teachers should read The Elephant in The Room because it is a heartwarming story about friendship, kindness, determination and hope. It is a fairly easy read and has characters that students can relate to. It teaches us a lot about friendship and how sometimes you can find it in the most unlikely places. I like how Sila and Mateo become friends even though they were very different. I think it is important for kids to realize that its okay to be unique and we should all be more willing to except each other. I highly recommend this book for people of all ages! In fact, I even bought this book for my Nana to read!


Although the land is a sign of freedom at the beginning of the story the wall surrounding Gio’s property was a barrier to Gio’s feelings. As the text continues, the wall is forgotten and all characters are able to let their feelings fly throughout the property they are no longer captured inside.

I believe that teachers should have The Elephant in the Room in their classrooms because it teaches readers about empathy and acceptance. It also sends the message that we should never give up on loved ones. I loved this book and I think your students will too!

Ailey and Anna created this elephant and “wall of possible themes” which they felt was symbolic of the barriers that the main characters used to protect their feelings.

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