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Children's Fiction Hippos & Rhinos

A Family for Faru

by (author) Anitha Rao-Robinson

illustrated by Karen Patkau

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
Hippos & Rhinos, Environment, Adoption
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: k to 2



In this touching story of belonging and environmental awareness, a young boy’s courage and ingenuity help an orphaned rhinoceros find safety in a new herd.

Tetenya and his mother have found Faru, a baby rhinoceros, alone on the savannah. They know that rhino sanctuaries will adopt orphaned infants, but finding the rangers who protect local herds may be a long and risky prospect—there are poachers lurking about the landscape. Undaunted, Tetenya sets out, leading Faru past giraffes CHOMP-CHOMPING on acacia leaves, amongst vervet monkeys SLURP-SLURPING sweet fruits, and around guinea fowl SCRITCH-SCRITCHING the earth for seeds. Suddenly, danger is upon them: two poachers are coming near. There are only seconds to spare, and Tetenya has nothing but his wits and a handful of berries to help him.

In A Family for Faru, author Anitha Rao-Robinson draws inspiration from her life-changing time spent on the savannah and from conservationists’ innovation to discourage poachers: injecting a pink dye into rhinoceros horns. Award-winning illustrator Karen Patkau’s dreamy landscapes reflect her own travels in the region and celebrate the courage and ingenuity of a young boy as he helps his four-legged friend find a place to belong.


About the authors

Anitha Rao-Robinson received her Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University and worked as an accountant for twenty-four years before trading numbers for words. Her previous works include Broken Worlds in 2014 and Broken Promises in 2017. Anitha is passionate about environmental awareness and hopes to continue to spread change.


Anitha Rao-Robinson's profile page

KAREN PATKAU has been writing and illustrating picture books, with a focus on nature and non-fiction, for more than thirty years. She won the Ezra Jack Keats Memorial Medal for her first book, Don’t Eat Spiders by Robert Heidbreder, and since then her titles have appeared on lists including Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books, Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award finalists, Green Book Festival Award finalists, Ontario Library Association Best Bets and White Ravens selections. Karen has also illustrated Forest: A See to Learn Book. She lives in Toronto.


Karen Patkau's profile page


  • Short-listed, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens

Editorial Reviews

Praise for A Family for Faru

2021 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Selection

2020 CBC Books “52 Canadian picture books coming out in fall 2020” selection

“Having wide appeal, this story can introduce a range of topics, from adoption to African animals to endangered species. Young listeners will enjoy the introductory trek through the savanna and cheer when Faru finds a family.”—School Library Journal

“The backmatter offers insightful details on the poaching of rhinos, their endangered status, conservation efforts to save them, and Rao-Robinson’s story of her encounter with rhinos in South Africa that inspired the book. A gentle story that helps children understand why wildlife conservation matters and why they should care.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The warm relationship between Tetenya and Faru, and the young boys’ bravery, that children will most likely remember.”—Horn Book Magazine

“An excellent feature of A Family for Faru is that it ends with age-appropriate factual information about rhinos that is worded in comprehendible, child-friendly language....Beautifully written and illustrated, A Family for Faru is a most worthwhile addition to library collections. Recommended.”—CM Magazine

A Family for Faru is a touching picture book that combines a good story with, at the back of the book, a section pertaining to the plight of the endangered rhinoceros….Excellent illustrations complement the story.”—Postmedia

“Anitha Rao-Robinson’s story is one of friendship and compassion but also conservation as her final note about ‘Rhinos’ elucidates....Anitha Rao-Robinson’s text evokes the camaraderie of rhino and boy in their companionable activities, whether it be collecting waterberries or hiking or resting and it’s Karen Patkau’s extraordinary digitally-rendered art that takes us to the savannah.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Infused in the story are the wonderful sound effects of the African savannah. This story will prompt children and elementary classes to engage in discussions of conservation, environmental awareness, and hope for change.”—Green Teacher

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