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BooksParenting & Monkeys!

She Leads: The Elephant Matriarch

She Leads is a children’s story book to inspire young girls everywhere. You’ll follow the inspiring journey of the Queen Elephant Matriarch and learn about African elephants throughout the journey.

Written by June Smalls and illustrated by Yumi Shimokawara, this book was intended to inspire girls everywhere to persevere and become leaders of their own generation. The author dedicates She Leads to her daughter, her daughter’s daughters, and all of the daughters to come after them down the line. I found that to be such an inspiring dedication.

She Leads: The Elephant Matriarch Being completely honest, She Leads inspired me as well. I wish that my Acadia was living, for as many reasons as there are stars in the sky, this book is another one. I wish that I could spend hours reading this one with her.

I am a member of the Cherokee Nation and, in our tribe, we are Matriarchal. Everything is handed down through the women: our clans, traditions, beliefs are all passed through our mothers. So I have a special connection to matriarchies.

Of course, no matter what ethnicity one belongs to, mothers are, quite often, the strength in our families. Women are priceless, though somewhere along the way we often forget that. Whether it be forgetting our own value or forgetting the value of other women.

She Leads has a simplistic story form, perfect for any young child and, at the bottom of the spreads, has facts about elephants. I love that in the back of the book the sources are listed! It can inspire children to look for the sources and to learn more about the topics. Being that it’s in a children’s book, if properly utilized, it can inspire the curiosity to confirm sources (that we seem to have lost with social media) and delve further into things. In my opinion, this is something that we should teach our children: to confirm sources!

Overview (from Books a Million):

She Leads

She is the Queen. The matriarch.

She leads her daughters and their daughters.

Inspiring text and striking illustrations follow the empowering journey of an elephant matriarch as she leads her family through the wilds of Africa. With facts about African elephants on every spread and a message that will encourage young girls to be the trailblazers of their generation, She Leads offers an incredible story and an unforgettable tribute to the strength of a true leader.

Open your eyes, princess. One day you will lead.

About the Author: June Smalls

June Smalls is a Virginia based author who lives with her husband, child and a growing number of animals. She was published for the very first time in first grade! June has swam with sharks, fed tigers, bears, giraffes, sting rays and sea turtles, met an elephant, rode a camel, came face to face with a wild skunk, and was bitten by an emu…twice. I love that she even has a place on her website for aspiring authors to gain from her wisdom! What a wonderful, sweet thing to add!

You can check out her website at: https://junesmalls.com/

For the Boys:

Don’t worry, there is a wonderful book for our boys as well. He Leads: Mountain Gorilla the Gentle Giant is available to inspire young boys! I haven’t read that one yet, but I’m certain that it will be just as inspiring as She Leads is! Of course, I’ll be checking that out eventually for the boys, I hope that you are already subscribing so that you will automatically get the My Crafty Zoo Newsletter in your inbox! (yes, that WAS a shameless plug and no, I don’t feel bad at all. lol)



Hi all! My name is Kaycee. I am now learning to navigate life as a single woman. Turns out, it's not all about husband and children. Who knew? So, I'm on a journey of self discovery. I have 5 children, 3 of which are married, 5 2 are in Heaven (my beautiful baby Acadia Reign and my Diva Princess Tara Elizabeth), and 7 grandchildren! Plus, a ton of fabulous nieces and nephews! My educational background is in Psychology and Child Development but my heart is in ministry, crafts, fun, reviews and my website, My Crafty Zoo. Or at least it was, now I'm learning who I really am, beneath all of the busy family life. It's an adventure to be sure. I look forward to continuing to share my life through word and pictures with you and love hearing your feedback! Thank you for taking the time to read and allowing me to share! I look forward to reading your comments!

19 thoughts on “She Leads: The Elephant Matriarch

  • Sally Gearhart

    Such an awesome book, I love that it’s a book to empower girls! my daughter loves Elephants so this would be perfect for her in so many ways.

  • My sister by choice has always been an elephant lover and endorses their sustainability.

  • This book sounds amazing! I would love to give this my friend.

  • Dillon Herman

    Looks like a great book!

  • Wendy Hess

    I would love to win this for my Granddaughter 💕

    • Good luck! If you don’t win, definitely buy it! I’m going to order copies for all my little nieces!

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  • It looks like a good book. I am a mother of eight.

    • Wow! Hats off to you SisterFriend! That’s awesome! I always wanted a huge family, what a blessing you have!

  • Elephants are lovely. Great artwork. The women in my family are strong & stubborn.

    • They are definitely majestic creatures! I love them, the more I learn about them the more I love them! As for your strong, stubborn women of the family, we may be related! LOL

  • Interesting that you have a familial and cultural connection to this book. It sounds so lovely and one that my daughter would love to read. I think of Acadia all.the.time but I know that you know that.

    Besos, Sarah

    • The relation was unexpected and easy to relate to. Definitely recommend for your Princess! There is one for boys as well, He Leads, I linked it above. Thank you for thinking of Acadia all the time. I think of you and the triplets often! Love you girl, so much!

    • Life is definitely complicated. Society has done a lot for women empowerment, but I think at the same time they’ve brought unnecessary and unwarrented shame to us as well. I am grateful to be getting back to my roots, my culture, where women are celebrated, by tradition at the least.

  • It’s so nice to see books that empower and inspire girls. It’s a book that my granddaughter would really enjoy. A woman’s strength and contributions tend to be overlooked sometimes and I have been so fortunate to be influenced and inspired by resilient women in my own family.

    • That is awesome! I’m so grateful that you have strong, resilient women in your family to influence and inspire you! It definitely makes a huge difference for women. We need that, as much as boys need good male influences, if not more.


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