Beginning readers—and beginning riders—will be drawn to this bright, buoyant story of a determined elephant and her loyal sidekick, from the award-winning creator of Juana & Lucas. The first in an early reader series.

by Juana Medina
Candlewick, 2023 – 2025
(via Gillian MacKenzie Agency)

ELENA RIDES (March 2023)

Elena wants to ride her bike. She steadies, she readies. She wobbles, she bobbles . . . KA-BANG! Learning to ride a bike is hard. But Elena can do it. She just has to try, try again. With this reassuring story of childlike persistence, Juana Medina, creator of the acclaimed Juana & Lucas series, introduces Elena, a plucky elephant, and the little red bird who is Elena’s faithful cheerleader. Simple, energetic text and bold, brilliant artwork convey a relatable tale of the ups and downs of learning something new (not without protest or tears) and the final thrill of mastery that will have children rooting for Elena and ready for her next adventure.

ELENA CAMPS (Spring 2025)

The second in a series starring a plucky young elephant accompanied by her sidekick humorously learning a new skill and navigating emotions.

She’s eager, she’s resilient, she has a two-wheeler and a red feathered friend—but Elena, the enthusiastic purple elephant star of this early reader, still has a ways to go to polish her cycling skills. . . . Medina captures substantial emotional highs and lows in this inspiring tale of persistence, one that’s just right for those taking on another learning curve: reading.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Spare but engaging prose that includes just a few words or simple sentences per page effectively captures the experience of learning to ride. . . Elena’s persistence offers an important message to anyone attempting to master a new skill, including those just learning to read. . . . This cheerful story with colorful illustrations will appeal to new readers and to parents looking for a read-aloud about perseverance.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

Storytime listeners will be enthralled. . . . Sensational for reading aloud, with dramatic onomatopoeic opportunities aplenty.” —Kirkus Reviews

Juana Medina is the Pura Belpré Author Award–winning creator of the Juana & Lucas series and other books for children and the recipient of two International Latino Book Awards. She has also illustrated several books by other writers, including ’Twas the Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick. Juana Medina was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, and currently lives in Northern Virginia with her family.

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