There are few things as scary as moving to a new city. The sadness of leaving friends behind and the anxiety of having to make new ones are just some of the emotions created by a change like this.

El Paso author Gilbert-Ian Rueda tackles this situation in “Santosh the Little Elephant: A Tale of Friendship and Courage.”

Santosh is a 7-year-old first-grader living in the 1920s. One of the many characteristics that make Santosh special is the fact that both of his parents are humans. In fact, Santosh, an elephant, is the only animal with human characteristics.

His favorite foods include crushed peanuts and banana sandwiches, and he loves to read. He is obsessed with airplanes and has a great imagination. With a flare for the drama, he once tried to get his way by pretending to faint.

“He is like every child,” Rueda said. “He throws tantrums. He’s a little dramatic when necessary, but in the end, he is a great kid with a big heart. He loves his dog and he loves his parents.”

Cooper is Santosh’s dog and best friend, and they’re nearly inseparable. Their relationship, however, is threatened by the fact that when they move away, Santosh and his parents must leave Cooper behind.

While such challenges lie ahead, Santosh ultimately lives up to his name. In Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, Santosh means joy or satisfaction.

Rueda used his experiences as a kid and as an adult to create Santosh and the world he lives in. There are multiple books planned for the Santosh series. Rueda will continue to develop his characters, introduce new ones and answer questions, including how Santosh ended up with two human parents.

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