Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The One and Only Ivan

ivan.pngThe One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2012) by Katherine Applegate is a heartbreaker and touching story. Animal lovers will especially like this book that won the 2013 Newbery award–though be prepared to be upset at what happens…
Ivan is a gorilla. In captivity. He doesn’t remember much of his life before. He lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, where he’s the main attraction. He watches TV, talks to his friends: an elderly elephant named Stella and a stray dog named Bob, and paints pictures. Like Julia, the mall cleaner’s daughter, he’s an artist. But people are coming less and less to see Ivan. Finally his owner, Mack, buys a baby elephant to be the new attraction. The dying Stella makes Ivan promise to find a better life for Ruby, the baby elephant. What can Ivan do to keep that promise?
Find out about the real Ivan who inspired the story here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Home of the Brave


I love it when I read an award winning book and agree that the award was given for a very good reason.

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate is one of those books. She won a 2008 SCBWI Golden Kite for this book published in 2007 with Feiwel and Friends.

Written in verse, this middle grade novel captured me from the first lines as Kek, a refugee from Africa, arrives in a “flying boat” in Minnesota and sees all the white, and wonders where the world has gone. Ms. Applegate really made me see and feel not only how hard it is for Kek to adjust, but makes me see and feel his home in Africa. All I can say is WOW!

Katherine Applegate is also the author of the Animorph books, plus she ghost wrote 17 of the Sweet Valley Twins. Read more about this author of many types of books at her website: