HarperCollins Children’s Books has signed Noa and the Little Elephant: A Tale of Friendship and Survival, a “poignant” picture book from author and illustrator Michael Foreman, in partnership with the wildlife conservation charity, Tusk.
World rights were acquired by publishing director Alice Blacker direct from Foreman. It will be published on 4th March 2021.
Containing a message to children about conservation, the foreword to the book is written by Julius Obwona, winner of the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award 2018, under whose leadership thousands of elephants have been saved from poachers in Uganda.
Set in East Africa, Noa and the Little Elephant tells the story of an unusual friendship that blossoms between a young boy and a baby elephant. When the elephant’s mother is killed by poachers, it is up to Noa to offer the baby elephant refuge and, with his family, they welcome the orphaned elephant to his village. One stormy night, when the village is close to flooding, it is the elephant’s turn to help his new friend.
Bear Grylls, patron of Tusk, said: “A heart-warming and poignant picture book focusing on the ever-important issues we face in the world of animal conversation and doing all we can to protect against poachers. I’m a proud patron of Tusk and the dedicated work they do in this field. It’s great to see these messages reinforced through this beautiful children’s book.”
Blacker added: “Michael Foreman has always created powerful picture books that tackle important subjects – and Noa and the Little Elephant is no exception. Michael’s exquisite artwork brings this story to life in a way that captures the peril that the elephant population is facing. We couldn’t be happier to partner with Tusk to bring this beautiful book and its important message to a generation of picture-book readers.”
Foreman, who has won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice, said: “It is estimated that 20,000 elephants are killed every year, an average of one every twenty-six minutes. If this continues, they will be extinct by 2040, which means that by the time today’s children are adults there will be no elephants left in the wild. I wanted a child to be at the heart of this story of hope and portray the feeling that we are all one family, human and animal, sharing and caring for our world.”