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April 12, 2021

Garlic for elephants: Ken Christopher pens book for elementary students

Ken Christopher sat in the library at Las Animas Elementary School, where he was being asked the tough questions.

Why did the bear get the honey, and not the bees? Shouldn’t the elephant have a peanut instead of garlic?

The executive vice president of Christopher Ranch visited Las Animas on April 2, part of a tour of Gilroy elementary schools where he is reading the first book he has written, “Elephant Garlic.”

So far, the ranch has donated 1,000 copies of the books to students.

The book takes place in the “magical Kingdom of Gilroy,” where King Lion is hosting a feast, but Mr. Elephant doesn’t know what he should bring. After learning that all the other animals have their favorite food, the elephant discovers his own: garlic.

Christopher said the book aims to teach students the importance of believing in themselves at times when life may be difficult. It’s especially pertinent now, he noted, when children are stuck at home during the pandemic.

“I know all of you had a hard year, and all of you are learning at home,” he told the first grade students of teacher Teri Hinmon’s virtual class. “I know you are going through something that never happened before.”

Christopher said he was inspired to write the book about five months ago, when he saw a photo of himself and his father Bill standing with an elephant at the Monterey Zoo. With elephant garlic being one of the ranch’s crops, he knew he had the perfect plot for the book.

“Elephant Garlic” is illustrated by Danny Voight and designed by Articulate Solutions.

“We’re continually trying to find new ways to engage the community,” Christopher said. “I feel really proud and really excited to share this with the kids of Gilroy.”

For now, the book is only available for Gilroy classrooms. A sequel is planned for release in the fall.

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