Santosh the Little Elephant

A Tale of Friendship and Courage

Children - Grade K-3rd
50 Pages
Reviewed on 07/11/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Gilbert-Ian was born in Houston, Texas, but was raised in El Paso, and is fluent in English and Spanish. He has a sister named, Joyce Lynn, and five nephews.

Loving to learn and wanting to write, Gilbert-Ian went to school and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a concentration in Language Arts. He now works at a prestigious dual language private school, teaching English to first and second graders.

Gilbert-Ian also has a deep appreciation and fascination for anything historical: buildings, photographs, music, and events. He has a vast collection of authentic antique photographs from the 1800's. He loves history. He also enjoys painting, using acrylic paints.

The author is also civic-minded. Gilbert-Ian has volunteered at the Candlelighters of El Paso (a cancer non-profit organization) and the Center Against Family Violence, which he’s be doing since he was 17 years old. And, he shares this passion for helping others with his students by organizing various functions for their community.

Gilbert-Ian is a firm believer that imagination is a catalyst for adventure which inspires his greatest goal in life: visiting a new place or country every summer.

He’s visited the ancient Mayan pyramids in Mexico; sky dove in Las Vegas, Nevada; and explored, snorkeled, and parasailed in Key West, Florida. For his next adventure he plans on visiting Costa Rica.

Gilbert-Ian Rueda has a deep passion for learning and teaching, but it’s his imagination that sparks and fuels his writing. He loves creating something out of nothing, motivating him to create Santosh, the Little Elephant.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite

Santosh the Little Elephant is a children’s book written by Gilbert-Ian Rueda and illustrated by Gülistan Yildiz. Santosh is much smaller than other elephants his age. Avoiding all talk of the upcoming move, Santosh pretends to be asleep and overhears his parents discussing how they are worried about Santosh’s reaction to the move. The next morning, Santosh rushes to the bus after breakfast, not wanting to talk to his parents about what is upsetting him. When school ends, Santosh tells his teacher, Ms. Ross, that his family is moving away in one week. He then starts to cry, telling her that he is afraid he will not like things after he moves and is upset that he is leaving all of his friends behind. Ms. Ross encourages Santosh, telling him that he is brave and he should look at the move as the next exciting adventure.

At home, Santosh quickly discovers that his parents are just as anxious about moving as he is, but they tell him that they trust everything will be okay because they are doing it together. Santosh is heartbroken, however, when he discovers they cannot take their dog, Cooper, with them because their new home does not allow pets. He decides to run away from home and take Cooper with him, and their reaction is definitely not one that he had expected. Santosh’s imagination takes hold when he leaves the house; he pictures magical forests and giant castles where he and Cooper will become esteemed royalty. Little does Santosh know that his parents have a surprise for him that will make his biggest dreams come true.

Santosh the Little Elephant is very well written, dealing with the emotional hardships of having to move and leave all of your friends behind. Gilbert-Ian Rueda’s depiction of a child who is barely able to cope with the move, before finding out that he will have to leave behind his beloved pet, is so accurate. My heart broke for Santosh, but having people around him who love him and truly care about how he is feeling makes such a difference. This book would be helpful in letting a child see the emotional hardship that their parents also face when moving to a new city or new country for work. Avoidance of any discussion about it doesn’t make it go away; talking the important things through is the only way to make vital decisions, such as how to accommodate a pet and make adjustments so that all family members the decisions affect are happy. I enjoyed both the emotional and educational aspects of Santosh’s story and recommend it to all young readers who are faced with having to leave their friends behind in a move, as it encourages them to talk about what is troubling them and will help them deal with their feelings head-on. This book would be ideally stocked in medical practices, day-care centres, kindergartens, and in school and home libraries.


This book have a great message!! My love the book! Love santosh and cooper. Amaizing book.

Amazon Customer

My kids loved the book..the book itself is awesome. I loved the cover and the material used for the cover.. the story is really nice. This book is a must read!!!

Amazon Customer

Such a Heart Felt and endearing story. A simple way for children to understand that they to can rise above any difficult situation or circumstance, with courage, strength and self assurance.

Laura Salgado

Beautiful book! My niece is a newborn but I can't wait for her to start reading and discover the joy of this book.

Stephanie D Quispe

I bought this book for my grandchildren. I love this book about friendship. This is a must have, teachers should have this in their classroom library.


Bought this book for my 2 year old at an event in El Paso. After reading it for myself i am sure my son will just love the book and the perfect illustrations.


I absolutely loved this book (and so did my 7 year old) it took us though the whole adventure laughing, and even shedding a couple of tears of joy at the end!! Adorable characters and story, I absolutely recommend!

Amazon Customer

This book is amazing! Such a heart felt book with some raw emotions for a child to relate to! My daughter laughed, got sad, cried and rejoiced when reading this. It is now added to our nightly reading! Thank you so much!


Change can be difficult to overcome but if we face change with courage, love, and understanding......the outcome might surprise us. A great read for all ages. Both children and adults can relate to the mixture of emotions throughout the story.

Elias Siller

I'm so excited to have ordered Santosh the Little Elephant for my baby grandson. It's the perfect birthday gift that he will sure love!
God bless you Gilbert Ian Rueda and all your talents. You're a great author and we hope you can write more books!


The quality of the book is very good! The cover is so soft, and the book is bigger and longer than I expected. I bought it for my 7 month old baby girl who loves books. She loved the illustrations! The story has precious characters! Santosh and his dog are so cute! The book portrays how Santosh faces a big challenge in his life. It's really cute because it portrays what goes through a child's mind when facing challenges; their little minds are full of imagination. I bought a copy for my nephew who is 12 yo and had to face the same challenge as Santosh. I think my nephew will relate and will really cherish this book.

Amazon Customer

A great read for kids ages 4-99! This book is great especially for kids who are having to deal with a difficult change in their life, whether it be having to move to a new school, or even across the ocean! Author Gilber-Ian Rueda takes us through Santosh the little elephant's journey of how to deal with the possibility of losing a great friend and more importantly, dealing with his emotions. Kids of all ages can benefit from finding their own courage through Santosh, as he takes us along his journey. My 7 year old daughter absolutely loved this book although we took turns reading this book as it does have some challenging words. Nonetheless, I purchased this book for my 3 year old nephew and I can't wait to read it to him as well!!

Ina B. Calvano

What a great story for kids of all ages, young and old!! It brought back memories of when, as a young child, I had to travel to the U.S. I actually had the some of the same feelings expressed in Santosh's story. It is good read and I highly recommend it!

Amazon Customer

My kids loved this book! They want Santosh to come over! They want to keep reading the book over and over. It was so refreshing to have the kids read a book about real world family circumstances that life brings and how kids can handle them through friendship and courage. Buy the book, your kids will love you for it.


Love this book! The book has a beautiful message about all the things that children can grow up to be and how parents will love them no matter what. The illustrations are SO gorgeous!! It is such an adorable book I will be reading it to my peanut for years to come and also gifting it to my friends who have children.

Jennifer Ven

This is a nice, sweet, eye-catching book for a parent to read to their child. I'd say good up to 8-9 years old. My daughter is 8 and it's a lovely book when your kid wants "one more" book at the end of the night!

Leisure Reader Lauren

This is a very imaginative and well written book. It definitely has a humorous side to it. My son won't put it down. I expect there will be dozens more of these books as the possibilities are endless.


Firstly, I love the illustrations in this book. Next, this book helps young children understand in developmentally appropriate terms why adapting to change is important. The story allows children to develop empathy and see both the protagonist and his parent's point of view. Overall, a good way to introduce the kids to so many lessons. A must read!

Rosa Beltran

My grandson and granddaughter love this book. Mom said it made her laugh out loud. Just bought a few more for my other grandbabies. Thumbs Up.


I don’t usually do these type of reviews but my kids really like this story. The illustrations are great and so is the moral lesson. You get a lot of book for a decent price. Found it on goodreads. I feel like it will be a classic.

Alexis Georges

This book brought me to tears the first time I read it to my 5 year old twin son and daughter. They both love it too. Would be an amazing gift for any parent with young kids!!! Such a nice message, detailed pictures & overall the best book I've come across in a long time.

Maddison Simon

Another great book for kids in the 4-9 age group. Can’t recommend it enough. Got is as a present for a niece. Her brother won’t give it back. I just bought another one for him.